50 Things To Do When You’re Single on Valentine’s Day

It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I think, at this point in my life, I actually find Valentine’s Day more fun when I’m single than when I’m dating someone.

See, when you’re in a relationship, the dreaded V-Day can feel like an obligation. But when you’re single, it’s an invitation. An invitation to step up your self-love and look for the potential fun in the day. Here are 50 suggestions for how to do that…

Take yourself out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. Make a reservation if you want; you’ll probably need one. Solo dinners out are a scary thing to do on any ol’ day, let alone one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, but this is exactly the kind of self-love challenge Valentine’s is perfect for. Bring a book to read or your journal to write in, order your favorite dish, and revel in your own company!

Alternatively, order your favorite takeout and eat it someplace cozy. Your best friend’s living room. A blanket fort constructed in your own bed. A secret hideout you happen to know about on your local university’s campus. All of these are excellent places to eat delicious food, alone or with a friend.

Re-read your favorite book from when you were a teenager. The twists and turns of a familiar plot are so comforting in their predictability. And you may get a visceral glimpse at that idealistic kid you used to be, and how you can be more like them now.

Go out with your single friends. A bar, a movie, a party, an impromptu scavenger hunt… It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you’re with people who make you laugh and feel like you belong.

Do a witchy love ceremony, whatever that happens to mean to you. For me, it’d probably involve meditating in a pink bubble bath while clutching pieces of rose quartz, slithering into a pink negligée, slicking on some red lipstick, and yawping some loving affirmations at my beautiful reflection in the mirror. What kind of romantic magic feels most needed and nourishing to you now?

Soak in warm water, whether that means your bathtub or a local heated pool or a friend’s hot tub. Pondersome soaks relax the body and allow the mind to wander. Bonus points if you pull an Oprah and accessorize your bath with scented candles, a glass of wine, a bath pillow, or whatever other little luxuries bliss you out.

Masturbate elaborately. Use as many toys as you want. Make as much noise as you reasonably and pleasurably can. Do all the things you can to yourself that you wish partners would do to you.

Choose a quality you miss about one of your exes and figure out how to embody that quality yourself. I often wish I was as funny as some of my exes; I could work on that by upping my comedy podcast intake and learning a few good jokes to tell! If you admired well-read exes, check a few new books out of the library. If you miss an ex’s kind, supportive heart, look for ways to support and help a friend today. You get the picture.

Write a love letter to a future partner. I love any mental exercise that helps me focus on what I want without making me feel bad about not having it yet, and this is one such exercise. Tell your future lover all the places you want to take them, the stories you can’t wait to tell them, the things they should know if they plan to love you. Let yourself get excited by the knowledge that there are so many hot, interesting people out there with tons of love to give, and some of them will give it to you.

Try something drastically different with your look. Sometimes a new makeup technique, clothing silhouette, hair color, or tattoo can be just the thing to remind you of what a babe you are.

Take a nap while cuddling something – a pet, a stuffed animal, a friend who consents to cuddles. Hell, I’ve even cuddled my Magic Wand before. A mid-day nap is such a lovely gift to give yourself.

Do an at-home spa routine. Yes, even if you are not normally the type of person who does stuff like this. You can give yourself a manicure (with clear nail polish, if you insist), slather on a face mask, soak and pumice your poor neglected feet, or just moisturize your entire body. Anything that makes you feel nourished and cute.

Journal about your feelings. Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to check in with yourself about your attitudes, beliefs, and hopes around relationships and sex. Sit somewhere cozy with your journal and pen (or a writing-centric web app, if you prefer), and ask yourself: how are you feeling about being single? What would you like your next relationship to be like? What do you need to work on or do differently to make that possible? What have you learned from your past relationships? How important is sex to you? What kind of sex do you wish you were having? Dig deep and follow the feelings that come up. Afterward, you’ll feel better and clearer.

Watch your favorite rom-coms. My recommendations: Hysteria (vibrators! science! a flustered Hugh Dancy!), Just My Luck (so stupid, and yet, Chris Pine is charming in it), High Fidelity (John Cusack’s snobbish mopeyness is counterbalanced by Jack Black’s silliness and it’s wonderful). Bonus points if you yell at the TV every time something sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. happens, or if you devise an (alcohol-optional) drinking game to go along with the movie.

Watch dramatic romantic tragedies. Okay, comedies are great, but sometimes you just need to have a cathartic cry. Try The NotebookTitanicThe Great Gatsby, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Settle in with a box of tissues and some comforting snacks and get ready to weep.

Invite some friends over and take turns dramatically reading dating-themed articles aloud. Cosmo and Glamour are excellent source material for this activity. Sometimes mocking the silliness of dating can make you feel better about your singlehood.

Do a Tinder experiment. Look, I’m not saying the people browsing Tinder on Valentine’s Day will be the cream of the crop, but that’s not the point. Change your profile or your approach, for science, and see what happens. Some examples: Change your first photo to a picture of you winking and see if it affects the messages you get. Instantly delete any messages that don’t specifically reference your profile, and only respond to the ones that do. Put a line in your bio that asks matches to tell you the funniest joke they’ve recently heard.

Write or read fanfiction about your favorite pairing. Yes, even if you’ve never delved into fanfic before. It’s fun! It’s also a way to get into a romantic headspace without stressing yourself out about your own romantic situation. If you’re not sure where to start, look up some of your favorite movies, books, or TV shows on Archive of Our Own and see what’s out there.

Finally get rid of your ex’s stuff. You know, those old T-shirts they left behind, stuffed animals they gave you, framed pictures of the two of you together, and so on. Only keep these things if they actually “spark joy“; otherwise, donate ’em or toss ’em. You’ll feel better without that psychic clutter clouding up your space and your brain.

Get extremely high. If intoxicants are your jam, that is. Choose something that’ll perk you up rather than drag you down (so, if weed is your substance of choice, probably a sativa strain). Then do whatever High-You wants to do: eat delicious snacks, lie in bed watching that show you love and have seen six times already, masturbate furiously, or just ponder the universe.

Visit a sex shop and pick something out, even if it’s just a small thing like a bottle of good lube, an erotic novel, or a pair of nipple clamps. Be pleasant to the salespeople; they are probably overwhelmed by desperate, haggard customers making last-minute purchases, and you being sweet and reasonable could brighten their busy day!

Listen to your favorite music. Really get into it. Maybe wail along to Elliott Smith by candlelight, or have a dance party with your dog to the dulcet tones of Walk the Moon. Listening to music is a visceral, often joyful experience, and is actually good for your brain, so this is a good thing to do any day of the year but especially on a day when you need a lift!

Try on clothes that make you feel babely as hell. You can go to the mall to do this, or shop your own closet, or peruse a friend’s wardrobe (with their permission, obviously!). It’s amazing how much good lingerie/shapely dresses/sharp-lookin’ blazers can tune up your self-image sometimes.

Engage in a platonic sexual activity, if you have a friend you’d like to do this with who would enthusiastically consent to such things. I have been known to spank and be spanked by my friends, cuddle and kiss ’em, and sometimes even masturbate side-by-side. It’s a way to find some intimacy and sensual pleasure even when the societally sanctioned avenues for those things (i.e. romantic relationships) are not immediately available to you.

Go to a local cultural event, like a gallery show, a theatrical production, or a stand-up comedy night. Bring a friend, if you like.

Hire a sex worker, if you can afford to. This could be a really lovely treat to give yourself today.

Contact someone who might be lonely today – your widowed aunt, your recently-dumped friend, or anyone else you know who’s going through a tough time. Chat with them and try to inject a little cheer into their day.

Dress up and take selfies. I am particularly partial to pink-and-red outfits on Valentine’s Day. They make me feel romantic and adorable. Bonus points for plentiful heart-shaped accessories!

Make yourself an elaborate, nutritious, comforting meal. It feels good to put effort into taking care of yourself and then feel that effort reflected back at you in the form of increased energy and overall well-being. Some of my favorite meals to cook for myself include risotto, steamed broccoli, and pasta salad.

Work toward one of your goals you’ve been putting off. Write some of that book proposal you’ve been meaning to get to, set up that Etsy store you’ve been hoping to start, research that city you’ve been wanting to move to… When you put time into what you want to achieve, you feel so good and accomplished, and that feeling is a great gift to give yourself on this day.

Re-read your old journals/blog entries/emails, etc. This can be a charming way to spend some time with your younger self. And when you reflect on how you used to be, it can make you feel grateful for how far you’ve come.

Tidy and reorganize your space – your whole house, or just the room you spend the most time in, depending on how much ambition and freedom you have! – so it contains fewer things that stress you out and more things that make you smile.

Go to the movies. If being alone in public at a certified “date activity” makes you anxious, a movie theatre is one of the better options you could choose, because you’ll be swathed in darkness so few people (if any) will even notice you’re by yourself. Ideally, pick a movie that appeals to your inner quirkiness so deeply that you probably couldn’t even drag a date along if you tried. Revel in the weirdness of your own tastes!

Write love letters to your friends, whether publicly on social media, or privately via email, or even in the form of a literal (snail-mail) letter. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of love, right? So celebrate the love in your life.

Tell someone you admire that you admire them. Email that indie musician who fills your earbuds with glee on the regs, leave a comment on a blog that lights you up, compliment that bookstore employee who knows everything about everything whenever you ask them for help. Spread some love and happiness around!

Clean your selfie mirror. (Idea via Durga Polashi.) Selfies are an expression of, and sometimes a boon for, our self-love and self-acceptance. You owe it to yourself to have a squeaky-clean mirror that helps you capture yourself in all your glory!

Imagine what your heroes would do if they were single on Valentine’s Day, and then carry a little of their flair and panache into your day as well. I suspect Jane Lane would order a pizza and watch bad TV with her bestie, Alex Franzen would hole up with a mug of tea and write sexy fiction all day, Rosa Diaz would drink whiskey at a biker bar and make out with a scruffy leather-clad stranger, and Sara Quin would obsessively write and re-write a quirky new song until it was both catchy and devastating. What would your heroes do?

Donate money to a cause you believe in, like you’re giving a Valentine’s Day gift but your “valentine” is good nonprofits doing good work. Some recommendations that are especially important in our current political climate: the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. (More options here and here.)

Declutter your digital systems, as a favor to yourself. Go through your hard drive, Google Drive, or Dropbox, and delete some shit you don’t need. Run a virus scan and/or a defrag. Organize files into folders. Ahhh. Doesn’t that feel better?

Give yourself a long, slow genital massage without the expectation of orgasm. Think of it as an experiment in pleasure and mindfulness. (Coconut oil and natural oil-based lubes are great for this!)

Teach yourself a new skill with the help of the internet. Few things make me feel more accomplished than learning to do something new! Think of some things you’ve always wished you knew how to do – leather boot care, page layouts in InDesign, spelling in sign language? – and get thee to Google, stat.

Get clear about your “hard yeses and hard nos” for future partners. It’s good to have a list like this to refer to when you’re in the throes of infatuation with someone new, to make sure your beau is actually aligned with what you want and need. My hard-yes list says, “Feminist, makes me laugh, thinks I’m funny, at least as smart as me, libido and kinks roughly equivalent to mine, vocally enthusiastic and optimistic, creative in some way(s), socially competent, loves and supports my blog/writing.” My hard-no list says, “Doesn’t believe in oppression/privilege/racism, etc., noticeably not as smart as me, humorless, low or no libido, negative/jugmental/pessimistic, anger issues, wants only monogamy now/ever, toxically masculine, staunchly religious.” What would yours look like?

Go on a mini creative retreat. This can be as simple as turning off your phone, closing your social media tabs, and choosing to focus on one beloved creative project for an entire afternoon – or it can be as elaborate as booking an Airbnb in another town for a few days to work on your passion in an unfamiliar environment. What a blissful gift to give yourself!

Spend an hour or two in a bookstore or library. Preferably one with ample seating, and which lets you bring in your hot beverage of choice to sip while you peruse and read. I can imagine few things cozier than an afternoon at Indigo or Glad Day, flipping through glorious tomes over coffee.

Cull your social media lists. Unfollow the people whose tweets add no value to your life, and unfriend the people who make you feel stressed out or indifferent. Life is too short and too precious to fill it (even just digitally) with people who add no brightness to your days, or actively sap your emotional reserves.

Put together a file of the best compliments you’ve ever received. I’ve done this for years, in various forms: I have a “flattery” folder in my Gmail account, a list of meticulously copied-down compliments in a notebook, and sometimes I document my best compliments in tweets or Tumblr posts. It’s a fantastic favor to do for yourself, because on days when your mood and self-worth are frighteningly low, you can refer to your compliment file and remind yourself (even just theoretically) of your value. If you need help building up your collection o’ compliments, ask your ten closest friends and family members what they think your three best qualities are (and then tell them theirs!).

Bedazzle or jazz up something you use regularly. Plaster your journal in sparkly stickers, put some cute pictures on your fridge, give your desk a new paint job, etc. You deserve beauty and comfort in your life!

Stay offline. Unhappiness often stems from comparing your insides to other people’s outsides (to paraphrase Anne Lamott), and social media facilitates this bad habit all the damn time. Valentine’s Day is a day when we’re particularly susceptible to envying other people’s situations, so maybe avoid the internet (or just social media) today, to the extent that you can. While I don’t begrudge anyone who finds comfort and joy in their online life (I certainly do!), sometimes taking an internet break can be affirming and recalibrating.

Use your body in ways you normally don’t. Yoga, stretching, sports, swimming, walking, running, hula-hooping, dancing, having an orgasm in a ridiculous athletic position… Challenge your body and see what it can do.

Give yourself permission to do nothing, if you want to. You are inherently valuable and loveable, regardless of what you do or don’t do on Valentine’s Day or any other day. Don’t forget that, babe.


How are you spending Valentine’s? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day

V-Day is almost upon us. But please, don’t get upset. This does not have to be a depressing holiday, or a saccharine Hallmark shill. I want you to do your best to re-frame this time of year in your mind.

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about love. And just because romantic love is the most glorified form of love doesn’t mean it’s the only one, or the most important one.

Whether or not you’re in a relationship today, here are some things you can do to re-affirm your dedication to self-love.

• Choose/buy/find a talisman to remind you of your commitment to self-love. It should be something personally meaningful to you, which can be as obvious and self-explanatory as a heart necklace or as obscure as an octopus brooch. If looking at it makes you smile and reminds you of the importance of loving yourself, you’re doin’ it right! (Some quick picks from me to you: stack these queer babe bracelets on your arms, stick these clitoris stickers all over everything, pin these feminist buttons to your backpack or put this rose quartz heart over your own heart. Too pretty!)

• Take yourself on a solo date. Bring your book, journal, laptop, knitting, etc. to your favorite café, bar or restaurant, and sit for a while. Enjoying your own company is an important life skill, and solo time can also be a great way to recharge in advance of a romantic date with someone else, if that’s on your docket for the day.

• Masturbate. Decadently. Loudly. In all your favorite ways, using all your favorite toys ‘n’ tools.

• Take the best bath (or shower) ever. Lush does fabulous bath bombs and shower jellies. Light a scented candle. Pour yourself some wine or tea or juice. Put on some soft jazz or salsa or whatever music makes you feel gorgeous. Exfoliate, wash, pamper, luxuriate, rejuvenate.

• Look up local cultural events and go see one (or a few). Gallery shows, arthouse movie screenings, live concerts, book readings, theatrical performances – anything that makes your heart sing and your brain buzz. (And hey, if you’re in Toronto, come on down to the Ten Thousand Villages shop at 362 Danforth around 2PM on V-Day… Someone who looks an awful lot like me might be performing some love songs. Wink wink.)

• Make a list of things you love about yourself and/or things other people have told you they love about you. Collecting your best compliments in one location, whether they’re from others or from yourself, is a great way to make yourself feel good – and you can refer back to it any time you need a self-love boost.

• Do something you’re really good at. This is such a fabulous way to remind yourself of your inherent value as a human being. Make music, write, paint, dance, whatever. Get into the “zone,” the flow, of doing something well. (And even if you do it badly, if you’re still having fun, you’re doing it right.)

• Check out local party shops, drugstores, etc. and buy some heart-shaped stuff. This is the time to do it (or maybe the day after Valentine’s Day when everything’s on sale). Having heart-shaped decor all over your house is a way to remind yourself on a daily basis that love is important, especially self-love. I have a red holographic paper heart taped up on my bedroom wall year-round and it makes me smile every time I see it.

• Be good to your body. This requires listening to your body and figuring out what it’s asking for, what it needs, which is always worth doing. Maybe you require chocolates today, or maybe your body’s crying out for leafy greens instead. Maybe you need to lie in bed and chill the fuck out, or maybe you’d feel better if you did an hour of intense yoga or went for a jog. Maybe you need more water, more dancing, less caffeine, less self-criticism, or a really good stretch. Listen, check in, and give your cute bod what it wants.

• Delete all critics and energy vampires from your digital life. Do a major clean-out of your Twitter stream, Facebook friends list, email subscriptions, browser bookmarks, etc. so that everything in your digital life actually serves you and uplifts you. Ahhh, the relief! What a beautiful favor to do for yourself!

What do you like to do for yourself on Valentine’s Day?

5 Ways to Bring More Romantic Energy Into Your Life

Is it February already? Seriously?

Okay, I promise I won’t complain too much. Single people whining about Valentine’s Day = so boring and played-out. I refuse to fall into that trope!

However, yeah, if you’re single – and even if you’re not – Valentine time can be hard. But I’m here to help! Here are some ways to bring more romantic energy into your life in a jiff, even if you feel “forever alone” or unloveable. (Trust me, babe, you’re not.)

1. Change your phone background to a picture of someone who makes your heart flutter. Yes, we’re starting with a super easy one.

I don’t recommend doing this with a picture of a person you see regularly (e.g. your psychology professor, your best friend who you’re secretly in love with, or your older brother’s cute bandmate), simply because there is a small chance of them seeing it and thinking you’re a weirdo.

But if there’s a celebrity, fictional character, etc. who makes you feel a little blushy, giggly and swoony, load up your phone with their face. You’ll get a hit of juicy joy every time you spot your lock screen.

2. Tell someone cute that they’re cute. This one is harder, but I promise it’s worth it!

I think our high-tech world has made us shyer, more insulated from one another. I’m not gonna rant at you about the desensitizing effect of technology because, honestly, I’ve made some of my best and deepest social connections via the internet – but I do think a tech-centered lifestyle has the potential of making you meeker than you’d otherwise be. Fight that comfy impulse!

“You’re cute” is a really great starter compliment for shy folks (like me) because, although it’s bold, it’s not overly committal. It’s not “I have a crush on you” or “I want to date you” or anything that will make you too vulnerable for comfort; it’s just “You’re cute.” Which can be construed as romantic, or not. Go tell those words to a cutie; you’ll feel brave and powerful, and they’ll feel adorable and desirable. Win-win!

3. Consume media that features people you’re attracted to. You probably already do this. I know I do.

Type your actor crush’s name into YouTube or Netflix’s search box and binge-watch as needed. Read another book by that clever genius who lights up your heart and mind. Flick through the Instagram or Tumblr of that internet pseudo-celebrity whose tweets you find so hilarious.

Continually and deliberately fill your life with reasons to feel smitten. ‘Cause that shit feels good.

4. Switch up your soundtrack.

Music + the human brain = true magic. Or the potential for it, anyway. That’s what I think.

Go on Spotify, 8Tracks, Last.FM, or another music-discovery tool of your choice, and do a search for playlists that fit the juicy/sexy/crushy mood you’re trying to generate. Whether you end up listening to cute love songs or intense sexy songs, you’ll feel more in line with yummy romantic energy than you did before you started.

5. Visualize romance, whatever the hell that means to you.

I think visualization is a criminally underrated capability of the human mind. You can literally picture – and, in a way, experience – anything you want. Some spiritual worldviews say that visualizing a particular event can help attract that kind of event into your life – but even if you don’t buy that, it still feels damn good!

My mind wanders a lot so I often find it easier to write down a particular fantasy/daydream and then read it over. The act of committing it to paper helps focus my vision and get me deeper into the feeling I’m trying to create. But if freeform imaginin’ works for you, you can do that too. And wonderfully, you can do it pretty much any time you feel like it. Including while you’re commuting. Or sitting in a boring class. Or lying in bed trying to fall asleep.

If you’re not sure where to start, give these prompts a ponder… If (your crush/love) was with you right now, what would you want them to say to you? How would they look at you? What would that feel like? What’s the absolute best compliment they could give you? If they sent you a love letter, what would you want it to say? If they gave you the perfect kiss, what would that be like? How would they initiate sex with you (or you with them)? What kinds of sounds would they make? Where would they put their hands on your body, and what would that feel like? What kind of cuddler would they be? After sex, what would they whisper or moan or mumble into your ear?

Oh, good gracious. I am already feeling a heck of a lot better about the single life. Excuse me; I’ll be in my bunk.

What do you do to make your life feel sexier and more romantic on a regular basis?

Review: LoveLife Dream

Happy Valentine’s Day, cuties!

I feel bad for disliking the LoveLife Dream. It could have been so good. It has the bare structural bones of a vibrator that could do something other than suck. And yet it kind of sucks.

LoveLife is a new-ish line of toys made by OhMiBod, formerly best known for its vibrators that sync up to the music on your iPod (dear god why). It was definitely a good step for OhMiBod to move toward producing “normal” sex toys, i.e. ones without silly gimmicks. But if the rest of the toys in the line are similar to the Dream, I think the collection has missed the mark and OhMiBod should go back to the drawing board.

First of all, every toy in this line is obnoxiously pink. I realize that pink is a top-selling color in the sex toy industry, that it’s “romantic” and “girly,” etc., but none of that can make me like the overwhelming pinkness of this collection. It feels overly gendered and a little juvenile. And despite the fact that I’m visually quite attached to heart shapes and what they represent, the hearts sprinked throughout the LoveLife line feel cloying and silly. These toys look appropriately saccharine on Valentine’s Day, maybe, but that’s it.

I was prepared to set aside my distaste for the Dream’s aesthetics if it felt good, but it couldn’t even meet me halfway on that one. It is sooooo buzzy, you guys. And buzzy just doesn’t do it for me. The vibrations stay right at the surface of my body and don’t rock my internal clitoral network. Inserted vaginally, this vibe feels almost pathetically weak to me, even turned up to the sixth and highest speed. Buzzy vibes don’t stimulate me the way I like, and they cause fast numbness for me, so I just can’t use ‘em.

There were literally times when I got bored midway through using this vibe and gave up. I didn’t just give up on using this particular toy; I gave up on the entire masturbation session. More than once. Because buzzy vibrations make me feel like all vibrations must be boring and awful like they are. (However, if I forced myself to use an über-rumbly vibe immediately afterward, I remembered why vibrations rock and all was well again.)

I will say that the Dream’s control panel is easy to use, which can’t be said for all sex toys. You press a squiggly button to turn it on and off, and plus and minus buttons to change the speed. The toy is rechargeable and comes with a USB cable so you can charge it that way, which is always convenient (for my life, anyway – you might feel differently if you share a computer with your grandmother or something). The toy’s gently sloping shape feels nice inside me, though not so nice that I’d want to use it as a dildo. It’s reasonably quiet. The silicone is soft and smooth but requires significant lubeage.

I just can’t get excited about a vibrator if its motor doesn’t thrill me, and this toy’s motor is a major letdown.

The major standout of the LoveLife line, according to some reviews I’ve read, is the Adventure, a three-pronged vibe that can stimulate the clit, vagina, and anus all at the same time. Each prong has its own motor, so it’s got to be stronger than my disappointing Dream. If you, for some ungodly reason, adore the cavity-inducing aesthetic of the LoveLife line and really want one, it seems like the Adventure is the way to go.

As for me, I’m going to file this one away under “vibrators so buzzy, they’re utterly incompatible with my genitals.”

Thanks to OhMiBod/LoveLife for the toy!