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


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


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 Match.com 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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