All The Single Ladies

[Editor’s Note: I forgot to publish this one!!! But I felt that the advice was still valid, even post-Valentine’s Day.]

As a certified weirdo, I have spent the vast majority of my Valentine’s Days single. And with only one exception, those single Valentine’s Days were all superior to those in which I was in a relationship. Nothing perplexes and enrages me more than the expectation that single women are supposed to spend Valentine’s Day sobbing into their Ben & Jerry’s while watching a Nicholas Sparks marathon. Please! We’re not Stephenie Meyer characters!


I know that my single readers are absolutely fabulous women and men who no doubt already have equally fabulous Valentine’s Day plans. But just in case you really were planning on going the Ben & Jerry’s route, I’ve come up with some ways to spend Valentine’s Day single, each of which is infinitely more exciting than a dozen red roses and the same damn French restaurant. This list also includes perfume-related Valentine’s Day gifts to yourself, since Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about giving to the ones you love!

The Plan: Going to movie theaters by yourself is so awesome that I’m not sure why anyone chooses to go with other people. No one to steal your popcorn or Sour Skittles. No one to make fun of you when you start crying during the “The Hobbit” trailer.


The trick is to NOT choose a romantic comedy. Of the movies currently in theaters, my recommendations are: Hugo, Sherlock Holmes, and, of course, the 3D rerelease of Star Wars Episode I- The Phantom Menace. George Lucas’ massive plot holes, now in 3D!

The Present: For perfumes that smell as vast and as grand as the plot holes in Star Wars, nothing beats this Amouage Mini Perfume set.

The Plan: Daniel Radcliffe has recently admitted that he struggled with alcoholism while filming the Harry Potter movies. We at Scents of Self recognize that alcoholism is a terrible disease, and couldn’t be prouder of Mr. Radcliffe for overcoming his addiction. However, I would be lying if I said that I will not be playing the resulting Harry Potter drinking game. This game consists of inviting your friends over for a Harry Potter marathon and having everyone drink each time you suspect that Harry Potter is totally drunk. Personally, my money’s on the classic “pincers” scene in Half-Blood Prince.

The Present: Boozy scents, of course! (Lord, I am a bad person.) “Cocktail” is one of the eight scents included in this Gorilla Perfumes sample pack. Lush is also British, just like Daniel!

3) A local cooking class is the perfect place to act out your Top Chef fantasies.

Someday, Padma... SOMEDAY.

These are offered both by individual restaurants and by cooking schools. The D.C. area is home to both L’Academie de Cuisine and CulinAerie, which used to offer classes taught by the delightful Top Chef contestant Carla Hall. Also, according to the movie Hereafter, you might meet Matt Damon there. I’m just sayin’.

The Present: La Cuisine des Nez, an aromatic cookbook full of perfumer’s favorite recipes. Olivier Polge’s smoked sea scallops sound truly divine.

The Plan: What could be a better choice for a perfumista than a perfume-related event? DSH Perfumes and Ormonde Jayne are two brands that offer one-on-one perfume consultations with the company founders; Guerlain and Ayala Moriel offer workshops that teach you about the materials used in perfumes and help you create your own fragrance. Bergdorf Goodman and Scent Bar also occasionally hold perfumer meet-and-greets.

The Present: Ormonde Jayne and DSH Perfumes both have divine sample sets. (Ayala Moriel has some too, but I have to say that I find the prices somewhat obscene.)

The Plan: Google your favorite older celebrities. There is a 65% chance that they have turned to live shows in order to pay the bills, which means that you get to see them in person! For example, Carrie Fisher is currently on her “Wishful Drinking” tour, William Shatner has an off-Broadway show, George Takei is about to start a Broadway show, and Patrick Stewart is always doing some Shakespeare play.


The Present: Someday I may stop finding the Star Trek colognes hilarious, but it is not this day. Available in Pon Farr, Red Shirt, Sulu Por Homme, Tiberius, and the delightfully named Shirtless Kirk.

I'm still waiting for the flanker, Shirtless Sulu.

The Plan: At any other time of year, this list would include lots of outdoor events. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, February weather is not exactly conducive to spending time outdoors. A notable exception: hot springs. They are pretty much the greatest thing ever, and winter is actually the best time of the year to experience them. U.S. readers might be surprised to know that quite a few states have hot springs, including New York, Virginia, Georgia, and California.

The Perfume: When searching for hot springs-themed beauty products, I came across Israeli brand Ahava. Let’s set the record straight: Ahava, the “definitive Dead Sea cosmetics brand”, is a total sham. Their products DO NOT come from the Dead Sea, which is shrinking every year from the lack of rain in Israel. There is no way in hell that anyone would be allowed to extract or harvest its water or plants. That being said, Ahava is one of Israel’s premier brands and does have some very nice spa products! Their salt scrubs are fabulous.

The Plan: Your local zoo, aquarium, or animal shelter is an ideal place to spend Valentine’s Day. It is significantly harder to feel grumpy about one’s marital status when you are watching a dolphin do flips. The Smithsonian National Zoo is free, accessible by metro, and has baby pandas. You’re welcome, America.

The National Zoo's Tai Shan! Has there ever been a species so adorable, and yet so determined to be eliminated by natural selection?

The Present: Smell Bent has a Little Miss Panda perfume! There is also a Kung Fu Panda perfume, although I cannot vouch for its quality.

The Plan: Make someone else’s Valentine’s Day special by donating your unwanted perfumes and cosmetics, either to a women’s shelter or to the Beauty Bloggers for Charity auction. 100% of all winning bids goes to Doctors Without Borders. Please note: I ask that before you good-heartedly try to follow this suggestion by buying products sponsored by breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen, you read this plea for Planned Parenthood.

The Perfume: The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Charity Drive donates the proceeds from several BPAL scents to some seriously exciting-sounding charities, such as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Bat Conservation International.


13 thoughts on “All The Single Ladies

  1. Well… you know I’m married. But these sound like very very excellent ideas for enjoying oneself and staving off self-pity of any stripe.

    Can I just confess? *I* got sniffly watching that Hobbit trailer ON MY ‘PUTER. With my SONS watching over my shoulder. (It’s the singing.)

    Going to the movies solo is awesome. Haven’t done it in forever. But actually, I love going to watch movies with Bookworm – first, because we like the same kinds of movies, and second, because we share our smuggled Lindor dark chocolate truffles but not our smuggled water bottles (I love my big purse), and third, because we talk about the movies afterward. It’s all good.

    George Takei is awesome. Not interested in Shirtless Sulu, though: I still like Shirtless Kirk. Rrrrooowwwwr. Wonder where I can sample the fragrances? They do make me laugh – especially the ad copy for Red Shirt.

    I gave up drinking games in about 1989, just about the time I hit legal drinking age. (OOPS. Didn’t mean to tell you that.) I’d never noticed possible HP intoxication, and I do not think I will bother to mention it to my kids – Taz got the complete set of films with his Christmas present money, replacing both VHS tapes of 1 and 2. Rewatched Pretty in Pink recently, though, and I SWEAR Andrew McCarthy was totally plastered in at least two scenes, maybe in a third, and maybe it wasn’t alcohol but some other mind-altering chemical, because it was, after all, the 80’s… Not to mention, I once saw an old Dean Martin movie on late night cable, in which he was clearly three sheets to the wind. Somebody FILMED THAT. Somebody said, “Well, Dean’s drunk, but I guess it’s the best performance we’re going to get out of him, and we’re contractually obligated to make this d*mn movie, so we might as well cut and print.” Somebody released Drunk Dean to the public. It’s unbelievable to me.

    I like bats. I don’t want to be bitten by one, and I don’t want bat guano in my attic (it does all kinds of nasty things to human lungs when inhaled), but I do like bats. I will point out, however, that some women’s shelters won’t take “used cosmetics” products, even spray bottles of perfume. I just found out last week that my local women’s shelter won’t take them. However, they can use some help, and I will probably start volunteering there soon.

    1. Yes, it’s very important to remember how to enjoy oneself alone, even when in a relationship or married! Drew and I will be apart for at least one year while I finish up at Hopkins, so I’ve been thinking up ways to keep myself occupied!

      The dwarf singing was what did me in, too. Although I must admit to being nervous and grouchy about a few of the decidedly non-canon moments in the trailer. Galadriel and Gandalf??? Um, what??

      Thank you for the caution about the women’s shelters! I suspected that might be the case for some shelters, hence the Beauty Bloggers for Charity recommendation! It was great to see how popular that was this year. But it definitely needed more perfume! I will be making sure that will not happen again next year!

  2. Mals, as someone who used to run a homeless shelter for women, that’s true – many homeless places will not take opened bottles of anything.

    Personally I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day – sure I love it when my DH brings me flowers, but if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be upset. Now our anniversary, that’s a whole ‘nother thing

    Going to mantinees by myself – LOVE IT. Esp when you’re like the only one in the theatre!

    So what did you end up doing???!??!?

    1. Thank you so much for adding this information, Frida. In that case, everybody donate to the Beauty Bloggers for Charity auction instead!!!

      We ended up going to a SUPER tasty Japanese barbecue place where you cook your own food on a grill in the middle of the table, and dropping off a bouquet for my family (I am very lucky to go to school only 45 minutes away from them!) It was a wonderful way to spend the day, but I agree with you completely- anniversaries are far more important! They are more personal 🙂 Drew and mine is October 31st, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to always be a fun night!

      1. What a lovely evening!!! And now I’m dying for some BBQ, Japanese or otherwise – my husband just went vegan and I’m starving over here!!

        Happy Anniversary to you in October (my fav month, not least because I was born in October) – ours is May Day!

        Have a terrific weekend; I’m off on a little hike!

  3. Love your suggestion about going to the zoo – watching a dolphin do flips might actually just make me feel guilty about dropping Pilates, however watching a polar bear with behavioural problems walk round around round in ever decreasing circles would probably hit the spot.

    I have always been one for going to the pictures on my own – sometimes on my foreign work trips where the films are in an assortment of languages – some more impenetrable than others. If Andy Garcia is in it, I figured once, I’m happy just to watch his lips move.

      1. Haha – I can quite see why that might sound cute but the one I am thinking of also had cigarette burns on his fur – well, I am pretty sure it was that, and he wasn’t a Friesian or something.

  4. Thanks for not forgetting us single ladies even though you’re happily coupled up, Ari! Those Star Trek perfume names just crack me up.

    Can I make a recommendation for you? I see you liked the Sherlock Holmes film, well the recent BBC modern-day adaptation “Sherlock” is one of the best things I’ve seen on British TV EVER. Setting it in the modern day and portraying Sherlock as someone with Asperger’s characteristics makes it fascinating. Plus I may have a little crush on him…there, I said it!

    1. You are making Sherlock sound very tempting, Tara! And it always makes me happy to see positive portrayals of aspies.

      Weirdly, I have spent very little of my life single (starting from the age of 12), but I spent my freshman year of college single and absolutely loved it. Most fun EVER. I did not have to watch a single football game that I didn’t want to. I salute you single ladies!

    2. The “I spent most of my Valentine’s Days single” part is still true, though, as the relationship I was in for all of high school was long-distance and tempestuous (read: frequent “breaks”).

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