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Treat Yourself Sweet

vdayTips for surviving Valentine’s Day solo in Santa Cruz

Single this Valentine’s Day? Don’t freak out. More Americans are solo today than ever before. According to U.S. census data, only 48 percent of adults were married in 2010, compared to 78 percent in 1950. So whether you’re recently split or a solo superstar, use this Valentine’s Day as an excuse to celebrate singularity. Take a break from romance and focus on a broader kind of love—love for your community, your friends, and your simple, footloose and fancy-free life.

Here are a few suggestions for singles in Santa Cruz this V-Day:

-If you’re feeling adventurous, try a first date (or treat a single friend) and peruse the Big Blue on stand-up paddleboards. Covewater (covewatersup.com) is offering a Valentine’s Day package that includes lessons, photos and a post-session champagne toast.

-Fortunately, Feb. 14 features Downtown Santa Cruz Tuesday specials (downtownsantacruz.com). Just say “I love Santa Cruz” to select businesses and receive markdowns all over town. Treat yourself to a Well Within massage and tub or do some window-shopping and discount dining.

-Hopelessly romantic singles can explore Shakespeare’s conception of love through music and poetry at Kiss & Tell, a celebration of eight centuries of romance. Visit redandblackstage.ticketbud.com/kiss—tell for tickets or more info.

-For those interested in mixing and mingling, check out the funky sounds of 7 Come 11 (7come11.org) at the Crepe Place, an organ-driven trio that will loosen your goose. The show is free and starts at 9 p.m.

-Not into the bar scene? Make a vow to treat yourself better than anyone else possibly could. Take a long walk at Wilder Ranch State Park, buy a great bottle of local wine (try Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Le Cigare Volant) and cook something fantastically complicated. To end the celebratory day, curl up and read “Going Solo: the Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone” by Eric Klinenberg, who found that singletons play an essential yet unappreciated role in revitalizing cities and animating public spaces. Compared with married people, they’re more likely to eat out in cafés and restaurants, exercise in a gym, take art classes, attend public events, and volunteer.”

Instead of resenting all of the lovebirds who come out each V-Day to publicly suck face; instead of buying up all the chocolate you can find only to go to sleep with a tummy ache; and instead of drinking too much wine and dialing every ex in your phone; celebrate your freedom and give yourself some love and appreciation this Valentine’s Day.

As Henry David Thoreau once said, “I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” So do all or none of these things—because you can.

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