The Absolute BEST Way to Spend Valentine’s Day Is Alone at a Spa
Last night I ate a huge slice of cake. I shared it with no one. By the end of the evening the frosting, paired with the captivating onscreen performance I watched by Kathryn Hahn, brought me such overwhelming joy that I swiftly fell asleep holding the fork and proceeded to have two consecutive sex dreams. Needless to say, I love being single. Self-partnered. An individual taxpayer. However you want to describe someone who hooks up with hot people once in a while but ultimately shares her life with her cat. It means I am free to do whatever the hell I want every day, and especially on Valentine’s Day. All that romantic and sensual energy I would have given to someone else goes, you guessed it, right back to me. Not taking care of anyone else romantically comes with very little drama, and if drama ever arises, it has to do with whether the shopkeeper at the bakery saw me put in the tip I left for her in the jar. I don’t want her to think I didn’t leave one.
Valentine’s Day is a weird one because to celebrate it “correctly,” one must be in love just the right amount. Enough to rationalize feeding corporate greed and indulging hetero norms that pressure people into sad roles like “the brave man who tried a little” and “the expectant woman who is proud of this man for trying a little.” Instead of debating whether it makes sense for me to wish my exes a “happy valentine’s day lol” (note: it never makes sense), I decided to head to Manhattan’s Upper East Side for some luxurious face and body treatments, ones I imagine are usually reserved for women wearing berets who are contemplating sexy secrets they’ll never tell each other as they walk their matching poodles on brisk winter mornings. After all, Valentine’s Day feels like a good day to remind yourself that you are hot and cool in whatever way works best for you, since the holiday will often intentionally lead you to believe the opposite about yourself. So, time to get some stuff rubbed into my face, because I am my own lover — and my lover is in the mood for a soft face today.
My first stop was at Naturopathica, a word that I think they made up but sounds like the scientific name for a very relaxed femme plant. The treatment I was about to receive, explained a glowing woman named Sarah, was a massage using CBD oil to help relieve sore, overstressed muscles. I haven’t used my body in a deliberate “sports-bra woman overcoming her body’s obstacles crossing the finish line” kind of way in four months. As the curtain-drawn space was flooded with a soundscape that can only be described as the audio from erotic vampire drama Twilight, Sarah began kneading her elbows into my back. I swiftly fell in love with her good hands. As my shoulder tension subsided, I realized that no partner I’ve ever had has known how to massage me as intuitively and expertly as she did. And, I’ll add, Sarah never said, “And now it’s my turn!” after it was over.
Next, I treated myself to a facial, so I had to bid adieu to Sarah’s hands, but she sent me off with Morgan, who had hands too. She used them expertly to brush honey balm and cherry enzymes onto my face for the next hour. Being misted with lavender while listening to the music hot vampires glide through forests to is not the worst way to spend a day on which you were raised to expect chocolate and flowers from a boringly handsome man who has great difficulty expressing anything he’s feeling. The facial was meant to be anti-aging, but I think that as I get older, I would like to look my age. I have a vague fantasy about running into an ex who is holding their baby and proclaiming, “Well, I have wrinkles now, so, we’ve both grown and changed a lot, haven’t we?”
Finally, I visited CryoVigor, where I got nude (a theme of the day). I slipped my hands into mittens and my feet into big socks to stand in negative 200-degree liquid nitrogen for three minutes. Apparently, basketball MVP LeBron James does it, so it made sense for this 25-year-old who wears sneakers exclusively for comfort and spends a lot of time worrying about earthquakes in California to do a similar muscle-healing treatment. Throughout my time in the frosty chamber, my body shook violently, my teeth chattered loudly, and I started thinking about whether I was comfortable with my last words being, “Yeah, I’m fine in here! All good!” Ultimately, I did survive the cryotherapy, but in the way you survive jumping off a big rock: No one applauds you for putting yourself through a nonessential, potentially devastating thing in the first place. Sort of like being in love. Just kidding.
Overall, I was glad I was kind to my body on a holiday meant to make you feel like your independent life is lacking in some way. And if that means paying a woman to make me inhale eucalyptus steam, so be it. If you have the luxury to gift yourself an hour of face gooping to escape heart-shaped things, do it. If nothing else, you can be nice to your body at home. At the end of the day, it’s comforting to know that maybe all I need to keep me warm at night is one more slice of cake.
For more stories like this, pick up the February issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download now.