Valentine’s Day is all about love and passion: a day we all remember to celebrate that special someone in our lives. But let’s be real—who said that special someone had to be real?
For most people, someone being fictional would be a dealbreaker; For fangirls and boys, it’s a detail. While the characters may not exist, the feelings fans hold for them definitely do. So if you find yourself without a Valentine this particular year, have no fear—let’s take this chance to celebrate our fantasy flings.
Boarding the ship: Why are we like this?
When you’ll never walk down the aisle with your select fantasy paramour, never file joint taxes with them, never spend eternity pushing up daisies in burial plots next to each other, it’s easy to write fangirling off as a waste of time. The mere mention of “fangirl” might trigger images of fanatic ferver, kissing posters and clutching body pillows. For some, fangirling is a phase best left behind in middle or high school, lest it’s cringe-worthiness follow us to college.
But there’s a common defense in the discussion over fangirling online: If it is socially acceptable to swoon over sports teams, celebrating their achievements and lamenting their defeats, why is it not the same for fandom? Any hobby, in excess, can be harmful. Wine is fine, but too much leads to alcoholism; chocolate is fabulous, but enough of it will rot your teeth out. And like a choice cheese, fangirling only gets better with age. Adulthood only leaves us time to enjoy the best parts of fanning and is as good an excuse as any to indulge in some escapism.
Now revel in this sinking ship: How to Fangirl this Feb. 14.
Fanfiction is the most notorious product of fandom and the easiest way to burn hours swooning over fantasy sweethearts. Browsing through sites like fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org feels like browsing a menu. How would you like your feelings today: a happy story of your characters living happily ever after, or a dramatic tragedy, like a train en route to a crash you can’t look away from? Find what you like and settle in with comfy pajamas, a warm drink and roommates who won’t judge you for crying over a character’s fate.
For shorter, sweeter hits of fanfiction, consider searching for headcanons over Tumblr—sentence to paragraph-long snippets imagining moments of characters lives the official canon may have missed.
Speaking of Tumblr, it may be one of the best sources for finding artwork of characters and allows easy sharing of artwork across multiple profiles, but it is not the only one. Pinterest has plenty, and its “boards” make it easy to organize multiple fandoms, like a virtual version of plastering magazine cutouts over all your walls.
While there is an abundance of fan artwork online, for that special pairing of character, consider ordering a commission from an artist online. Instagram, Tumblr and DeviantArt are full of talented artists who offer them. If financially possible, the anticipation of waiting for a piece just for you is a great feeling and supports artists as well.
Rewatch that favorite movie with a bucket of ice cream. Replay that beloved game until the sun rises. Fall in love and break your own heart, all from the comfort of your own head.