First of all, before I begin with the task at hand, I'd like to let everyone know that Sylvia Ney is posting today over at the Parallel's Blog about Science Past, Present and Future. Be sure to check it out!
It's time for another WEP Challenge! Thanks to Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey for hosting this fun event!
Since it's February, this month's challenge is all about Valentine's Day. You can celebrate all that is wonderful about the holiday, or you can post something that laments the very existence of all that it entails. The choice is yours!
The piece I'm sharing now is a follow-up of my recently released novella Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family. Since I'm turning it into a series, I've been inhabiting that world for awhile. As such, it's hardly surprising that this is the direction my mind took when it came time to write something for this challenge.
But never fear! You don't need to have read the novella to read this. I promise.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Dani Finklemeier’s Valentine’s Day Survival Guide
Valentine’s Day can be a tough time for those of us who don’t fit into the typical order of things. I fit into the mold about as well as those super-strength acids people use to dissolve bodies in horror movies. Sure, I can conform to the shape of acceptability for a brief time, but my true nature soon begins to corrode the container I’ve stupidly tried to inhabit. Fortunately, that fact doesn’t bother me as much as some people seem to think it should.
In my early years, I probably wouldn’t have gotten any valentines if the school didn’t require kids to hand them out to everyone. Then in middle school, I could expect only one, which came from Seth. Now, even though Seth had been my best friend since age three, I knew he wouldn’t have continued to give me one if his mom didn’t remind him to do it. I’m not saying that he’s a thoughtless guy, because he really isn’t. He just isn’t that good at remembering little things like that. When it comes to the big things, he does fine.
I’m not here to go on and on about the boy I’ve known most of my life who went on to become my boyfriend. Doing that while purporting to give advice to people who must endure Valentine’s Day alone would be too obnoxious, so without further ado, here’s my somewhat questionable advice.
1. Buy yourself chocolate. No one else got you any, but that doesn’t mean you should be deprived of a source of comfort on what might prove to be a lonely day. And if you want to get through the day without adding a misdemeanor to your record, you’re going to need the chocolate.
This is something I do every year. I don’t believe in waiting for anyone to get me chocolate when I can do it myself. Only I know what kinds of chocolate I’m craving at any given time anyway. And if someone does actually buy me chocolate as well, that’s even better! How can you go wrong with that?
2. Remember that, even if you eat your entire stash of chocolate in one night, there’s bound to be a massive chocolate sale the day after. Congratulations! You’ll have the opportunity to eat your feelings all over again!
I also take advantage of this. Why not? It’s unthinkable to allow that kind of opportunity pass you by. Granted, I’ve never understood why there would ever be enough leftover chocolate to justify a sale, but hey, it benefits me in the end, so whatever.
3. If you find yourself particularly sad about not having someone special, pick a romantic movie so cheesy and rife with bad dialogue that the idea of romantic love becomes repulsive to you. The effect may only last a day or two, but it should be enough to get you through the dark times of Valentine’s Day.
You know the kinds of movies I’m talking about. These are the ones with clumsily-written clichés about how these two people can’t live without one another while having only known each other for a few hours. Sure, people can make a strong connection in a short amount of time, but that doesn’t mean you’ve reached the point where you’re going to go all kamikaze over it. And if you are, then perhaps you have some deeper issues.
I’m also talking about the poorly acted movies with corny dialogue and terrible music. There has obviously been no effort to make a film that wasn’t a gigantic pile of crap. These movies give love a bad name, and that’s exactly what you need to help you get through a lonely Valentine’s Day. Be cautious, though. If you’ve been eating your feelings all night, watching too bad a movie can lead to nausea. Ick!
4. Come up with a fun tradition for Valentine’s Day that in no way requires you to have a significant other. Instead, you can share it with a friend or family member. Granted, it may be a struggle to find someone romantically unattached who is also willing to spend time with you, but hopefully not impossible.
Seth and I have a tradition like this. We get together each Valentine’s Day, watch movies, and eat vast quantities of unhealthy food. It is absolutely one of my favorite traditions. It was his idea to start this tradition, too. We were thirteen when he proposed it, and it was that awkward age where you start to really notice whether anyone is remotely interested in you or not. Those awakening hormones can really throw off your Valentine’s Day equilibrium. It helped both of us forget about those concerns by giving us something to look forward to other than implied rejection.
Until, of course, the year he skipped out on our tradition to go to a dance with another girl. I might have gone through a bit more chocolate than normal that year.
5. If you’ve ever been through a nasty break-up, focus on all the reasons why being in a relationship isn’t always a good thing. And if you’ve never been through a break-up because you’ve never been in a relationship, look at the examples around you. They’re everywhere.
I’m fortunate that I’ve never been through a nasty break-up, or any break-up for that matter. Being considered an undateable weirdo for most of my life helped me out on that front. Still, I’ve seen enough heartbreak amongst the other people in my life to know how unpleasant these things can be. There are also plenty of movies describing that kind of heartbreak, and perhaps selecting some of them for your own movie night might help if you don’t have the personal experience.
So, there they are. Dani Finklemeier’s tips for surviving Valentine’s Day. Hopefully I helped you, but let’s face it. I probably didn’t. Valentine’s Day can suck for us misfits no matter what we do.
At least we have Halloween.