Valentine's Day: Flying solo 

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Well, singles, you've made it this far. You braved the brunt of the cold, unforgiving holiday season on your own, gifting yourself with anticlimactic Christmas presents and busying your lonely lips with a noisemaker during the New Year's countdown. But now we've come to the penultimate test to your single-life optimism: Valentine's Day.

Jewelry stores and florists have been taunting you for more than a month with ads featuring happy couples, and you've stood your ground admirably. To help you through the actual day of reckoning, we've drafted a list of go-to activities that just might distract you from the looming prospect of dying alone.

As you go about filling your Feb. 14 itinerary with the options below, keep reminding yourself of the unacknowledged boons to singledom: no significant other means no compromising, no tolerating someone else's bodily functions, no forced niceties with his/her appallingly awkward friends or family. We say, go forth and enjoy your detached status.

Take yourself to the movies
For one thing, it lacks the spotlit humiliation of dining alone, especially if you manage to slip in just before opening credits. No one will know your sad, dirty secret as you file out of the theater afterwards, and you won't have to put such effort into appearing enthralled with the repetitive pre-preview trivia. Best of all, there's no one to judge you for your guilty pleasure movie choice. Just do yourself a favor and avoid the lovey-dovey flicks. We're trying to accept and celebrate your singlehood here; no need to dwell. Or, go the other route and subject yourself to 'Blue Valentine' and take comfort in the fact that at least you're not drowning in a failed marriage.

Buy yourself something pretty
We know — in this economy? But at this point in your life, you have the luxury of not needing to discuss major purchases with anyone else beforehand. And why work up expectations that he/she will get you that thing you've been dropping hints about since October, only to be let down? If money's tight, it doesn't need to be huge, just something that'll bring a smile to that lonesome mug. Better yet, make a day of it. Pick a new neighborhood and browse the options. See our 2010 Shopping CityGuide for more than 100 shop local suggestions.

Take in some art
We've always thought that art houses can only truly be appreciated on solo visits. There's none of that pressure to articulate complex interpretations, no time limit per piece. You can mosey or race through as you see fit without ever name-dropping the sporadic art history tidbits you've scraped from the recesses of your undergrad memory. Make a day of it, and feel smug about just how cultured you are without trying to impress a potential mate. February's (fabulous) First Friday has come and gone, but to celebrate the confectionary side of this miserable holiday, check out the sweets of "Just Desserts" at Indy Indie Artist Colony.

Get mingling
Gather your nuptially challenged friends and take the opportunity to bask in each others' platonic company. An at-home soiree sounds perfect to us, but should you and your bachelor crew feel so ambitious as to venture out on the town, Creation Cafe is hosting their annual Anti-Valentine's Day Party on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. Feel free to dress the part — all-black attire is suggested — and come prepared to rave and lament upon relationships gone sour. Spend Valentine's evening at Carmel's Vine & Table Gourmet Market. Cough up $15 before Feb. 13 for wine tastings, beer, eats and prize raffles with other local singles. Not a bad way to wile the night away.

Drown your sorrows
Maybe not our healthiest suggestion, but let's be real — you were planning on this one anyway. It all might seem so hopeless when you're face-to-face with a Zales ad or ambush reminder of your ex, but the rest of the city's singles will be right there with you. Seek each other out across a smoky bar; commiserate or copulate, who are we to judge? My editors specifically warned me to avoid the Alley Cat for this particular coping mechanism, an advisory that guarantees the best kind of debauchery. If past-their-prime frat-heads and sorostitutes are more your type, try Brothers or Landsharks on for size.

Bust out the sad vinyls and sob in the dark
Might we suggest Jeff Buckley's Grace? It's a cliche of the best, most honest breed, and deserves a fair chance in your healing process. Other good options include anything by Bright Eyes if you're under the legal voting age, or The National if you have a lick of good taste. And we'd be remiss if we failed to mention big names of a genre that was practically born of a broken heart: soul. Otis Redding is a guaranteed fit when only the purest form of audio empathy will do the trick. Head to local music peddlers like Indy CD & Vinyl or Luna Music for some of their expert suggestions; once you've settled on an appropriately sorrowful soundtrack, slide into catharsis and just let it out, man.

Manage your anger
We've all been the jilted ex-lover at one point or another.Sometimes you just have to give in to the rage. Thankfully, there are ways to do so that won't land you in the clink. Combining social hour with outlets of aggression sounds neat, but after a little sleuthing, we found that fight clubs are in fact illegal, so that's out. We really can't condone owning your own piece, but Don's Guns (3919 Lafayette Rd.) in Indianapolis has a fantastic indoor shooting range, and we bet they'd let you affix a headshot of your most recent other half to the target. Have you seen Don's commercials? He seems like a pretty reasonable guy.

Pamper yourself
Being single can be hard on a body, whether you're still nursing the wounds of a bad breakup or stuck in an eternal dry spell. You deserve a day of frivolous relaxation. We realize this option may appear to cater solely to the ladies, but men should not shy away from a day for themselves. You can always reclaim your masculinity with a cheesesteak afterward if it bothers you that much, or browse the selection of upstanding masseuses advertising in our back pages. For those who prefer service of a less raunchy variety, $75 will get you 60 minutes of Swedish bliss at French Pharmacie in Broad Ripple.

Start sculpting your revenge body
February is the perfect time to revisit your fitness routine, as the fair-weather gym bunnies have lost sight of their New Year's ambitions. Who knows when you'll run into the one who did you wrong? We want you to look your foxiest. Try the hot yoga classes at The Yoga Center in Broad Ripple and Clay Terrace or register for the 2011 Virtual Luv Run. Excuse the race's disgustingly saccharine name —it's for a good cause, we promise. Across the country, participants head to their preferred running routes any time during V-day weekend, after making a donation in a loved one's name or to the charity of their choice. Register online beforehand to share the endorphin-fueled love.

Get back in the saddle
For a more lasting solution, check out the dating options beyond your cubicle partitions. Not sure where to start? Indy-based social consulting group Miss Pivot (see Catherine's blog here) can give you some basic tips for the dating game if it's been a while. And don't discredit online avenues; it's 2011, and we're all in the same functionally isolated rut when it comes to interpersonal connection. Set up a or eHarmony account, sit back and see what fish you can reel in with a Photoshopped headshot and masterfully crafted profile. We bet you'll get more Winks than you know what to do with, you handsome devil, you.

Whether you choose to observe the holiday in pursuit of good health or cheap sex, don't lose hope, dear single reader. You're not alone. Mercifully, it'll be Feb. 15 before you know it — just another wintry day for us to shift gears from spinster's despair back into Seasonal Affected coasting, until May brings sweet, sunny relief.

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What others are saying (10)

Memphis Flyer Blue Valentine by Addison Engelking 01/27/2011
The Coast Halifax Blue Valentine steals our hearts If you think you’ve seen it before, you’re wrong, and you’re also right. by Tara Thorne 01/27/2011
Charleston City Paper Falling in and out of love in Blue Valentine Blue Valentine is a difficult, heartbreaking film, but it’s also essential viewing if only for offering a corrective to all of the tales of blissful, uncomplicated love we’ve been spoon-fed. by Felicia Feaster 01/26/2011
7 more reviews...
Portland Mercury Love Hurts Blue Valentine: an autopsy of a marriage. by Dave Bow 01/13/2011
Creative Loafing Atlanta Blue Valentine's 20/20 hindsight of heartbreak Gosling and Williams shine through bleak romance by Curt Holman 01/07/2011
East Bay Express It Didn't Work Out: Blue Valentine, Rabbit Hole, and Bhutto Three women and their best-laid plans. by Kelly Vance 01/05/2011
Indy Week A raw, gritty tale of love gone bad in Blue Valentine A raw, plaintive portrait of a romance's heady birth and excruciating death rattle by Neil Morris 01/26/2011
Tucson Weekly Brutal Realism 'Blue Valentine' depicts a charming relationship—and its horrific deterioration by Bob Grimm 01/13/2011
Boise Weekly Roses Are Red, This Is A Blue Valentine Method acting leads to honest connection on screen. by Jordan Wilson 05/18/2011
Colorado Springs Independent Killing Cupid: Blue Valentine This film racked up accolades on many critics' yearly favorites lists. But did it really deserve them? by Jonathan Kiefer 01/27/2011

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