February means it’s time for the onslaught of advertising for that mid-winter commercial holiday people love to hate: Valentine’s Day. While for some it’s a fun day of declaring your love for a sexy other, it can be a day of stress and loathing for people who hate being reminded that they’re single, or who don’t think romantic relationships should be the central goal of existence. At Bruce & Olive, we’re all about being bold and giving light, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Here are a few ideas to keep you from hating the Valentine’s Day rush this year
Yes, the origins of Valentine’s Day are set in coupledom, dating back to the Roman festival of Lupercalia, when that ancient culture celebrated the start of spring and therefore baby-making. But that doesn’t mean we all have to use the holiday as an excuse to express our fecundity. It’s a great opportunity to tell your friends and family how much you care about them. Celebrations like Galentine’s Day have set the stage for this, so it’s easy to take the focus off the noxious “world-of-two” language in the gift cards and bring it back to love as an idea that can be expressed through gifts and thoughtful gestures. You don’t even have to buy or send anything; a simple phone call to a loved one can speak volumes.
Speaking of expressing love, Valentine’s Day is an excellent time to make something instead of buying it. One of the biggest complaints people lodge against the holiday is that it’s more about spending money on chocolate, flowers, and cards than it is about actually expressing anything meaningful. So instead of shelling out cash to giant corporations, grab some water colors and card stock and paint some beautiful imagery to hand out to those friends you love. Or take a minute to learn flower arranging and build your own bouquets. You can even make your own chocolate or pastries to give out to friends or lovers, or simply enjoy on your own.
If you’re not much of an artist, baker, or creator, Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to flex your economic muscles with someone local who is. Instead of shelling out for a boring Hallmark card or that Whitman’s Sampler chocolate box that 3 million other people will be handing over to their significant others, take a minute to find a unique gift in your own neighborhood. It’s also a great time to support ideas that you love by buying from businesses who support them, too. Austin is chock full of small businesses driven by diverse individuals who care about the environment, inclusivity, equal rights, or just high quality goods (ahem, that’s us! Hi!). You can even treat yourself if you don’t feel like sharing. Why not buy yourself a hot new outfit for the upcoming change in weather? We have a few ideas…
One of the worst parts of Valentine’s Day is the rush to reserve a table for two at a swanky restaurant where you can spend way too much on a relatively negative experience. But there are a ton of events that don’t require a reservation and aren’t necessarily focused on couples, too. We love the Frida Friday ATX Gaylentine’s Celebration, Valentine’s Day Muay Thai for Singles at Black Widow MMA, or The Austin Poetry Brothel for creative event ideas that can serve as a place to meet someone new or attend with someone you like. You can, of course, spend the entire weekend at home with Netflix if you’d like, but with the plethora of events available to celebrate or bash the weekend, it’s a great excuse to enjoy a fun activity you might not normally go to.
Whatever your take on Valentine’s Day or romance in general, this year doesn’t have to be crummy. When all else fails, remember: self-love is the greatest love of all.