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Valentine's Day for the Bitterly Single

» Introduction
Recently single and dreading the big stupid love day? Fear not - just follow these steps and breathe deeply.
» Step 1
Okay, so you've had a rough go of it the last few months. Your long-time love left you to be with a firefighter-doctor-civil activist half your age and twice your IQ, taking all the pet fish with them, except for that really mean fish that you've always hated. Your rebound fling turned out to be a Robitussin-addicted fugitive who was really into Lord of the Rings-themed sexual role playing (not that there's anything wrong with that). And your mother has stopped trying to set you up with that longtime family friend, claiming that "In your current... state, maybe it's not really for the best right now."

Well suck it all up, sunshine, because Valentine's Day is just around the corner! Truly, there's no way that you're going to make it through this society-encompassing day of unabashed exuberant love and publicly displayed affection without ending up in a cave in the Ozarks to live out your days rambling about Smurfs and the Magna Carta, right? Wrong! Follow these simple guidelines, and you might just make it through Black Pinkday unscathed.
» Step 2
Stay With Your Kind!

It's a well known fact that misery loves company. And along those same lines, misery HATES happily attached people in love. So don't make the mistake of hanging out with your happily attached friends on Valentine's Day! You know that at some point they're going to have to set you aside to connect with their love, regardless of any "bros-before-hos" guidelines you believe that you may have previously agreed upon. Instead, round up a bunch of surly, beaten down drinkin' buddies - you know, the kind of people that can listen to you say "Love is a concession to stupidity" and "Marriage is nothing more than an oppressive social institution" and actually take you seriously. And if you don't have any friends like this, because your ex took "custody" of all of them during your breakup, don't hesitate to hop online and find a like-minded chat room or seven to vent your frustrations within. If there's one thing the internet has in spades, it's heartbroken loners angry about life. You should have little trouble locating them.
» Step 3
Plan Ahead!

The fact that you think Valentine's Day is a manufactured holiday with little sincere meaning which only serves to fuel the ever-oppressive greeting card industry isn't any excuse for forgetting which day it actually falls upon. There's nothing worse than the slowly-dawning realization that you've stopped in for Italian food at "That's Amore!!!" on the most terrifyingly adorable day of the year. So mark it on your calendar, and stay conscious of its impending arrival. Make sure you have a sick day in your back pocket saved for Valentine's Day, and that you're going to be able to avoid all unnecessary activity. Then, plan your day - what are you going to do? Are you planning a rant-fest with your girlfriends about what an ass your ex was, and how he is merely a reflection of all the horrible flaws in the male character? Then don't forget the old photos, dartboards, riot grrl CDs, and witchcraft supplies (if you're into that sort of thing). Is the day going to be a marathon of drinking and watching movies without a single worthwhile female character? Then make sure to stock up on liquor and hit up the video store for the Rambo and Conan flicks. Stock up the day before (or earlier, if possible) with everything that you'll need for Valentine's - food, water, beer, movies, beer, bug poison, beer - whatever you're into. Consider all possibilities so that no "emergencies" arise, for the most important guideline for you to follow is:
» Step 4
Do Not Leave The House!

Honestly, there's nothing good for you out there. Love will be in the air, sticking to your clothing and skin and forcing its way through your mouth and nostrils into your lungs, where it will build up in ever-thickening layers until you asphyxiate and die. Birds will sing love songs that you've always hated, the sun will shine upon impossibly beautiful & happily engaged people who will never love you, puppies will silently mock you. And there's a more-than-decent chance that you will run into an ex, and his or her new superheroesque Greek God of a lover. Or at the very least, someone who knows your ex, or someone who looks like your ex, or someone who reminds you of your ex, or someone who might have served you and your ex cheeseburgers during that night that you held hands and made plans about having a farm in Peru for you and your seventeen children to live on. So forget about it. If you've sufficiently planned ahead, everything you need should already be within your home - food, movies, friends (real-life or text-based), alcohol, or anything else. So settle in, hole up, hunker down, and try to make the best of everything.
» Step 5
There is hope for the hopeless! Just make sure you keep all these guidelines in mind, and the day will soon pass. The world will then return to a world of normalcy, one in which everyone that you encounter in your daily life is just as miserable as you are. At least outwardly.

Grady Mutzel is an experienced veteran within the long-term relationship scene, numerous times believing that he had found "The One" only to screw it up later on down the road. He has had many severe breakup overreactions, once kicking in a door, stabbing himself in the arm with a pair of dull scissors, and driving three hours west with a half-completed haircut because he was "really hurting." Grady graduated from Fredonia State University with a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 2000. He was dumped three times while enrolled in his studies there.

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