How to be a Successful Single on Valentine’s Day

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If you’re single like me, this Saturday is sure to evoke an extreme reaction. Whether the V-word has you glaring at the calendar in a tearful rage or singing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” at the top of your voice as you wash that man right outta your hair, we all agree that nobody wants to spend the night alone, feeling sorry for themselves… In order to ensure the highlights of February 14th don’t include nursing a bottle of red wine as you leave 26 messages on your ex’s answering machine, you need a good, solid plan – SHARPISH!

Never fear –no matter how long you’ve been single, there’s an idea below to ensure that Valentine’s 2009 is anything but a misery-fest.

Suddenly single
If you’ve recently broken up with your significant other it’s likely that you’ll want nothing to do with the opposite sex this weekend. So instead, spend it with your mates – they are far more reliable and willing to share their hilarious V-day horror stories, so you needn’t feel like the world has got it in for you. Or if you are feeling brave, take some time out to re-connect with yourself. Chances are that if you’ve been in a long-term relationship, you’ve been putting all your energy into making someone else happy without giving yourself a second thought, so be selfish for once. It’s never easy the first time, but it gets better, I promise. As the great Kathy Bates says in perfect Valentine’s viewing, ‘P.S. I Love You’, “If we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too.” Here, here!

1.The Classic Girlie Night In
Pyjamas – check
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream – check
Face Masks and Nail Varnish – double check
The entire Vince Vaughan DVD back catalogue – checkedy check checkeroo
Wine, Singstar Karaoke and Truth or Dare are all optional but a bloody good laugh!

It’s an oldie but a goodie, and traditionally seen as the best way to ex-orcise the wrong man out of your life. The only rule for the evening? No phones. You don’t want to be reminded of the lesser sex just when you‘re starting to forget why the last specimen made you miserable, so hold a one night ban. If your friends are loyal and care about your feelings then they will understand and see it through.

If you need some pampering, why not hire out a masseuse for the evening (making sure she’s female) and treat yourselves to a well-deserved stress buster. If you’re the more active types, you could include a Wii tournament in the evening’s proceedings – then at least you won’t feel too guilty about gorging yourself on treats!

2.Picnic With a Difference
Get all your girlfriends together for an al fresco Valentine’s lunch in your local park or on the village green. If the English weather is against you, you can always pack up and take the party indoors. Assign each of your friends one item to bring – whether it be salad, sandwiches, tarts, a sumptuous pudding, fruit smoothie or a bottle of wine. It won’t be long before the conversation is flowing and you forget that men ever existed.

You could even have a theme, like the colour red for example – utilising tomatoes, strawberries and umm pink wafer biscuits?! Dressing up could also be fun – 1940’s styles are back in for spring/summer 2009, so take some tips from Luella’s catwalk looks and team a coral or lilac tea dress with some kid gloves and a cute swing jacket. Bows and veils are big too so if you don’t own a vintage pillbox hat, get down to you local fabric shop andcreate your own headpiece!  They are sure to have plenty of off-cuts of fabric and all the equipment you need to make yourself a fabulous fascinator!

3.Get away from it all
If all your local lasses are spending their Valentine’s in a cosy and coupled up fashion, why don’t you escape the madness and take a trip away? It doesn’t have to be costly; no doubt flights this weekend will be extortionate, so drive or take the train. Have an adventure! Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you need to shy away from doing new and exciting things. So, grab a map, turn to a random page, close your eyes, and let your finger guide itself to your surprise destination. Do a bit of research on the internet about things to do and see and get going!

If this all sounds a bit much then why not visit a friend or relative you haven’t seen in a while? When I get down in the dumps, I love visiting my feisty grandmother (aka Superwoman) for a weekend of poking round thrift shops, watching the soaps, eating homemade scones and having the occasional cheeky G&T! It puts things in perspective to hear from someone who’s really struggled through hard times but picked themselves up and got on with it. It’ll make you want to dry those tears and face the world again, stronger and more resilient than ever!

Serial singles

You’ve been single since…well actually you can’t remember the last time someone made your heart flutter, let alone your most recent date. You’re starting to believe that you are one of those people who just seems destined to be a loner for eternity – and it’s just not true! The problem is your stuck in a rut, seeing the same people, doing the same things and going to the same places. It’s time to break your habit web and take some risks! The ideas below aren’t guaranteed to get you married off before you can say “Plus One”, but they are sure to make you have fun. Swallow your fears and try something new, who knows where it might lead!

1.Speed dating
Yes it’s cheesy and common sense dictates that there’s absolutely no chance of you meeting The One, but have you ever given it a try? Even just for fun?! If the answer’s no, then you haven’t any excuse, it’s time to throw caution to the wind and get involved. The process is simple; you sit at a table and get a few minutes to chat to every member of the opposite sex before they move on to the next candidate. At the end of the event you give a list of your preferred dating partners to the organisers, who will then pass on your contact details. This way you don’t have to deal with the awkward business of rejecting someone to their face (or getting rejected for that matter!)

It might end up being painfully cringeworthy, but go with a friend and at least you can giggle about it afterwards. A friend of mine met his long term girlfriend speed dating – she was a sceptic too but happened to be organising the event for charity and they hit it off, so it really does work!

Check out www.speeddater.co.uk for or local listings for events in your area.

2.Make a scene

How are you supposed to catch someone’s eye if you’re always hiding in the corner at parties and never making the first move? It’s time to think outside the box and get creative. Set up a kissing booth into the centre of town with a few girlfriends to raise money for charity – you might have to kiss a few frogs, but every princess does that on the way to meeting her prince!

In job interviews you’re always asked to sell yourself, but how about practising these skills in public? I read about a woman who went on a date with a different guy every week for a year. She even recruited eligible bachelors by using a sandwich board advertising her availability, in the centre of London! What a trooper! And before you say anything, it’s not desperate, it’s ingenious and the right man will definitely realise that.

3.Singles party
Do you find yourself always hanging out with the same group of people? You keep your work friends, home friends and university, college or travelling friends separate because that’s what you’re used to right? Wrong! It’s time to mix things up – and your friends should do the same!  That special someone could be a friend of a friend of a friend who’s been patiently waiting to meet a girl like you, all he needs is a good excuse!

Hold a “Down with Valentine’s!” soiree and ensure that every one of your single friends brings someone along from outside your immediate circle. Before you know it you’ll be up to your knickers in saucy stallions and leggy lovelies. Even if you’ve got reservations, you can get the inside scoop on any new eye candy from your nearest and dearest.  How can you go wrong when anyone attending already has the seal of approval from one of your mates? Easy – you can’t! It can be fancy dress themed or just plain glam but whatever you wear, you’re sure to meet someone fun.

Whatever you do this Valentine’s, be sure to enjoy it and to laugh! Remember it’s just another day and who knows where you’ll be (or who with) next year. Cheers!

By Sally McIlhone

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