Babeland

It's Not in the Cards

Just because you don't get cards, candy, or carats, Valentine's Day doesn't have to suck
Ladies, love may be a wonderful thing, but being single has its advantages, though they may be hard to remember come Valentine's Day. There are no nightly check-ins, more money and less dyke drama! But even for those single girls who love every minute of it, the frenzy (thanks in no small way to Hallmark) around the "most romantic day of the year" is difficult to ignore.

If approaching the middle of February leaves you hoping for a honey, take heart with this little bit of Valentine's Day history. Did you know that all three Saints Valentine were put to death by their governments? The holiday nearly bit the dust as well in 1969, when the Catholic Church eliminated the three saints because no one believed they'd ever existed.

Historical inaccuracies aside, the holiday accounts for 25% of all greeting card purchases every year, so the commercial push won’t stop anytime soon. But just because drugstores started lining their shelves with red heart-shaped boxes on January 2nd, that doesn't mean everyone is buying! Here are some other ways to celebrate the loves in your life this Valentine's Day, including a healthy helping of some good old self-love.

Share the Love
Who doesn't have a friend or family member to whom she can show a little more appreciation? If everyone you know knows how much you love them, that's fabulous. But if you’re like the rest of us without a halo, then picking an unexpected day, like Valentine's Day, to show the people closest to you how much you care, is an excellent and loving way to strengthen the most important bonds in your life.

"It’s easy to feel lonely when you are single on Valentine’s Day but most people aren’t truly alone. They have a lot of great people in their life." So says Rachel Kramer Bussel, a Village Voice contributor and editor of several books of lesbian erotica. "There is more than just romantic love, and it's important to share that happiness, too."

You can send a gift basket, flowers or a handwritten note across the country to brighten the day for a long-lost friend. Specifically gay greeting cards, like those at overtherainbowshop.com, are quite appealing for their rarity and humor. A girls' night out with close friends and plenty of booze always serves as valuable quality time—even if you can’t remember it.

Bring MySpace to Your Space
Doesn't it seem like the lesbian world grew by leaps and bounds overnight on MySpace? Why not bring the virtual world indoors by hosting a party with your Friendsters (and friend requests) for a fun, flirty celebration at your house?

Lauren Blitzer, who co-authored the 2006 book Same Sex in the City, says a singles mixer really lifted her spirits on a rough V-Day two years ago. "I had just gone through the worst breakup of my life," she says. "I was miserable. A friend dragged me to a party filled with a bunch of people I didn’t know, and it was great. They were all single too, and we were kind of bitching."

To keep the stress quotient low, have everyone bring her favorite dish so it feels collaborative. Also, start an email list of who’s invited to make sure two angry ex-girlfriends don’t show up and ruin the fun or the carpet with a thrown Cosmo.
But if the idea of a room full of former girlfriends stimulates you, take Lauren Levin's advice and throw a BYOEx (Bring Your Own Ex) party. "I stay friendly with my exes, and I know a lot of people that would be good for them," says Levin, City's other author. "It's a little dangerous, but that can be fun for Valentine's Day. It's exciting.”

Single and Sitting Pretty
Not to give credence to the idea that women have to look good to feel valuable, but there is something about getting all dolled up that works wonders on self-esteem.

Darby Shields, a hairdresser at the Upper East Side Simadi Salon, says getting a haircut to gain confidence only works while the style is fresh, so going to a salon should be about more than just one hot weekend. It's about finding a look that compliments your personality. "I try to make each client feel as close to hot shit as they can."

Another noteworthy salon to try is Seagull in the West Village, which is part owned by Johanna Fateman, of the feminist band, Le Tigre. When it opened in 1971, Seagull was the city's first unisex salon, located near the Christopher Street pier. "This area was the epicenter of America's gay liberation movement," Fateman says.

“Seagull was named after a new-agey book about a seagull that flies away from the flock to discover himself,” Fateman says. “That idea of nonconformity was important to the original owners. Everyone who comes here will get something unique to reflect their personality, gender expression and aesthetic.” And who knows, the cute girl in the smock seated next to you might just be your date on February 15th.

Rejoice in Rejection
Failure is always funny the second time around. That's why comedian Jon Friedman hosts a monthly show of rejected comedy writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. He's hosting a special Valentine's Day Rejection Show on February 14th, in which people will share their ridiculous dating rejection stories. Laugh until it hurts—just not in the way your last breakup did.

If failures in dating aren’t funny enough for you, perhaps you should move right onto failures in the bedroom. At the Bowery Poetry Club, on February 14th some of NY’s best bloggers will recount their crudest and most embarrassing sex stories. Questionable queefs, awful anal adventures and dilapidated dildos will be lovingly recalled. Presented by blogging collective WYSIWYG (computer-speak for What You See Is What You Get), this promises to be a hilarious night.

If you’re the gloomy, morbid type, check out the annual Valentine’s Day Massacre performed by dark operatic singer Diamanda Galas at The Knitting Factory, which has been described as “a night of tragic love and homicidal songs.” Galas, dressed all in black and wearing goth make-up, will shriek, yelp, gasp and croon all about love’s evil underbelly. Diamanda will crack even the most lovey-dovey couples.

Check our A&E Listings for details on these and other V-Day events.
 
Food to Swoon For
A good meal can be just as erotic as good sex, but why go out to dinner and brave the coupled-up crowds? Restaurants charge more on V-Day anyway, so save money by whipping up a loving feast at home with these tips from GO contributor and Zagat award-winner Chef Rossi, owner of the Raging Skillet catering company.

Rossi says showing yourself some love on Valentine's Day means not curling up in bed with KFC or greasy lo mein. “It’ll feel good for five minutes, but ultimately it's going to make you depressed." Rossi suggests starting with a seasonal salad, to treat your body to nutrients. "If you're a meat eater, follow that with a nice slice of steak. And you have to end with some decadent chocolate.”

Rossi recommends exotic foreign-made chocolates to get the full erotic effect. "They say you secrete the same endorphins when you eat chocolate as when you orgasm," she says. "I've found that only to be true if it's really good chocolate, not some Hershey’s chocolate bar. I favor Brazilian dark chocolate, or one of Max Brenner's decadent concoctions." Some other places to try are La Maison du Chocolat (Uptown), Varsano’s Chocolates (Greenwich Village) and Chocolate Bar (West Village).

Rossi's also hosting a very sexy art opening at the Raging Skillet on Valentine's Day called "Food as Sex, Food as Love" that will showcase her own art along with that of three others. Rossi’s works, titled “Fruitasm” are erotic paintings of exploding women inside exploding fruit. You will also get to sample Rossi's award winning cooking at this event. Rossi says the art opening “is kind of my revenge as a single woman on Valentine’s Day. If there’s a 40-ish butch who’s kind of sexy there, she should come talk to me!”

What's Love Got to Do With It?
If you’re just lamenting the lack of another warm body between the sheets, perk up. Who says only two can play the sex game? Pick a toy, any toy. Visit Babeland, Eve's Garden, The Pleasure Chest or any one of the dozens of stores near 6th Avenue and West 4th Street. Take your purchase home and begin to set the mood with these tips from Babeland’s education coordinator, Carolyn Riccardi.

"It often helps to put yourself in a new frame of mind. After returning from work, start the bathtub, light some candles, turn off your phone. Creating a sort of theater for the sex act is a lot of fun. It helps you forget the stresses of the day in this new atmosphere.”

Riccardi suggests reading lesbian erotica, or popping in a porn flick to get the mood started. "There’s nothing like a really hot porn movie going in the background to make you comfortable with pleasuring yourself!"
Babeland's also offering its second ever singles mixer on February 11th. Open to people of all sexualities and genders, the party will take place at Babeland's Soho store (43 Mercer Street), and will be specially geared to the shy folk out there. Attendees will each get a nametag and a number and they have the option of "flirting" by sending notes to the cutie across the room by just specifying her tag number. Babeland expects a crowd of more than 200. Face it, sex toys are good conversation starters!

Whatever you're doing on February 14th, make sure your primary concern is yourself. Because, Johanna Fateman tells us, "As Whitney Houston sang so eloquently, ‘Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.’
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