Love is a big business.
Every February, retailers like Hallmark, Godiva and Kay Jewelers spend a sh*tload of money to convince anyone even remotely hoping for love (or just to get laid) to spend even more money spewing a cascade of gifts all over his or her SO to prove his or her devotion.
But honey, you don't need any of that heart-and-flowers-and-candy crap to celebrate the sh*t out of Valentine's Day.
It doesn't matter whether you're single or coupled up. If you want to have a much better February 14 than probably about 90 percent of any of the people buying into the advertising hype, you need exactly three things: something for your heart, something for your mind and something for your vag.
1. A Dog
I'm speaking metaphorically here: It doesn't have to be a dog. It can be a cat if that's the rail you're riding.
(Although frankly, dogs offer unconditional and unreserved affection, whereas cats offer condescension, standoffishness and a fair degree of sheer assh*lery. You probably get plenty of this in your dating life, and who the hell needs more of that?)
The point is, if you're looking for something to warm your heart this Valentine's Day, something to cuddle with, something that craves your attention (and wants to lavish you with it in return), a puppy is a sure thing.
This is so unlike the guy you've had a crush on for months who texts you now and then to “hang out,” the one who never called you after that amazing night together or even your SO, who can't seem to remember your anniversary, even though it comes on exactly the same day every f*cking year.
Proven scientific fact: Petting a dog can release oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” sending feel-good vibes through both of you and increasing the attachment between you both.
According to this article, oxytocin is actually considered a reproductive hormone that “increases powerfully during sexual climax, establishing long-term bonds between romantic partners.”
Yes. You can get all that just from snuggling with Fido.
Plus, your dog will never pick a fight with you or be an assh*le to your friends or parents. Also, a dog has absolutely no issues with commitment.
The choice seems obvious.
2. A Book
Again, this is a metaphor.
You're looking to stimulate your mind here, so maybe it's reading that gives you a giant brain hard-on, or maybe it's documentaries.
(As a bonus, animal documentaries might do double duty here for both the first and second points. I defy you to watch "Island Of Lemurs" and not feel a brimful of the warm squishies.)
Maybe you enjoy watching foreign films, taking an online language course or learning Adobe Illustrator.
The point is, many of us fall in love with someone who stimulates our mind. But you can cut out the middleman and go right to the source of anything that helps increase your brainpower.
(If you experience increased serotonin levels from an unnatural attachment to Words With Friends, who's to judge?)
Whatever it is that gets your synapses firing, chances are, you'll be a lot more entertained and engrossed all night than you would on a date with some meathead hottie.
Light some candles, slip into something more comfortable and curl up with a great book. It'll stay hard all night long, and still be there the next morning if you fall asleep holding it.
3. A Vibrator
This one's not a metaphor. I'm being as serious as an STD here.
Valentine's Day might be about love, but let's get real: Everyone's hoping to get some action at the end of the night. Cut through the bullsh*t and games (and dodge the risks), and take care of things yourself.
Modern technology has brought us more than a wireless world and self-driving cars. Thanks to science, you can enjoy this little baby, practically guaranteed to bring you to orgasm every time.
If you're not in a hurry, why not try this spectacular little creation? Some tech nerd had the genius idea to add suction to the time-honored vibration feature, and it lets women get the clit love we crave with six different settings. This way, you can build up to a crescendo gradually, or just go straight to the finish line.
If you're feeling exceptionally adventurous, this innovation works absolutely everything simultaneously. That's more than you can probably say for any partner you've ever had (at least at one time).
So, what's your total V-Day outlay?
1. A dog: You can adopt a dog for usually around $50 at your local shelter (with added great karma for rescuing a stray).
2. A book: It can cost anywhere from a few bucks to $25 or $30 for a hardcover (or it can be free if you hit up your local library).
3. A vibrator: This is your main expenditure, with some models running well into the triple digits.
But a good one can go all night and last for years with nothing more than a battery change (unlike most dates). There are also plenty of simpler models out there for under $25 that will get the job done.
But the peace of mind you'll get from sitting out all the holiday hype? Priceless.
Phoebe Fox is the author of the Breakup Doctor series (from Henery Press). Her latest book, "Heart Conditions," releases February 9.
You can find her at www.phoebefoxauthor.com, or on Twitter @PhoebeFoxAuthor.