Here it comes... Hallmark's nod to love. Valentine's Day is hard enough when you're coupled — talk about pressure! — but when you're going through a divorce or somewhere on the other side of a divorce, it's a sneak peek into hell.
How to survive it? Here are some dos and don'ts:
- Do make sure you're prepared. When asked what your plans are, have a bulletproof response or practice looking evasive in front of the mirror for a few days ahead of time. Have an answer ready for the well meaning people who want to know how you're handling your first Valentine's Day alone.
- Don't get too dressed up if you're not looking to field questions. You think that looking like a knockout on V Day is going to make you feel like a million bucks. It's actually going to make you smack the fourth person who asks you what your big plans are for the night.
- Do read a book. May I suggest one in which the main characters fall in love and promptly drop dead? Shakespeare made a fortune off of this, and his biggest fans were most likely divorced women.
- Don't turn on the television. Trust me, you don't want to see what's on. It's not only lovey-dovey movies, it's the extra sickening Sleepless in Seattle kind. While you're at it, avoid media of any kind. The radio and the internet won't be any better.
- Do buy yourself chocolate. Frankly, you should be doing this anyway. Make sure you go out of your way to lavishly offer some to either your coworkers or the other residents of your apartment building. When asked where it came from, you have two choices. One, look coy and refuse to answer. Two, launch into a feminist diatribe about how you don't need a man to buy you chocolates. You should probably swear a lot in the process.
- Don't buy flowers. They're too expensive this time of year, and it will be a far more effective tactic next week when you're coworkers aren't getting any of their own.
- Do go places couples don't go. That intimate little Italian place around the corner is not your best choice here. I recommend the hardware store or a very crowded nightclub that is not conducive to coziness of any kind.
- Don't hook up with anyone. Two bitter strangers having nameless, faceless sex will not help anyone respect themselves in the morning.
- Do consider ignoring it. It's just one day. Take the day off work, gorge yourself with inappropriate foods, hide under your covers, and don't leave your house until Monday. Every year it comes, and every year it goes away again in 24 hours. Most women are in labor for longer than that.
- Don't forget why you're not married anymore. Either you walked out on him because he was a jerk or he walked out on you because he was a jerk. Either way, you're better off without him. Drink some wine, get together with a few girlfriends and celebrate!