Today is Valentine's Day! PANIC!!!!

It's happening! Today is Valentine's Day and YOU PROBABLY AREN'T READY!

Don't fret! Here's my handy guide for everyone, regardless of relationship status, to make it through the day unscathed.

Are you....


Guys, if your relationship is new enough that you haven't settled into a Valentine's routine, here's what you do. Run, (don't walk) to the nearest drug store. Purchase whatever candy they have, preferably shaped like a heart or a teddy bear or a teddy bear holding a heart. Girls love those, that's why they make them. Then visit the greeting card aisle and look for the section that looks like a post-apocalyptic siege. Those are the leftover Valentine's Day cards. Find one that is not ripped in half, is written in a cursive script, and maybe has glitter that will fall off and get all over everything. Girls love glitter. Write something confusing on the bottom of it that does not indicate specifically how you feel, like, "I'm so glad to know you." Freak out over how to sign off on the card (Love? Sincerely? Yours? Affectionately? From?) and then just write a dash and your name. Call around until you find a restaurant that still has reservations available, probably Milestone's or another generic chain. There. You have fulfilled the basic requirements for "doing something" for Valentine's Day, without "complicating" things by "communicating" about what she might want to do (because you simply must do everything on your own). Now she can't complain, because you did something, even if it would have been better to just chat with her about what she wanted to do, and you didn't have to do anything extra to get her expectations too high for any future milestones. She might be mildly disappointed, but she won't be able to really say anything since you got her a present and planned something.

Girls, while your man goes to a drug store to buy you a token gift and books a lame restaurant reservation, here's what you need to do: go to a different drug store (so he doesn't see you) and stock up on any make up or other necessary supplies you might require for transforming your disgusting body into something appealing. Razors, tweezers, bleach, hair goops, moisturizer, lip gloss, eyeliner, cover up, mascara, foundation, eye cream, bb cream, blush, a pumice, exfoliating scrub for your butt, bobby pins, cuticle oil, perfume, nail polish, nail polish remover, oh my goodness this list is so long. Do you have enough of all these things? And the many more that I forgot about because I try to pretend they don't exist? Good. Now that you've spent a month's salary transforming yourself into something appealing, spend your day performing that transformation. While you do this, imagine everything your man is planning for you, and get your expectations and hopes reallllly high. Don't you dare call him to talk about what you should do though, it's his job to show you how he feels about you by planning so so many special surprises that you are overwhelmed and maybe a bit frightened by his love.

In case you're wondering, this is what you're looking at for gift options.

For the single ones, you have three options, and hanging out with friends or doing something normal is not one of them. You MUST react to the fact that this day is a relationship-focused holiday and either:

Have a protest night! Get together with only friends of the same sex and indulge in totally stereotypical girly/boy-like behaviour. Go over the top with expressing how awesome each other are and how much you don't need partners.

Get some action! Go somewhere where people go when they want action. Wear something that shows your most action-getting features. Act like you want action. Tell someone you are looking for action and find out if they want the same thing. Get your action. If you live in Vancouver, I hear The Roxy is a great place for that.

Be alone and sad! Wear anything that screams "no action will be had, whatsoever, because my body barely has a shape!" Eat junk food. Watch Netflix. Try not to cry or text everyone else who is happy.

There, those are your options. Like I said, you can't communicate with anyone that you might be in a relationship with, you must set expectations and scramble to fulfill imagined expectations. You can't just hang out with friends and be normal. You can only act totally insane.

This is, of course, entirely heteronormative. When you're not in (or seeking) a relationship that is societally forced into a gender binary, what do you do on a holiday designed around gender roles and expectations?

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