What’s This? What’s This?

About a year ago, I needed help making friends.  I was a recent grad student graduate, with an anti-social job in a foreign country where all of my fellow international friends had moved back home.  I was cold and alone.  Wasting away with nobody to talk to but a filing cabinet.

But now I am back in the United States, closer to my old college friends, have a (temporary) full-time job, and *gasp* work friends!  Which has all lead to *another gasp* having a social life!  As of now, I am living in a suburb of Chicago that is 15 minutes away from my work, and 20 minutes away from Chicago.

It is pretty awesome.  I have weeks where I am in the city every day for trivia nights and dinner dates.  Sometimes I even have to tell one person that I cannot hang out because I have already made plans.  If this is what life was supposed to be like in high school, then I get it.  Being popular is awesome.  I get why young teens do whatever means necessary to become part of the elite.

This whole experience has also opened me up to dressing better, caring about my appearance, and just embracing my femininity.  I am wearing jeans and tee shirts far less than I ever have in the past 5 years, wearing boots and flats instead of Vans and Converse, and utilizing blow dryers and curling wands.

Not saying that if you do not like these things, then you are not a woman.  They’re just parts of my life I never thought I would embrace.  Unfortunately, first impressions are still very important when meeting new people.  So I am simply putting my best foot forward and using fashion to express certain aspects of my personality.  Whether it is through wearing a skull spotted blouse or maroon colored tights.

**Old Me vs. New Me**

I have group texts that don’t annoy me when they go off.  I have regularly scheduled plans.  I am having fun and enjoying life.  This is probably the first time in a very long time where I am genuinely happy with all aspects of my life.  Work is good, friends are good, family is good, my self-esteem and confidence are at an all-time high.  Everything is good.

I am good.

FALL AWESOMENESS PART DEUX

You should know this by now.  I love Fall.  I am majorly, totally butt crazy in love with Fall.  And I know that I went into some detail about what it is that just makes this season the best in the entirety of humanity.  And to keep the love going, I have decided to compile an even better list of why Fall is just so goddamn amazing.

Television —  With the changing of leaves comes the return of great television shows.  What television shows, you ask?  Well let me tell you:
The Mindy Project: DANNY CASTELLANO DANCING HIS FEELINGS. NEED I SAY MORE?!

But I will anyway.  The Mindy Project is of course the refreshingly beautiful and hilarious take of the career-driven woman living in the city, and still looking for love.  Mindy Kaling is brilliant.  She is the perfect combination of a woman who knows her shit as well as every celebrity’s.  She makes being pop-culturally sound, intelligent, witty, and feminine work.  You can be smart with a career path and still care about The Royal Baby 2: Little George is Not Impressed.  And let’s be honest, the writing is fresh, the characters are hilarious, and Danny Castellano is the best thing to happen to mankind shut up yes he is you cannot tell me differently.

Sleepy Hollow: Ichabod Crane.  In the present.  Hold the white-washed cast. THIS IS TELEVISION AT ITS FINEST.


Once Upon a Time:  Let’s be honest here.  Captain mother-effin’-Hook.  I feel like I am completely discrediting myself as a writer and observer when half of the things I have said is about how amazingly hot characters are.  But that sexy little tart isn’t the only good thing to come out of Once Upon a Time.  There is such a strong female cast in OUAT that it gives so many girls — or women — so many different idols.  Snow’s strength, Regina’s passion, Emma’s courage, Belle’s quick wit… I can go on.

Bob’s Burgers:  I can not ever give this show the justice it deserves.  I freakin’ love Bob’s Burgers.  With so many cartoon shows relying on crude humor, bad language, and offensive jokes, it is so refreshing to watch an animated show that relies on impeccable writing, terrible burger puns, and Gene’s megaphone of farts.  And Bob’s Burgers is the home of the best character on television chosen by we the people, Tina Belcher.  Tina Belcher, giving teenage awkward girls a voice and ringing true to the feminist name.

American Horror Story:  Season one of AHS  will always reign supreme and flawless while last season was a disaster.  There were so many opportunities for American Horror Story: Coven to be everything.  Women who can use witchcraft and better their lives.  Yes! feminists cheered.  But what happened?  It turned into an unnecessary race war, with woman vs woman catfights, and a competition over who the better woman was with scenes of Gabourey Sidibe having sex with a minotaur sprinkled in.  It was a shit show disaster area.  So season 4, Circus can either be really goddamn amazing, or just another wasted opportunity.

Wearing My Glasses —  I have come to notice that when summer hits, eyeglasses wearers hit a bit of a snag.  When going to the beach, you can’t wear your contacts and go into the ocean without fear of your contacts falling out by a wave, beachball to the head, what have you.  But at the same time, you can’t wear them in the water because you will lose them.  And then the ocean will swallow them up in the deep unknown.  There are probably some hipster angler fish rocking thick-rimmed specks thanks to Poseidon’s torturous ways.

It’s a double edge sword that glasses wearers have, so we usually go for the easier loss: contact lenses.  During summer, my glasses almost have to be abandoned. You can’t wear sunglasses with glasses on. Well you can, but you’ll look like a doofus. And transition lenses should be burnt at the stake as being a terrible idea because they always get stuck on that half-way transition level where your lenses are kinda tinted, but not completely. Creepfest.

But in Fall, it’s glasses’ time to shine.  They prosper in the Fall.  I don’t have to soak up sun and worry about blindness in the Fall.  Wearing my thick-rimmed glasses like a champ and loving every minute of it.

Not Having to Shave My Legs —  Men, get over it.  When women say how much they loooooove Fall and pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boot-legging-sweater weather and apple picking, they are really thanking their lucky stars that their razors can go through hibernation until April.  because shaving in the summer sucks.

When a woman takes a shower and has to shave, you would not believe what kind of pretzel-like contortionist we transform into.  All done without falling on our asses or cutting the crap out of our knees, ankles, etc.  But with Fall, we have options.  We have tights.  We have leggings (yes, the true reason why we love them).  We have jeans.  And, we can go the lazy way and only shave our shins.



You tell ’em Linda.  You tell ’em.

Fall 2014 arrives September 22.  Prepare yourselves.  Live it.  Love it.

AND DON’T FORGET: FALL MEANS MEN IN FLANNEL


Confessions of the Dog Walker

In case anyone didn’t know, I kind of live in the town Footloose was based off of.  So when I get the chance to run into the night towards the big city, I take it.

For the past two weeks I have been living in the city at a family friend’s house watching her dog and cat.  They are delightful pets and I truly appreciate the opportunity it is to be (somewhat) independent in the city.  Dog walking is kind of like babysitting.  Except there is less crying, more picking up shit, and an odd feeling of “Oh, my god, I am the only one keeping you alive!”

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This little nugget is Roki, the Shiba Inu.  He doesn’t jump around, he doesn’t lick your face, he doesn’t beg for food.  What does he do all day, you ask?  He lounges.  This dog is a Canine of Leisure.  He is basically a cat.  He has his own lounging chair with a window view of the courtyard.  Not that anyone else would want to sit on it — it’s covered in dog hair.  He is the Queen of Shiba Inu (see what I did there?).

Queen of Shiba

He doesn’t need you to pet him, he tells you when you can.  As if he is doing me a favor.  Oh thank you, Queen Roki!  I am humbled by your acceptance.  Please take this dog treat as a sign of my gratitude.  But honestly, that’s what I love about him.  My dog at home is so needy.  She stares at you intently, waiting for you to pet her.  You can see her trying to will you into a scratch behind the ears.  She sneaks in a lick to your face when you put her leash on.  She will crawl onto the couch, nuzzling against you until you tell her to get down.

But this guy, he’s like, “Eh, rather not.  More treats, slave girl!”

We have a routine.  Every morning I wake up at 6am, hit the snooze button til 6:30, and get up for our morning walks.  People are lucky if I am fully clothed for our morning walks.  I usually wear whatever shirt I slept in, a pair of shorts, and Vans with the heels folded over.  I don’t like our morning walks.  But funnily enough, even Roki doesn’t like our morning walks either.  He feels just as passionately about them as I do.  We do it because when we look at each other right before we open the front door, we telepathically say to one another, “It’s either this, or cleaning up dog shit first thing when getting back from work.”

We do the bare minimum for the morning walks.  We walk to the park right next door, do what needs to be done, and run home as fast as our combined six legs can manage.  He doesn’t like them so much that sometimes he tries to make me turn around and go home.  He blocks my path, which makes me almost trip over him every time.

He doesn't want to go on his walk today. #Shiba #Dogwalker #SummertimeSadness

A post shared by Allex (@allexhorrendous) on

But then he gets to mock me while I get ready to leave for work in the morning.  I get out of the shower to this little bastard:

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I get it, Roki.  You get to lounge all day while I put food in the dog bowl.  But you don’t have to rub it in!  Wait until I leave at least.  

But it’s the evening walks where we truly shine. There is no time limit for the evening walks.  There is no rush.  So I let him lead.  This dog is amazing.  For the evening walks, he is completely in charge.  I let him go wherever he wants.  If he wants to go all the way up Kimball and then cut through a sleepy neighborhood street to poke around, I let him.  I let him because no matter what, he knows how to get home. 

He knows how to get home.  

I don’t need to pull out my phone, wondering where we are.  Because it doesn’t matter.  When he is ready, he will go home.  It’s like Doggie SatNav.  It’s awesome.  The only thing I have against the evening walks is that I get a lot more attention than the morning walks.  People stop me to ask if Roki is a fox.  It’s an alarmingly ongoing occurrence.  Yes, person I do not know, I have successfully captured a city fox, trained it, and can now gallivant about town with it.

But I can say that what’s worse than the dumb fox question, is the larger amount of cat calling that happens from our dog walks.  I have had people shout at me from cars, and ring the bells of their bicycles at us.  But Allex, you’re thinking, maybe they’re just excited about how cute Roki is.  I wish this was true, dear reader.  But one does not shout, “Hey pretty lady!” while admiring a dog.  I even got a few kissy kisses thrown at me.  This is part of the reason that I wear headphones while walking Roki, which blocks out the harassment, but also puts me in a dangerous situation from getting attacked.  Granted, it’s usually 6pm and still daylight when we go on our walks, but still.  It can happen.  I can either get harassed on the streets, or subject myself to danger.

Leave me alone, people.  I am walking my dog.  I am tired from working, and the last thing I want to deal with is what you have to say about me.  Just let me dog walk in peace.

But there are a lot of good things that come from our walks.  I know the local dogs — and sometimes even their cute owners.  The cute black collie that comes with its tall, dark, and handsome pseudo tortured artist owner.  The pug and beagle with their business-casually clad, thick rimmed glasses wearing Looper.  Hoping for my very own 101 Dalmations meet cute.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?  Either way, it’s fun making these connections when I really don’t know these people at all, but always smile and say hello to.  That’s camaraderie.  I like dog walking.  I like dog sitting.  I like it all.  Except the picking up of dog shit.  That’s not ever fun.

 

I guess I already angered someone on the interwebs.

This is an Open Letter, because some people like to parade their ignorance, small-mindedness, and egomaniac attitudes for the world to see.

Someone on Tumblr reblogged my James Joyce letter and then added this comment with it.  Looking at their site, I found out that they are really into James Joyce.  First thing’s first: I did not mean to upset anyone.  The thing about literature is that everyone can interpret it differently.  And because I do not share the same opinions about the first 62 pages of a certain book, I am small-minded and ignorant.

I guess before anyone else reads anything else I write, I should state that this blog is a work of satire.  Do I really want to throw this book out the window?  No.  At this moment, I say I do, but I would never actually do that to a book, whether I like it or not.  And, I am going to finish it.  Just not any time soon.

I kind of feel special for writing something that angered someone enough to be harsh about my literary opinions, but at the same time I am sad for them.  Because they are making a snap judgement on me as a person because of a 700 word comedic blog post.

 

 

Well, There Goes My Body Image

Everything, now.  Recently I have been watching Ryan Murphy’s Nip/Tuck while simultaneously reading Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series.  Although one is a contemporary television show and the other is a dystopic sci-fi trilogy (turned tetrology), they both have an underlying theme: body image and plastic surgery.  I may also be about 10 years behind on both of these, but they still hit hard.

In case anyone else has been living under a rock,  Nip/Tuck is about two plastic surgeons who live in Miami, Florida.  And like any good series, both surgeons are in the business for two different reasons.  Christian Troy is the sexy one, who sleeps with insecure thirty- (or forty- or whatever- really) somethings to bring in business while Sean McNamara is the do-gooder family man who only wants to help people be the best they know they can.

Now I never watched this show when it was on because of what it was about.  Two male plastic surgeons red-penning mostly women’s skin, pointing out each and every one of their imperfections.  Even worse, they have scenes dedicated to the surgeries.  I don’t do well with fake blood, and Ryan Murphy does not embellish or leave anything out.  Unfortunately for me, the first time I watched, I was eating some cheese pizza.  So while I am enjoying my meal, scenes of cutting up people’s faces, breaking nose bones with hammers, and sucking fat from stomaches blotched my computer screen causing me to immediately lose my appetite.  Well, not lose my appetite, but did make my pizza a bit less desirable.

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Half of the surgeries they do are for young, already beautiful women who don’t need any work done.  As for most of the men who want surgery, it’s nine times out of ten so they can get laid (e.g. third nipple removal, moob removal, circumcision, penis enlargement…).  Although they do do some pro bono work, most of their cases are for unrealistic wants, showing how crazy some people can be in going under the knife.  One episode, they did a breast reduction for a woman who had Dissociative Identity Disorder (or split personality disorder) and one of her personalities was an eight-year-old girl who was the gatekeeper 2014-04-08 08_23_44 pmto the 20+ other identities she had and wanted them reduced so she wouldn’t be picked on. And if she didn’t get it done, she would unleash the floodgates of crazytown upon Miami.

I know that these are supposed to be unrealistic to keep the show interesting, but come on.  And when a serial rapist starts cutting up models and beautiful people, the wonderful doctors at McNamara/Troy decide to fix the beautiful people’s faces pro bono! But when a severely depressed and overweight woman asks to get The Swan treatment done before her high school reunion, they tell her she’s too unstable and refuse her the surgeries.  Although it did end with her killing herself, I feel like giving her some kind of surgery — even if it was something small — could have helped her with her dilapidating  self image.

And seeing all of these people cut themselves up for a straighter nose, bigger boobs, or facelift really gets me thinking.  But more importantly, watching what is actually done to a person when they get a facelift or liposuction really makes me never want to do any of those things ever.  And the fact that they start almost every episode with them asking their client what they don’t like about themselves really can be damaging to one’s self-esteem.

Moving on to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy, we meet fifteen-year-old Tally.  Tally is ugly in her society’s eyes.  But like all boys and girls before her, she can’t wait until she turns sixteen.  Because that is when she gets to be pretty.  In Westerfeld’s series, when you are born, you are a Littlie until you are twelve.  Once you’re twelve, you are taken away from your parents and move into Uglyville with all the other Uglies.  But when you turn sixteen, you are allowed plastic surgery to turn you pretty.  And then you get to move into New Pretty Town — which is basically a giant party at Pleasuretown.  But when Tally meets Shay, a girl who doesn’t want to turn pretty, her world changes.  And when Shay runs away and Tally is threatened with never turning pretty if she doesn’t help find her, what is she to do?  Betray her new friend or risk never being what she has waited her entire life for?

I think Scott Westerfeld suffers from writing brilliant works too soon for their time.  Uglies, as well as his series Peeps, just misses other literary trends.  He missed the dystopic boat by about three years with The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies; Peeps, a novel about humans contracting a virus that turns them into cannibals — like vampires — although published the same year as the Twilight phenomenon was glossed over.  But Uglies has real-life issues buried underneath the sci-fi world that still rings true.  Our society now has their ideas on what is beautiful.  Just open any magazine or watch any television program.  These ideals are subliminally flashed upon us like a scene from A Clockwork Orange almost daily.  The fact that it makes news when companies such as Dove and Aerie have ad campaigns using real women without photoshop says something about what our society pressures are.  And Uglies has a fifteen-year-old protagonist who at first wants nothing more than to get plastic surgery.  Girls shouldn’t have these body-conscious insecurities at such a young age.  And since I believe young readers usually read novels that have older protagonists, twelve-year-olds were subjected to these ideals.

But where Westerfeld diverts from social norms is when Tally learns about what being pretty really does to you.  Being pretty doesn’t only change the way you look outside, but your personality as well.  The surgery makes you easily manipulated and controllable.  You become vapid, lazy, and entitled.  Which in a way, isn’t it kind of like that now?  Hasn’t Dr. Drew Baird and The Bubble from 30 Rock taught us anything?  How many pretty faces have to call a tennis racquet a fart and a woman who correctly plays tennis a bitch until society stops being lenient on pretty faces?  Even now with the most recent “hot” James Franco hitting on a seventeen-year-old girl incident.  How nonchalantly society forgave him because he’s attractive.  When coincidentally, just a year ago my old high school teacher was arrested — and sentenced 10 years — for having sexual relations with a student who was at the time a minor.

As usual, I digress, but in the Uglies series, once Tally discovers what becoming beautiful means, she does everything in her power to stop it.  Although I am only halfway through the series now, it was tough for me to read the first book.  Tally does make a complete 180 in her ideas on body image and self-worth, but in the beginning it was heartbreaking to read.  Listening to how Tally’s society functioned — giving Uglies nicknames pointing out their imperfections such as Nose, Skinny, or Squints — was too much.  The idea of a good time for Tally as an Ugly was taking selfies and scanning them into her computer so she could play with her face, and see what kind of changes she could get with her surgery.  I just felt that it was so close to accurate for today.

While watching Nip/Tuck and reading Uglies, I couldn’t help but think about myself.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I am no supermodel.  To quote Mindy Lahiri, the second half of my Liz Lemon/Mindy Lahiri spirit animal, I fluctuate between chubby and curvy.  And growing up in this fluctuation was difficult.  Constantly being reminded of my size by media, peers, and even family didn’t help my self-esteem.  For years I coped with food, which only made it worse. Now I accept my love for food, and try to use portion control instead of comfort eating.

Besides, I like who I am.  Sure, I could lose a couple pounds, but that’s doable.  With controlled diet and exercise — as well as a complete brain switch for that matter — I can do it.  I have done it.  But my big butt and bump in my nose makes me who I am.  My spoon thumb and stubby legs are not ideal, but they’re mine.  Because I love myself, I love my imperfections. And what makes them imperfections anyway?  They all come together and combined with who I am on the inside, make me who I am.  So by my standards, there is never anything wrong with that.

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day: The Rise and Fall of Alcoholism

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be Irish.  I think it had something to do with me going to a catholic school in Connecticut and being one of maybe three tan kids in a K-8 school (we didn’t even have a black kid until I was in 6th grade).  But being Irish seemed to be pretty awesome.  They had a holiday just for them, a college used them as a mascot,  Claddagh rings were worn as if they were symbols of an elite secret society, and they just had the prettiest hair in the world.  My mother — although not Irish, but Northern Italian — as well as most of her six brothers and sisters had beautiful red hair.  I, on the other hand, had boring brown hair, and would have killed for that marvelously beautiful recessive gene.

But alas, red hair, or a drop of Irish blood I do not have.  I have slowly come to terms with the fact that the only way I can be welcomed into the Irish clan is to marry into it.  And I do go to Ireland next week so… it could happen!

I digress. St. Patrick’s Day was the day that even I got to be Irish.  If only for a day.  I loved this holiday.  I would deck myself out in green, and wear shamrock stickers on my cheeks and “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” buttons on my sweater.  Yeah, it was a big deal for me.  And then I went to college.

I am a graduate of the University of Illinois.  And anyone within a state’s radius knows of the mystical holiday held each year at the University of Illinois as Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.

*ahem* Excuse me while I clear my throat as I prepare to give you the history of this magical holiday.  The year was 1996.  Scott Cochran, our hero and top bar owner of Champaign-Urbana, brought the Brotherhood of Bar Owners together for an important meeting.

“Brethren,” he began.  “We are missing out on a great holiday revenue opportunity here.”  His fellow brothers scratched their heads in confusion, wondering what he could possibly mean.  “Every year the University of Illinois has their Spring Break during any college student’s highest anticipated holiday for binge drinking –”

“You mean their first and twentieth birth year?” Meyer interrupted Cochran’s soliloquy.  Everyone groaned at Eric Meyer, and one brother asked under his breath to another why he was even invited in the first place.

“No, Meyer, St. Patrick’s Day.  Jesus, dude.  This is why you are the owner of KAM’S.  If you would just listen.”  After so rudely being interrupted, Cochran scanned the crowd of his brothers, and using his great speech-giving skills, he executed a perfectly timed, long, dramatic pause. “What if we advertised for a new holiday celebrated a week before St. Patrick’s Day?  And we could call it the Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day?”

“By george!” His brothers cried.  “The man’s a genius!”  They patted Cochran’s back and thanked him for all of the money they were going to make.

And as the years went by, it became a campus-wide — and then state-wide — holiday.  Unofficial was never going away.  As a freshman, I remember my mother calling me on the phone asking if I had heard of this holiday.  The University hated this unofficial holiday so much that they sent letters to every students’ parents telling them about what was going to happen.  They tried to How the Grinch Stole Christmas! the holiday, changing Spring Break to after St. Patrick’s Day, but it didn’t work.  The Whos of Alcoholism still came together for that week before St. Patrick’s Day, fahoo fores dahoo doresing around the beer keg.  Nothing could stop them from potentially dying from alcohol poisoning or getting a $300 drinking ticket.

And at first, Unofficial was awesome.  The brainstorming of your cleverest — or most pop-culturally themed — Unofficial Green Drinking Shirt, the mapping out of your day, the understanding of pacing yourself.  But the shimmer of Unofficial did slowly begin to tarnish.  If you weren’t 21, there was no point in leaving the house party you were at since cops were literally flooding the streets.  By 5pm, the campus was infested with students from other campuses, wreaking havoc on our campus and not giving a shit what they did.  And when you were 21, the bars were so crowded and overpriced it wasn’t even worth it.  If you were alumni, you had only a short amount of time until you came off as creepy instead of nostalgic.

St. Patrick’s day is a double-edge sword now.  You can either be drunk and have an amazing time, or be sober and want to kill everyone around you for being the dumbest people on the planet.  Now, I don’t really feel anything for St. Patrick’s Day.  The celebration of St. Patrick’s banishment of snakes from Ireland got lost somewhere between the ten-foot long beer bong, and painful hangover you have by 7:15.

Maybe it’s because I am so far away from my friends, or because I really am just not at all a bit Irish, but St. Patrick’s Day has become just another day of the year for me.

Like Pi Day or May the Fourth.  Seriously, nerds.  Stop it.

Single Lady’s Valentine’s Day

Next week is Valentine’s Day and you know what, I am completely okay with that.  When I was a young, naive 16-18 year old, I hated this holiday.  Cue the Liz Lemon rant about Valentine’s Day being a Hallmark holiday made to make women feel miserable when not with someone and put high expectations on men to be more romantic than Tom Hanks in a 90s rom-com.  Blah, blah, blah.  Rant, rant, rant.  Yeah, that’s how I was.  I was horrid to be around.

And here’s a fun fact: we have Esther A. Howland in the 1840s to thank for the commericalization of Valentine’s Day in the United States.  She received a Valentine’s Day card from a friend in England, liked it so much, and began printing off her own versions using her father’s printing press.

Yeah, sometimes Valentine’s Day can be the worst.  Walking around and seeing everyone being all lovey-dovey with more PDA on the streets than in a high school sexually-active band geek weekend retreat.  I don’t like seeing that crap any day, so Valentine’s Day really isn’t any exception to the rule.  I don’t like having to prove your love for someone else through gifts, expensive dinners, and maybe trying that one thing your significant other wants to try in the boudoir.

St. Valentine was a Roman who secretly married soldiers because the emperor banned marriage, arguing that it weakened the soldiers’ want to join his army.  But according to Christian myth when he was captured, Valentine’s jail-keeper’s blind daughter visited him often asking about God’s teachings.  In the end, Valentine taught her God’s word, gave her faith, and then God rewarded her with the gift of sight.  And on the day of his execution, Valentine wrote her a note telling her to keep God’s teachings close to her and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

I just gave a very generic and not at all exact history on Valentine’s Day, but it’s still something to consider.  It’s a religious holiday. So in theory, Valentine’s Day is not just for significant others to stick their tongues down each other’s throats.  It’s a day to tell friends and family that you love them, too.  And now that I am a mature, well-rounded 24-year-old, I can say that Valentine’s Day has its perks.  Whether you’re single or otherwise. 

1. Chocolate — I feel like I don’t really have to go into much more detail about this.  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I love candy.  Any kind of candy.  Except Mike & Ike’s; that candy sucks.  If anyone gives you a box of them, immediately open it and begin throwing the hard-shelled black liquorice death bullets at their face.  Because if someone gives you Mike & Ike’s, let’s be honest, they obviously don’t care about you enough anyway.  But Valentine’s Day is the second holiday that puts an importance on chocolate. And that I can get behind.
BONUS ROUND:  February 15 is when all the leftover chocolate is on sale.  It’s like a Valentine from yourself!

2. Romantic Comedies — Valentine’s Day is the only day when it is perfectly acceptable for you to snuggle up and spend a date with Netflix, a bottle of white wine, and every romantic comedy you can possibly stream.  You know ABC Family or USA are playing rom-com marathons, giving you the opportunity to have your 13 Going On 30 Mark Ruffalo fix without ever feeling guilty.  A personal Valentine’s Day favorite of mine is The Proposal.  I am sorry, but Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are perfect together and should sign an obligatory contract to co-star in at least one rom-com together a year.  Or be married in real life (piss off, Blake Lively). 

3. Valentine’s Day Cards — The best thing about this is that you don’t have to be dating someone to give them one.  It’s just an open appreciation of someone being in your life.  Every year, my mom mails me one and I love it.  It’s either really sappy or has a cat on it, further reinforcing my slippery slide into cat-ladydom.  But I don’t care.  Last year, I gave these gems of Valentine’s Day cards  and people LOVED them.  Because, duh, I know how to rock a holiday when I care enough about someone.  Anyway, getting and receiving a card is just such an awesome feeling that it doesn’t matter who it really is from.  Unless you get one of those fake Valentines’ Day cards from your dentist or eye doctor reminding you that you’re due for a check-up.  That’s how those bastards get you.

And although when you were younger and forced to give out Valentines to everyone in your class, when you’re older, you can choose who to give one to.  It’s so amazing!  It’s like blacklisting someone.  Like you’re a celebrity or something, with enough power to nix someone from your life.  REVENGE VALENTINES!

4. Wine — If all else fails, you always have this to fall back on.

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Whether your ex gets engaged, or posts pictures of their romantic night on the town, or moves in with their new significant other, wine’s your best friend.  Wine will never cheat on you.  But it can make you think it’s a good idea to call your ex and leave a very sloppy desperate voicemail.  So yeah, wine responsibly.  Or maybe make sure you “lose your phone” that night.