Valentine’s Day can be tough for single guys.
(Actually, there are a lot of guys in relationships who seem to struggle with it too, but that’s an issue for a separate blog post.)
As if the dog days of winter in the middle of February weren’t gloomy enough, along comes a holiday seemingly tailor-made to remind you that you’re not currently in a relationship.
Thanks for Nothing, Hallmark!
Thanks to Leslie Knope, single women can at least find solace in Galentine’s Day (which to be honest I wish guys could get in on, because it sounds fun as hell), but for single guys?
It’s hard to fight the impulse to hole up at home, crack a beer and brood over your relationship status.
But believe it or not, February 14th doesn’t have to be a pity party. There are multiple ways single guys can make the most of the day – and maybe even have some fun while they’re at it.
Valentine’s Day for Single Men
5 Ways to Tell Cupid to Go F Himself Up the A on V-Day
Number one with a bullet. (Or a barbell, as it were.)
There’s no better antidote for depression than a good workout. Remember back in January when you resolved that this was going to be the year you start a workout plan and get in shape?
Well, whether you’ve been hitting the gym diligently (yeah, me neither) or need a kick in the butt to get going, there’s no better time to start than Feb. 14th.
Not only will it get the endorphins flowing and leave you with a natural high, you can further take pride in the fact that you’re spending your day making yourself better – rather than giving into the temptation to wallow in pity or self-doubt.
Hit the gym or, if it’s not too cold, get outside for a hike or a walk. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you do something active.
And remember that while feeling good is the ultimate goal of working out, looking good while doing it doesn’t hurt either (especially if there happen to be some attractive – and since they’re in the gym on Valentine’s Day, presumably also single – ladies in the vicinity).
2. Volunteer Your Time
Couples like to think that Valentine’s Day is oh-so-romantic, but let’s be honest: it’s also self-indulgent.
Flip the script and focus your time and attention not on yourself – and what you feel you might be lacking, like a relationship – but on a worthy cause.
Find a soup kitchen or an animal shelter, an after-school reading program or a computer-literacy class: any not-for-profit cause that you deem worthy, where you could have a positive impact.
While everyone else is out at a restaurant or gorging themselves on over-priced chocolate, you’ll be making the world a better place.
Good luck feeling depressed after that.
3. Create an Online Dating Profile
For single guys, one of the worst parts about Valentine’s Day is the feeling of loneliness – it’s oh-so-tempting to spend the day focusing on what (and who) you don’t have.
But the truth is that you’re not the only one who feels that way – far from it, in fact.
There are dozens, and depending on where you live, maybe even hundreds of eligible women (or men, if that’s who you’re after) out there who are also single and looking to change their situation.
Creating an online dating profile and scanning through some profiles is a great way to find a like-minded mate.
And doing it on Valentine’s Day is a perfect way to remind yourself that many other people are in the exact same position as you.
As I explained my post summing up the differences between eHarmony and Match.com, I prefer paid dating sites because I found the women there to be… well, frankly, less sketchy and more respectable, if I’m being honest.
And the nice thing about signing up for these sites on Valentine’s Day is that they often run promotions, so you can get all the benefits of the more respectable dating pool at a discounted price.
4. Bury Yourself in a Good Book
How often do you tell yourself “I should read more” and then proceed to binge through a few more hours of Netflix or some other TV show?
Circle February 14th on your calendar and make a point of setting aside a few hours that day for reading.
As with exercising, you’ll be able to take pride in the fact that you’re taking concrete action to better yourself.
And even better, losing yourself in a good book will make you forget all about the fact that some greeting card company is trying to shit on single people today.
If you’re looking for a few recommendations, I’ve put together a list of the best self-help books for guys (at least, in my humble opinion). You can also check out my Book Reviews series for more in-depth summaries of some of my favorites.
If you’re looking for a wider range of options, a great place to start is Amazon’s list of New York Times’ Bestsellers. They’ve broken them down into categories that make it easy to find what you’re looking for.
5. [email protected]¢K It, You Win: Binge Away!
If you just can’t bring yourself to do something productive that will help you grow and improve, it’s OK to just bury your head in the proverbial sand and binge through some shows and movies.
But be smart about what you watch. Avoid anything about love or relationships that will make you long for what you don’t have to.
Instead, you’re looking for some good ol’ escapist fun that will transport you to a world far far away and make you think of anything but romance.
A few random suggestions include:
Captain America: Civil War (or any Avengers movie)
Before the End Game, there was war. And a giant Ant-Man.
A testament to the bonds of brotherhood. There’s barely a woman in this movie!
Skyfall (or any Bond Movie)
James Bond is a lot of things. Romantic is not one of them.
An engrossing movie about a disgusting controversy. Perfect!
Two journalists dig deep to uncover a scandal so big it took down a president. (Remember when there was such a thing?)
Nineteen years after the release of Titanic, a bear does to Leonardo DiCaprio what the rest of us have always wanted to.
The zombie apocalypse comes to Georgia. As if the Braves weren’t frustrating enough.
I’ve never heard of this show. Is it popular?
A man goes bald, then becomes a total bad-ass. Loosely based on the life story of Jason Statham.
In a futuristic world, rich people pay a fortune to kill James Marsden over and over again. (Presumably because they agree he was miscast as Cyclops.)
The lawyer from Breaking Bad becomes the main character of a surprisingly awesome show.
Basically the TV-version of Saving Private Ryan. Ten hours of television, less than five women. Perfect if you’re in a somber “bros before hoes” mood.
Some Final Thoughts on Valentine’s Day for Single Guys
There are some days each year that I love, like Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day, and a few that I basically hate:
Halloween. (Orange and black: the color scheme that no one asked for.)
Black Friday. (Because it’s not a holiday unless someone gets trampled to death in a Walmart while trying to save 40% on a TV.)
Earth Day. (Kidding! Love you, Earth.)
But back when I was single, the day I hated most of all was Valentine’s Day.
In addition to knowing that all my friends in relationships would be unavailable to hang out that weekend, I also had to put up with the constant bombardment of TV commercials, store displays and red-and-white office decorations, helpfully reminding me that I was alone on this Godforsaken planet.
(Wait, maybe I do have something against the Earth? Note to self: check in on Elon Musk’s Mars colonization plans.)
Now that I’m married, I look back on that time with a completely different perspective. Sure, I didn’t have anyone who I could buy flowers for or take out on a date come Feb. 14th, but I had something else:
A day on the calendar when I knew the rest of the world would be so preoccupied with cinnamon hearts and winged babies brandishing medieval weapons, that I could do pretty much whatever I wanted.
For 24 blissful hours, no one would bug me, ask anything of me, or even remember I existed.
Talk about an opportunity!
And that’s what I hope you’ll see this as: an opportunity. Follow the tips above to spend the day focusing on things that matter to you, and take a day off from worrying about women.
Trust me: days like that are hard to come by.
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Irreverent Gent founder Dave Bowden is a men’s style specialist, an Amazon bestselling author, an unrepentant introvert, a (patient, if long-suffering) Toronto sports fan and the husband of a wonderful (and fortunately much more patient) wife.