The 14th day of February does not require company to be enjoyed.
It is a day like any other, but commercialized beyond belief, pounding the sense of loneliness into those of us who happen to not share it with anyone special. We unsuspecting souls sometimes don't even notice the "gap" in our lives until drugstores start rolling out the candy and the hearts and the Pink! Pink!! Pink!!! Then we forget that we were fine before and we can be just as fine during and after, that the sun will come up and the sun will go down, regardless of our relationship status.
I have a bit of a streak going: 18 consecutive years of being single on the day, sitting on the sidelines as I watch my friends and their Other Halves proclaim their everlasting love for each other over candlelit dinners or a street-lit round of mini-golf or some other gross/cute thing that I secretly long for. However, this does not mean that we singletons have to have a crummy night. It's not a requirement to blare Adele over a tub of Ben and Jerry's and a Nicholas Sparks movie you got from the Redbox you drove to in your pajamas. It's only a bad night if you make it a bad night. Taco Bell and binge-watching Orange Is the New Black with a frown on your face is not a requirement for the Alone, just a choice.
So treat yourself. It might not be our day, but it could be your day, if you choose. Cook yourself dinner, rather than wait in the takeout line. Whip up something at home, something easy, something greasy, something 100 percent for you. Drown something in onions or garlic. You can go to town without breaking the bank. One of the perks of the Alone is that, unlike the In Love, you'll have an extra $120 at night's end. Steam some fish (try the accompanying recipe), put together a simple pasta dish, or grab rotisserie chickens from Publix and make chicken salad sandwiches (also see accompanying recipe). Add a delicious dessert (see recipe for Melt Your Heart Molten Nutella Lava Cake, Page 6). The only rule: You're doing this all for you. (You'll have great leftovers, too.)
Make "V" day "Me" day, and clear the stores of all the marked-down candy the next day.
Joey Hager is a senior at Palm Harbor University High and a staff writer for tb-two*, the Times' high school weekly.