Alyssa Thorne
February 14, 2017 8:00 am

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and with it comes the pressure to find somebody to spend it with. Personally, I’ve never really considered that. I’ve been single my whole life (with the exception of some high school and middle school “boyfriends” but let’s not count that because DUH), and mostly it’s by choice. I’ve spent a lot of my post-high school life moving between cities, and working hard toward my goals, and so it’s never been a high priority to me. There’s also the fact that finding a living, breathing, heterosexual or bisexual man in Los Angeles who actually has a job and doesn’t have inappropriately intense feelings about craft beer is a statistical impossibility.

I’m referring to dating apps, in case that wasn’t clear. The other problem with dating in LA is that there are SO MANY MEN who say they attended the “School of Hard Knocks” and put really egregious head shots in as their bio pic. Like, I’m a simple East Coast girl, looking to date a human being, not a stereotype — and at least if you’re going to make bad jokes, be self-aware about it, okay? But I looked past the sea of truly depressing profiles and finally found a guy who made me think, “Well, I don’t want to light him on fire.”

We chatted for a while — mostly small talk, he had good grammar — and as Valentine’s Day was the following week, made plans to grab a bite and catch a movie. I genuinely don’t remember what the movie was, I just remember him scooting closer and closer to me the whole time and feeling like I was on a middle school date again. Over the course of dinner, he talked extensively about both his mother and his therapist. I’m all for open communication, but this was a bit on the nose. He also took me to a restaurant his “friend” was working at, but his friend was visibly annoyed to see him and looked at me with pity, so, uh.

Regardless of the guy, I quickly realized two things about myself in going on the V-day date.

One: Even if you’re a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man, it’s really, really hard not to be seduced by the day dream of a romantic Valentine’s Day date.

I realized this very quickly, because I am one of those pretentious people who says “ugh, Valentine’s Day is such a capitalist ploy” in order to excuse a conspicuous lack of Valentine’s Day plans, and until I had a ~date~ for Valentine’s Day, I genuinely thought I felt like this. Then I realized that I was actually fairly bitter about never having a date for Valentine’s Day. And to be fair, as mentioned, I rarely date and it’s often by choice, so in theory I could have a date…so I guess I’m a little jealous of people who are EXCITED about their Valentine’s Day plans instead of dealing with a weird mix of obligation and oh-god-what-if- he’s-the-Craigslist-killer-dread.

Two: going on a date on Valentine’s Day just to go on a date if you’re not especially into your date is actually more depressing than staying home, ordering pizza, and watching the feminist masterpiece that is Magic Mike XXL.

The guy I met on Tinder was A Nice Guy. He was totally fine. He liked the same TV shows that I liked, and more importantly didn’t love any TV shows that I hate. He smelled pretty good. He wasn’t wearing cargo shorts. Those are my base level requirements…but I was nervous to meet him, because we’d never met, and once we did meet I knew pretty instantly that although I could potentially see him as a pal, this wasn’t going to be my own personal rom-com. And then the date, while totally acceptable, became an annoying competition in my mind with cute couples in the restaurant who were with somebody they cared about a great deal.

Basically, I learned that while there’s something appealing about ~romance~ on Valentine’s Day, if you’re not going on a date with somebody who gives you butterflies or whatever, you’re probably better off with Magic Mike.

I’ve had MUCH better and more fulfilling Valentines with my friends pigging out and discussing spending our twilight years surrounded by animals as opposed to men. And I’m totally serious about Magic Mike XXL being a feminist masterpiece, so there’s that.

There are a lot of expectations and visions of Bachelor-style romance that come along with Valentine’s Day, but honestly, it’s just like any other day. And like any other day, you should only spend it doing things that contribute positively to your life. As most of us have sadly learned…online dates are generally not under that umbrella.