ICYMI, Valentine’s Day was last week. And we all know that while there are lots of reasons to love Valentine’s Day when you’re single, it’s a day mostly meant for lovers to go on a romantic date and indulge. But this was the first year I’ve spent Valentine’s Day solo since I met my (now ex) husband over 10 years ago, and I was feeling major Bridget Jones vibes leading up to the 14th. I was thisclose to surrendering to the stereotype of pizza boxes and ice cream cartons while watching Lifetime movies and bemoaning my lack of a man before deciding on a whim to take myself to the Philadelphia symphony at the Kimmel Center for a single lady Valentine’s Day date. I don’t even like ice cream.
Let me preface this by saying I don’t hate being single, nor do I hate (or particularly love) Valentine’s Day. Parks and Recreation’s Ann Perkins summed up my feelings best when she said, “You know, I’m mostly fine being single, but this time of year with all the hearts and the roses, it just gets me a little down.” (P.S. I have a Parks and Rec reference for literally any story someone tells me. I know… how am I single?)
In the past year or so of being single, I’ve learned to do lots of things alone that I previously only did with someone else: I take myself to the movies, grab dinner at a nice restaurant, and sidle up to a cozy bar with a good book. But never have I taken myself on a fancy date to a symphony on a day specifically reserved for two.
The prospect became increasingly daunting day-of, and so to counteract the doubt, I pulled on my J.Crew collection lilac sequin-flower sweatpants (they’re as amazing as they sound), my Forever 21 metallic lilac moto jacket (it’s as badass as it sounds), and my cotton-candy colored pink faux fur scarf (it’s as luxe as it sounds). Basically, I piled on all my favorite things (that just happened to be V-Day colored) and walked the 15 minutes to the symphony full of determination not to feel like a total dud.
I arrived early enough to enjoy a glass of bubbly, which I did, sitting in the indoor courtyard, watching all the couples mill about, holding hands and full from their pre-symphony prix fixe. I made a point not to look at my phone while I enjoyed my over-priced Prosecco and focused instead on being a part of the experience, drinking in the drama of fur coats and red roses — not to mention the drop-dead gorgeous building.
Once it was time to take our seats, I climbed the three staircases (single lady date, single lady budget) to the nose bleeds. The usher smiled when she saw me come through the curtain and said, “I sure like the look of you, honey!” I beamed. Then she said, “So, you’re in seat 305; are you with 306 or 307?” My beam dimmed. “Oh, nope, just me,” I said in what I hoped was a casual, devil-may-care kind of way. She didn’t seem phased and led me to my plush velvet seat directly overlooking the stage.
I can only describe the actual performance as pure magic. It was mostly Gershwin — upbeat, romantic, and whimsical. The conductor was charming, funny, and warm. It was an hour and a half of total harp-induced happiness and served to make clear my previously foggy notion that you don’t have to have a plus one to experience a pure delight. I’m so glad I didn’t let my self-consciousness win — no one gave me a second look (and if they did, it was probably the purple pants). It’s emboldened me to start heading out to more events on my own, whether it’s an art opening or a wine class. Basically, I do what I want! Plus, with the lights down and the music loud, I didn’t have a chance to dwell on my singledom for even half a beat.
Did you spend Valentine’s Day alone this year? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us what kinds of awesome things you got into!
(Photos via Getty)