Valentine's Day is this Friday – you heard? – and we've all got choices to make. The coupled among us have to choose which prix fixe dinner that they'll convince themselves is worth $45 per person to have, and what holes to do sex into. Meanwhile, we single folks once again have to decide which form of temporary psychosis will best carry us through those particularly loveless 24 hours. Here are a few of the most tried-and-true paths through the valley of Valentine's:


Be one with oneness. You are a lone scrub on a mountain crag, the solemn whale beyond whalesong's reach, Aaron in the Holy of Holies, Dr. Strange in his Sanctum Sanctorum. Here there is neither love nor hate, sex nor dry-spell, yes nor no; no boobs nor butts nor balls. There is only you, and your headphones, and maybe some almonds if you get munchy. Go to the zoo - alone! Go to a movie - alone! If you don't give a damn, who cares if anyone else does? You can spend the other 364 days of the year worrying about being alone for eternity; spend today discovering why that wouldn't be so bad.


You played chicken with your loneliness, and you flinched. Your last-minute OKCupid blitz is fizzling fast. Pop quiz: Which of your exes is the most clingy and erratic? Call them! (Seriously, call them; texts are too subtle a game, and it's time for hardball.) Too late for dinner reservations, so the evening's cuisine is drive-thru Checkers and a six of Myx. Grope each other in the back of that sticky triplex where Best Man Holiday is somehow still playing, and then bring the party home (their place, obviously) for a taste of that sweet, sweet sex you thought you craved. Whisper apologies to yourself in the musky dark. Resolve to get tested. You'll devise an escape plan tomorrow.


You will need: three bottles of Barefoot red, two Jude Law movies, one good friend (alternately, a good-enough friend who'll put up with your shit), chicken tikka masala, a healthy ignorance or love of cliché, and a stain-resistant couch. Consume, divulge, wallow, repeat, until you're totally purged, figuratively or otherwise. Ignore that you do this most weekends, regardless. More fun-loving and adventurous friends might prefer Get Whisky/Get Frisky, featuring Wild Turkey and a French tickler, whatever the hell that is.


Pick a couple, any couple, and find out what's on the docket. Reservations at that nice nouveau-American gastropub? You've been meaning to try it forever! An all-day hike to a secluded grove? That's your favorite section of the Appalachian Trail! Candlelit dinner? You'll bring the candles! Do not take the hint. Do not take no for an answer. Today is about them, and you are going to guzzle that love like a remora until you're forcibly dislodged.


You're so totally comfortable with yourself that you need everyone you know to know it. Make yourself something with hollandaise sauce and Instagram it next to a glass of Malbec and a lit cigarette like you're Martha fucking Stewart fucking Living. "Oh, is it #ValentinesDay? ;)" Soak up those eleven likes, baby. Tell anyone who'll listen that you see right through the Hallmark bullshit, that Valentine's Day is a manufactured holiday, not like those real holidays that were around long before man stood upright. You're too busy living life and making Spotify playlists with a lot of unicode symbols in the titles to care about the mass celebration of human love. Fly high, spirit eagle.


Well, aren't you fun and bohemian? It's like you're Paris!


Like a brony at the Belmont Stakes. Like Mrs. Claus on Christmas Eve. Like Vito Acconci 'neath the ramp. Like the homeless man they've stopped trying to evict from his McDonald's bathroom. Like a salmon swimming up a water wheel. Like an executive ball clicker. Like you're playing the world's longest tetherball game. Like it's a Mario Party minigame marathon, for charity. Like you really have anything better to do.


Chill out, you spaz! Go to work, pet a dog, call your mom, cook some rice, watch True Detective, read something fun, have some drinks, slap a cop, go to bed. Why should today be any different than any other? These days, when everyone has to have an opinion about everything, it can be refreshing – nourishing, even – to float blithely on, while everyone around you is losing their shit over little candy hearts. Just don't go on Facebook.

(by Dan Abromowitz)