I was very decidedly single this Valentines (after several rather botched attempts to fall in love etc. – seduction is not my greatest talent, I’ve learnt). So first, I wrote this—a wee happy guide on doing something lovely for ourselves, whether single or attached. Self empowerment, learning to love ourselves and all that.
I was so impressed with myself for being so upbeat that for the first time in a long time, I thought I’d take my own advice. And so, this Valentines’ Day has been the best one ever. Sans flowers, chocolates, mushy cards or any significant other.
So, started the day right with my very own, very popped-up Spotify playlist, just for the day which features Sophie Ellis Bextor, Kylie, P!nk and Gwen, among plenty of other favourite happy-fying tunes.
Called one of my oldest friends, the first girl I was friends with in boarding school, 20 years ago, who now lives in San Francisco. Lovely long conversations and catching up and remembering some of the best times of a teenage time.
Alone time in a bookshop, where of course, I’d have to buy something; walked out with three new books, and was gifted a fourth by a best friend who I met with lunch.
Over salad and milkshakes, we ended up sharing some of the deepest (and hardest) little truths we’ve shared in a long time (what better day to do this than on a day of love). She listened and loved and put things into a new light, and then we took silly photos in front of a giant heart—because this is what you do with the people you love most in the world: be your most serious, sad self, and then also your laughingly best.
Dinner with two other friends who I’ve come to love so much more dearly in the last year. Found ourselves in a cheap coffee shop because we didn’t want to pay for an overpriced meal surrounded by couples. We sat outdoors by a busy road, under a scrawny tree — “look, we’re connecting with nature” — pretending we were doing a version of romantic, al fresco dining. We even wine (in a rice wine soup, which is much more delicious).
Vodka and foot-tapping to cheesy chart tunes at a bar later in the evening, where the same two dear friends told me stories about their crotches (!) and the best sex they ever had. (You can only have these conversations with people you know and love this much—though I’m still not sure whether to be appalled or amused by some of the things I heard last night!)
Tumbling home just past midnight, to that quietness that is always welcoming and cosseted and warm. There are three new books to be read now, so I hurried to finish the one I’m reading now of medieval battles and kings and scheming queens. Then fell asleep to plenty of adventurous dreams.
I hope this year, you filled your own Valentines day (and every day!) with all the love you could possibly find to give. Love every day damn, people. Valentines’ should only be one of 365.