I spend 365 days of the year single, but no day highlights it like Valentine’s Day. Hearts, romantic comedies, sweets and roses adorn banal settings. Few things reach this level of corny every year.
It makes it easier to see the silver lining of being alone and quarantined already: less exposure to drab holiday decor and a reason to treat Valentine’s as your day.
While I usually recommend letting the sun warm up, there are immense benefits to experiencing the morning crispness. A breath of frigid air goes a long way for the body. Also, once up and at ’em, there’s a lower chance of perusing social media—and there should be no social media today.
The popular ones—Instagram, Twitter, TikTok—will be inundated with drab reminders of the holiday. There may be temptations to swipe, but no! A Valentine’s dedicated to oneself must remain committed to that mission. Desperation makes for regrettable swipes.
Instead, a hearty breakfast can fill any void that appears in morning’s melancholy. The British gained fame in breakfast for good reason—very few things depress the morning like waking up in the British Isles. Eggs (fried), excess bacon (turkey), a generous sausage (a small sausage won’t satisfy), mushrooms (fried with the egg) and flapjacks (for the carbohydrates). Add one or four cups of coffee and breakfast is perfect.
Some might recommend that you visit Portland’s beautiful parks—any of the 200. A hop on the blue or red MAX line leads to Washington Park, a car can lead to Powell Butte, a bus might lead to Mount Tabor, even wandering on foot will expose parks that lay hidden in neighborhoods.
Instead, if you’re like me—impassive to the idea of distancing so far to smell forest mold—trek to your neighborhood café and enjoy a sit-down (distanced, of course) at the park you already know is there.
There may be an overabundance of people out in public, so be mindful of them, but notice that not everyone will be on a date. You may be entertained to observe a couple on a date; ideally, they’ll be socially distanced, for the sake of public health. Remember, the couples that most enjoy Valentine’s are the couples most deprived of romance on other days.
By this point, you might cook lunch. Though you may also be a more fervent butcher than cook, and thus prefer buying food. The plethora of affordable cuisine in Portland makes this an exceptionally enjoyable activity. Personally, few culinary traditions embody self-love like Indian cuisine, with its decadent use of spices and particularly aromatic dishes; Swagat Indian Cuisine, on NW Lovejoy in the Alphabet District, does the tradition justice.
The early evening is universally wonderful, because the average person will be wrapping up. Computers are getting turned off, dinner is on the mind and the day feels to be ending.
We university students are not the average person. As others wind down, it is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the coming week—or catch up with the weekend work that was put off. It might involve some frustrations, cursing at your professor for loading up your plate so high and eventually feeling gratified with whatever is accomplished.
If there aren’t tasks to be done, then it’s a perfect opportunity to read. An hour with a delightful book will give you plenty to think about that you didn’t make up yourself—a good move on any day.
I’m not sure there’s a better way to use the evening than for dinner and streaming.
Dinner might be the only time everyone ventures to cook, if only because awaiting a delivery is especially unbearable after sunset.
I tend towards a basic stir-fry recipe—using the word “recipe” lightly. Generally, I’ll chop any vegetable I have available—onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and garlic are always stocked in my fridge—combine it with my protein and sauces in a pan and cook it with rice noodles. In a half-hour, you can concoct a feast for one. Pair it with your favorite wine or alcohol—because stir-fry is especially palletable—and you’ve got yourself an ideal dinner.
Drinks aside, nothing pairs with a satisfying meal like entertainment. Luckily, Netflix now gives us access to one of the most entertaining writers and speakers of the last generation—Fran Lebowitz—in the Scorsese directed series, Pretend It’s a City.
Everyone has their unique nighttime routine; I like to shower, followed by thoroughly cleansing my face to release the day’s tension. Pair your melatonin with soothing music—John Coltrane never fails—and you’re guaranteed a restful night’s sleep.
Though you might find yourself a bit too excited to fall asleep, considering tomorrow you’ll get to reap the real benefit of Valentine’s Day: heavily discounted, heart-shaped candies!