It’s Valentine’s week! Yay! Or… Ugh?
Maybe you’re partnered with someone who just absolutely loves Valentine’s Day and has this whole thing wrapped up in a “pack your suitcase, don’t forget your passport, bring only a bathing suit” surprise bow!
But, for the rest of us, Valentine’s can feel like a mirror to everywhere we are not participating in the Olympic Games of LOVE that we (as a species) have coutured over the last few centuries. Many aspects of love and romance have been co-opted by the wedding industry, by Hollywood, by the candy industry- you know where I’m going with this. Heck, let’s reach all the way back to the medieval knights of Aquitaine and the development of “courtly love,” originally an amusement for the upper classes that has since bloomed into our ideas of Modern Love, and so has psychically touched our minds via many works of fiction, theater, song and now, is a commercial juggernaut for a myriad of industries.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I love romance (even more than I love capitalism!) I love rom com flicks, vintage Valentine cards, love notes scrawled on napkins in bars, the Kama Sutra. I love wine and chocolate and bubble baths, I love slow dancing while it rains outside. All this and more, and I love these things so much that even when I am single, or have a partner who “hates Valentine’s Day,” I don’t care. I do those things myself. Why? Because I love love.
So, if you’re not partnered this year, or you’re with a partner who simply isn’t “having it” this Valentine’s Day, here are the TOP FIVE WAYS TO ROMANCE YOURSELF!
Go for the BIG ONE!
I have this friend who had accidentally bought herself a Range Rover AND still held a lease on a BMW. She was trying to talk me into taking over her lease on the BMW (I did not) and she explained to me how she came to have both: for decades she had waited for some dreamy rich guy to come take care of her. She wanted a man who would buy her the dream car, the dream house, the rings. When she got into her 40s, and that unicorn- sorry- guy hadn’t shown up, she decided it was up to HER. She started giving herself all the things she ever wanted and in so doing realized that the power was within her to create the life she wanted to live.
I tell you that story to say, go for it. Really. If not now, when?
Book that trip to Paris. Buy yourself the Birkin handbag. Lease the BMW.
And look: if you’re not looking to spend a ton of money, great! Because it’s not about the money. It’s about giving yourself the things you’re waiting to receive.
I urge you to think about those things you’ve been dreaming of and give yourself something you “normally wouldn’t.” For some of us, that might be hiring a cleaning person to come to the house, or just taking an afternoon off from work to stop by an art gallery or peruse a library.
And if you desire a trip to Paris but can’t afford it now? I recommend starting an online savings account and setting up an automatic transfer that is small enough you won’t notice it, but that will add up over a year or two or three while you meanwhile start putting together some research about where you want to go.
Indulge your Secret Desires
The third installment of the “Fifty Shades” movie came out last week. Look, some people love those books and those movies, and some people hate them, and we can talk about the various merits if we want- but- please. Not for Valentine’s Day. ☺ I vote that for this week, you take inspiration and think about your secret desires. Allow yourself some freedom to explore your senses, your body, your shadows. Obviously, I advocate safety for you and others, but I really believe that Valentine’s can be a fabulous time to explore and bring to light things you’ve been wondering about… things you’ve wanted to try…
Another little tip:
Don’t tell anyone.
Okay, if you have a partner who you want to tell or who needs to know, great. Again, I always advocate for safety.
But isn’t it sexy to have a little secret, just for you?
That could be anything from wearing some hot lingerie underneath the normal clothes you wear to work to taking a sick day to go watch a certain movie in the theaters to finally signing up for that tango/ burlesque/ tantra class you always wanted to take.
And remember: shhh……
This might tie into #1 or #2, but I think there are all kinds of ways we can experience luxury with or without spending money. I believe that luxury means many different things to different people, so imagine for yourself what that means for you and then find a fun way to experience the luxury in a way that feels comfortable for you.
Here are some suggestions to get you starts:
-test drive a luxury vehicle
- go to open houses in beautiful homes
-take a tour of a local historical monument
(most states have historic mansions)
-try out the fancy hand creams
-buy yourself a bar of the best chocolate you can find
-cook with Marsala wine
-put on some classical music for your drive home
-search the local events section of your paper for free concerts,
gallery openings, etc
-try out a new tea or coffee
Research the History of Romance
One of my favorites! There are so many angles from which to approach love and romance, and the value of researching the history of sex, love, romance, and related topics is to enrich your own sense of what’s possible in the world. When you read love letters from Napoleon to Josephine, what you feel in response says something about YOU and your heart, who you are and who you want to be. Studying the great epic love poems about King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table can spark within your imagination all manner of new thoughts, new energy. And then you can get really wild! Learn about weddings in ancient Egypt, love potions from Sri Lankan mystics, famous lovers throughout world history. This little blue planet is so full of love, and I believe that we can participate in that gorgeous, yearning practice to enrich our own lives and selves.
Plus, you never know when you might just win trivia night by being the only person who can answer that random question about the myth of Eros and Psyche.
Hold a Galentine’s (or Palentine’s) Party
You know, some of the best Valentine’s Days for me have been parties with my friends. Sometimes the parties have been just a bunch of us gals getting together to knit and watch our favorite rom coms. But if you don’t want to get sucked up into the downsides of singledom (cue Bridget Jones!) then what about a fun night where you all get together and:
-read tarot cards
-take a pole dance class
-play Gin Rummy
-play a sport
-rent a hotel room and use the spa facilities
-try a fun group activity that tickles your fancy
After all, coming together with people we love and connecting in joy is so replenishing to our hearts.
…Bonus points if you somehow manage to do all five in one epic evening!
By Erin Muir
Love and Relationship Coach