Valentines, Schmalentines: Celebrate with Pal-entines!

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Who needs Valentine's Day anyway? (TITO CRESPO/THE OBSERVER)

By GILLIAN RUSSO, Asst. Arts & Culture Editor

Valentine’s cards and heart-shaped candy boxes have saturated CVS and Duane Reade since the new year began. And each day until Feb. 14 itself, it seems the amount of red and pink in the world multiplies, not to mention the number of people exchanging love notes, kisses and roses.

For some of us without a significant other, this celebration of love can be cute and inspiring; for others, it’s cheesy and slightly saddening. Speaking with 19 years of experience in being single on Valentine’s Day, I can tell you there’s still plenty of love to go around. You can plan all sorts of activities to show some love for yourself and your pal-entines instead — no S.O. necessary.

You can create a spa vacation right in your very own dorm. Between stores like Sephora, CVS, Whole Foods and more, which are all near the Lincoln Center campus, you can find any pampering essentials you might need: nail polish, face masks, essential oils, cucumber slices and other ingredients to make your own scrubs and masks.

After you buy your supplies, put on some soothing music, look up recipes for DIY face masks and body scrubs and indulge in some good old-fashioned self-care. This activity can be an opportunity to bond with your roommates or your squad. For a small campus, it can be difficult to make time to see friends in between jam-packed schedules and the bustle of the city. Making an effort to organize some undisputed “chill” time together is a guaranteed mood booster when the stress of college threatens to zap your spirits. A spa day is also the perfect reason to simply take some much-needed time for yourself amidst the demands of classes, internships and work.

If you definitely want to make plans with friends, organize a Covert Cupid. It’s like Secret Santa but for Valentine’s Day. Everyone in the group picks a name at random, and you buy an inexpensive gift that person would like. It’s the perfect excuse to take advantage of holiday sales (you can hardly go wrong with discounted chocolate). No singles will come away without a gift or the knowledge that someone thought of them on Valentine’s Day.

You can make the gift exchange part of a larger celebration by decorating your dorm in red and pink, buying or baking some heart-shaped cookies and watching rom-com after rom-com. If you pick movies with your celebrity crushes, you can (almost) achieve the feeling of being in love.

If you’d rather get out of the dorm, no lack of a date is stopping you. Take yourself out and show some love for New York City. Treat yourself to a decadent dessert from your favorite sweet shop, be it a donut ice cream sandwich from Holey Cream or some rich chocolate gelato from Grom. Take the one-block walk to Arthur Murray Dance Studio for a ballroom dance class — no partner required. The possibilities are endless.

Whether you’re out and about doing something you enjoy or trying something new, you could find a hangout spot or hobby to love — and who knows who you could meet along the way?