09/02/2004 Valentine's Day feature pic. Model: Yolisa Links Dress supplied by: Anthony Coutoure - 083 748 3249 Picture: Neo Ntsoma

QUESTION: Valentine’s Day is around the corner. What would you suggest two young, single girls do so they aren’t home pining over a tub of ice cream? – KW


ANSWER: Valentine’s Day has got to be the worst holiday on earth. And I say that as a woman who hasn’t spent one alone in about six years.

There’s so much pressure for single women not to be alone and for women in relationships to have a fairy-tale night and for men to make an absolutely perfect grand gesture that “proves” their love on one very specific, and very arbitrary, day.

Most of us just end up anxious, then disappointed because real life doesn’t live up to Hollywood fantasy or budgets.

My advice to you is to think of February 14 as just another day, which I know is next to impossible, with the roses and bears and chocolates and all-pink or all-red everything and couples dominating practically every place you look.

I tried to psych myself out one year. I went to the gym after work, which was practically empty, and had the treadmill all to myself, which was great. A few trainers were flirting-and I flirted right back. I figured, if they were on call on that night of all nights, they were probably single. And let’s be real: My ego liked the boost.

I was doing all right until I went to the mall and saw all the women with roses and chocolates, and supplied with someone who I hope was their man and not one borrowed from someone else. And I finally lost it when I was walking the block to my house and some street harasser called out: “You’re too pretty not to have a man.”

I think he meant it as a compliment, but I just felt bad for being alone when everyone else seemed to be paired off. I went home and cried loud enough that my neighbour, also single, came across the hall to check on me.

She told me I was being ridiculous, which logically I knew to be true, but still.

Don’t be me.

And you won’t be. You have your girl, and Valentine’s Day is still far enough off that you can devise a plan to avoid a pitiful fate. Try these tips instead:

1. Spoil Yourself

You don’t have a special someone to spoil you? That’s cool. You can always treat yourself to a day at the spa, a trip to the nail or hair salon or a fancy pair of shoes.

2. Date Your Bestie

One of my favourite scenes from Sex and the City is when the women declare that they may not have found husbands, but at least they found one another. You aand your girlfriend can dote on each other for a day by sending each other flowers, taking each other to dinner or exchanging cards or gifts.

3. Play Hooky

Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, which makes it perfect timing for a three-day weekend. There’s still time to book a last-minute getaway, and you can get great discounts this time of year.

If that’s out of the budget, have a fancy dinner and enjoy the theatre or an art gallery.

4. Snuggle Up With Your Imaginary Boyfriend

Break out that pint of ice cream and pick out a few videos that include your favourite actor – for me, it’s anything with Idris Elba or Michael Ealy. Split a bottle of wine and indulge in your fantasies. Once your girl heads home, take the fantasy up a notch by breaking out your rabbit.

5. Spread Love...

Put some good love karma into the atmosphere by distributing Valentine’s Day cards or small gifts to your friends and family or your colleagues. Putting a smile on someone else’s face often leaves you with one on your own. – The Root / The Washington Post News Service