What it’s like to: Live the “you’ve got mail” dream

When I think of Valentine’s Day, explosions of pink and red decorations everywhere, Hallmark and flower shops exploitation, couples squealing over overpriced gifts and the painful obviousness of one’s singleness definitely comes to mind. That, at least, is the traditional view of Valentine’s Day. My challenge was to find other ways to spend Valentine’s Day.

When I first volunteered for this seemingly easy task, I had not really given Valentine’s Day much thought. It’s one of those holidays that really have no value or significance to society. I had always thought that unless you had a significant other there really wasn’t much point to Valentine’s Day.

I planned to go to this Valentine’s Day Art Spree at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. Unfortunately, due to bad weather it was canceled. I was unaware of this when I skipped two classes to take the El all the way downtown, but it was worth it. The Illinois Artisans Shop where the event was supposed to take place was very interesting. It sells jewelry, paintings, potter, and anything you might call art made by local artists. They had a great Valentine’s Day selection including heart-shaped necklaces and earrings, ceramic tiles and heart-shaped plates.

Everything was beautiful and very original. If you ever have a chance to go to the James R. Thompson Center, definitely visit this adorable shop.

My next plan of action was to visit a sex shop in Chicago, specifically Batteries Not Included on Halsted (near Boys Town). Sex toys, erotic costumes and sexy lingerie would make anyone’s Valentine’s Day better, but I was thwarted by a circumstance out of my control: my age. You had to be 21 to enter.

Still, from the looks of the window display, the place was definitely worth a visit if you are old enough to get through the door.

At first, I considered my failed excursions as a reflection of the holiday – disappointing and pointless. But I realized through my excursions I got to travel all over Chicago by myself and visit places I normally wouldn’t have visited. I also realized that being alone on Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad. I had a lot of fun visiting these places even though it did not turn out the way I had hoped. So even if Valentine’s Day isn’t the gushy, cutesy day you were hoping for, make it fun. Here are a few suggestions:

– If you don’t have a boo, spend it with a friend, whether it’s your BFF, BGF or GBF – it doesn’t really matter. Just spend it with someone you really care about and can help you make fun of the rare but annoying Northwestern couples.

– With said friend, go have dinner at a place where couples might eat at, like Kafein, Chili’s or Panera and make snarky observations about couple – in low, mocking undertones.

– GO OUT AND PARTY. This is Northwestern. There are, unfortunately, a lot of lonely, single college students out there. So hit up those parties and enjoy being single with other single people.

If none of those options appeal to you, just remember, Valentine’s Day is only 24 hours long. People will eventually get tired of pink and red and making googly eyes at each other.