When it comes to the holiday-industrial complex that is Valentine’s Day, many people just want to opt out — especially if you’re, well, single.
107 million Americans over the age of 18 are single, according to the US Census Bureau — that’s about 44% of all Americans over 18. Meanwhile, almost $19 billion will be spent this year on Valentine’s gifts and experiences, according to U.S. News. A lot of that spending comes from dating couples, of course, as spending on the holiday drops off precipitously over the age of 44.
But maybe it’s time to think about Valentine’s Day as something more than just an explosion of pink roses, lacy lingerie, and fleeting romance.
Instead, let’s celebrate singlehood. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship of all, so for all the singles out there: this Valentine’s Day, you’ve earned the privilege to treat yourself to the good life.
Need ideas? We’ve got you covered. Some things are best done alone, anyway.
Sometimes, the best getaways are the simplest ones.
Apps like HotelTonight will help you get unbeatable deals on last-minute lodgings -- perfect for a solo adventure into a dreamland of crisp white sheets and blissful silence. High above the noise and bustle of the city, sink into a hot, private bath and thank your lucky stars you get to be single as you flip through TV channels, landing on whatever your heart desires.
Oh, and don't forget to order room service.
When it comes to the little things -- cuff-links and money clips for the guys, necklaces and cosmetics bags for the girls -- an engraved or embroidered monogram can take an accessory from basic to classic. Personal brand, after all, is everything.
For women, take a page out of the Carrie Bradshaw playbook and order a personalised necklace. BaubleBar offers a wide selection of different styles, from ornate scripts to contemporary bars, for a reasonable price.
For men, an engraved money clip from Tiffany & Co. is a subtle and useful piece of hardware.
Who says you can't drink alone? Perfect your bartending skills by picking up your favourite poison and all of the fixings you need to make a consistently great cocktail, including whatever additional liqueurs, tools, or garnishes that a professional mixologist would use in your recipe of choice. To complete the full bar experience, be sure to have the right drinking vessels on hand. That means snagging some copper mugs if you're a Moscow Mule fan, or for the champagne lover, popping by a vintage furniture store for unusual cut-crystal flutes.
Then sit back, take a sip, and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Dining out solo can be pretty intimidating -- especially on a couples-focused night like Valentine's.
Skip the stress and order in instead, but don't settle for your same old sushi Seamless. Use a delivery service like Caviar to get your favourite dinner from a fancy restaurant, and then savour every bite in the sweet sanctity of your own home.
Don't forget to put on some relaxing music and light a candle or five to fully set the scene.
And while you're lounging around at home, you'll want to dress the part. That is, you'll want the perfect cosy robe, luxe pajama set, and furry slippers to make you feel like the true master of the stay-at-home life, content in your way-too-comfortable ensemble.
The thicker the robe, the better the experience. Restoration Hardware makes plush ones that you can monogram for that added touch of decadence.
Music is food for the soul. But are you getting the full flavour -- and therapy -- out of your tunes? It's high time you ditched the tinny squeal of your laptop speakers, and you already know the sound quality out of your Apple-issued earbuds is dismal.
Step up your home experience with a portable, wireless speaker set like the Jambox, perfect for playing your favourite moody jazz while dining solo on the couch. And for lonely subway rides, a set of hip headphones like these minimalist uJAYS will make you feel like Adele and/or Beyoncé is serenading you, and you alone.
Some say magazines are a dying art. All the more reason to treasure the glossy, big-format pages in print. Subscribe to your favourite magazine (GQ, Vogue, The New Yorker, Monocle, and AFAR are all especially worth the price, with print-only features and art-heavy layouts that you won't see in digital-only versions.)
Cosy up on the couch with your mag of choice, and revel in a screen-free hour or two.
Whether it's a facial or a deep-tissue massage, Valentine's Day is a great time to check in to a spa and give yourself over to the professionals to ease all your aches, pains, and problems. (The superficial ones, anyway.)
If you're not the type to allow strangers to work the kinks out of your face or body, then consider an at-home treatment: anyone can pick up some at-home massage tools from Brookstone and pop by a Sephora (or even a drugstore) for a face mask. Then, all that's left to do is slip on your robe, put on your most tranquil playlist, and relax.
Socks: that most overlooked -- and yet most necessary -- of garments. In the words of the inimitable Professor Albus Dumbledore, 'One can never have enough socks.'
As organizational guru Marie Kondo has said, everything we own should 'spark joy' in us, but we're guessing you have plenty of hole-filled, ambiguously grey unpaired socks just waiting to be tossed.
Step up your sock game and stock up on a few fun pairs that are sure to add a spring to your step, even if it's a secret between you and your shoes. We like HotSox and K. Bell for their quirky, affordable designs.
Whether your favourite way to sweat is at trendy SoulCycle, an old-school boxing gym, or with a personal training session, working out can get expensive. But there's nothing better than some workout-induced endorphins to kick off a new season of singledom.
Treat yourself to a commitment to your favourite kind of fitness activity, whether it's a series of zumba classes, a month-long membership to a driving range, or a custom fitting of a new set of running shoes.
Always wanted to know Italian, for no other reason than because you like the way it sounds?
That's certainly a good enough reason to download Duolingo or another language app and treat yourself to a bit of free education, just because. It's one thing that will keep you entertained -- and stretch your brain -- whenever you're feeling bored or alone. Better yet, once you're comfortable enough with the basics, you can look into local language meet-ups to accelerate your fluency ... and maybe even make a few new friends.
It can be hard to make time for reading for pleasure -- and it can feel like a splurge to shell out for a hardcover when there's an endless supply of reading material available on your phone, tablet, or computer.
But maybe it's time to give your eyes a rest from screens. Stop by a local bookstore, snag a top-recommended novel or biography, and get to know some new characters to keep you company before you fall asleep at night.
Scent is closely associated with memory. Make some good memories -- even while home alone -- by taking the time to pick up a deliciously scented candle. Diptyque and Cire Tredon make the best luxury options, or pop a couple of Voluspa ones around the house.
Scent diffusers are also a great way to make your house a home; try the Pottery Barn collection, which includes unusual, fresh scents like Coastal Redwood and Grey Moss, which come in both reed diffuser and candle form.
Always been intrigued by pottery? Curious about writing poetry? Interested in picking up that violin again, or learning to sketch still lifes?
Take this time to sign yourself up for a local class where you can learn a new skill or work on a talent you've let languish. Not only will you potentially develop a whole new passion for something outside of the workplace, but you'll also find a way to productively spend solo time while also having something to show for it.
Round up your fellow single friends and celebrate your freedom in style: you'll want copious bottles of champagne, plenty of pizza, and a playlist of all your most-loved party songs from the past few decades.
At the end of the day, Valentine's will be over and couples will be coming down from the stress of a major holiday, while you'll be left with bubble-fuelled memories of the wonderful people you call friends -- and all the treats that only the single life provides. Cheers to you, self.
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