I am what you might call "actively single".
I generally feel pretty perky about my status, even with 14 February almost upon us. I consider the lack of a partner a necessary cut in these difficult times. I mostly blame the mess I inherited from Labour.
A number of newspapers and magazines, however, have taken to publishing lists of healthy ways for singles to spend the day. They include delightful, therapist-approved suggestions such as, I kid you not, "take yourself out on a date".
Take myself out on a date... That's their suggestion? That on the very day restaurants are filled to the brim with fawning couples, I should be in the midst of them having dinner alone. Which will, presumably, be followed by "having sex with yourself", "cuddling yourself in bed" and "cooking yourself a romantic breakfast". Unless you end up disappointing yourself, of course, and withholding such favours.
I have a counter-proposal for editors who consider this to be the best route to mental health: Why don't you skip the date altogether and just go !% yourselves?
I have compiled my own list of alternative suggestions:
1. Walk into an expensive restaurant and identify a particularly annoying couple. Approach one of the two victims and say "I thought you were at a conference". Meet their protestations with a thoroughly unconvincing "My apologies, I must be mistaken". As you walk out, turn and mouth the words "CALL ME".
2. Turn the day into a commercial opportunity. Call London's top restaurants and make reservations for two with any that still have availability. The reservations can then be sold on eBay to those so deeply enamoured, they couldn't even be bothered to plan properly until 3pm on the day.
3. Go to Samoa, which is 12 hours behind, then hop on a plane to Fiji, which is 12 hours ahead. With carefully planned flights, you can avoid 14 February altogether and get a tan.
4. Dress yourself in an adult nappy and run around the West End, chasing terrified couples with a real bow and real arrows.
5. Sit on the floor next to a coffee table, listening to Madame Butterfly, switching a table lamp on and off, rocking gently back and forth and muttering to yourself "I won't be ignored, Dan".
6. Pitch a tent in your living room and denounce Valentine's as a disgusting display of consumerism. You can live-tweet this with the hashtag #occupyvalentines.
7. Drink so much whiskey on the 13th that you do not wake up until the 15th. You may wish to refer to this as "Ballantine's Day".
8. Make a detailed spreadsheet of all the money you would have spent if you weren't single (new outfit, dinner, gift, flowers, card). Use the money that you have saved on something constructive. Like a donation to Amnesty International. Or cake. I think mainly cake.
9. Imagine that you are in a relationship with someone truly vile (like Mel Philips or Jeremy Clarkson) and you are, in fact, successfully hiding in order to avoid them.
Not only will following some of these suggestions make you feel better - if executed properly, there is an added bonus: you may end up in prison, on a date with a large man called Bubba, whose knuckles are tattooed with "LOVE" and "HAT" because he ran out of ink.
A win-win, really.Suggest a correction