Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dear Highlanders,


As a single, early 20-something female, the ubiquitous, socio-cultural, commercialized malarky that is Valentine’s Day only highlights my countless misguided attempts at flirting or the imperfections of my Elle Woods-inspired “Bend and Snap.” Thankfully, we live in an age where science has extended the age of adolescence to 25. So I feel like a slightly angst-ridden response borrowed from the King of Melancholy, John Hughes, is much deserved: “The one really key element of teendom … is that it feels as good to feel bad as it does to feel good. At that age, I remember, many times, staring out the window and feeling sorry for myself.”


Dolefully, with the dawn of the new year, the countdown began: 45 days until singles — like myself — whether by personal choice or interpersonal circumstance, are placed into a stigmatized social amalgam where being alone on Feb. 14 implies a pervasive sense of spiteful lovelessness. This marketed marginalization has left me feeling both eternally invincible and permanently trapped — queue “After Hours” by The Velvet Underground, please!


Valentine’s can be like the “Mean Girls” character Regina George of consumer holidays, “… a life ruiner,” and clearly I am not Glenn Coco! However, I feel that it is my duty not to embrace the preconditioned socio-cultural appeal of a pudgy baby shooting people in the ass with an arrow catalyzing a cliched notion of L O V E. Instead, I urge you to treat your single self either on Valentine’s or “Singles Awareness Day.” Here are some ways you can go about this:


1. Are you into getting down and dirty with nature? Spend the day hiking trails! Start with a health-conscious 8 a.m. breakfast at Goodwin’s Organic Foods and Drinks, then head out for a morning trek to the C. If you are looking for some alternative trails, I suggest Louis Robidoux Nature Center, featuring trails along Sunnyslope Creek and the Santa Ana River, or the iconic Mt. Rubidoux. Already managed to conquer these terrains? Try out indoor rock climbing at Hangar 18, open Friday until 9 p.m. and Saturday until 8 p.m. — make sure to check out their new college discounts! As for the nightlife, unwind at the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre: It is a cash-only venue at $8 a pop, but it is worth every penny for the nostalgic vintage appeal.


2. Into art and culture? Then head straight to Mad Platter! Buy that CD, DVD, novel or little trinket you have placed on that very long “Things to Do” list. From there, go check out the Riverside Arts Museum, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Friday and Saturday — make sure to check out the empowering exhibit “Women Who Ride,” photography by Lanakila MacNaughton. After all this, you deserve a nice midday meal, so head out to the Back to the Grind Coffee Shop, open from 9 a.m. to midnight, pull out that CD, DVD or novel you just bought and immerse yourself in your new treasure. As for some good eating, may I suggest the hummus and pita with a watermelon heaven smoothie. As for the nightlife, add on a trip down memory lane, dress in your sock-hoppin’ best and head out to “Doo Wop in the Desert” at the Hard Rock Hotel in the heart of Palm Springs, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15. And don’t forget to visit the 26-foot tall “Marilyn Forever” statue and take a photo with the iconic starlet.


3. Ever travelled abroad? Does your passion for adventure exceed your need to be attached? Then live life and treat this day as if you were in the U.K.! Sleep in, then during midday venture to a local brewery wearing a Onesie or a Football jersey. I recommend Packinghouse Brewing Co., open both Friday and Saturday until 8 p.m. and Inland Empire Brewing Co. open both Friday and Saturday until 9 p.m. After a pint or two, dine at one of Riverside’s Gastropubs like the Salted Pig, Killarney’s or ProAbition Whiskey Lounge and demand your bangers and mash! Late into the night, I assume a taxi home would be the way to go — too bad Riverside doesn’t have 24-hour red double-deckers — but do not worry, just call Happy Taxi.



Your Romantically Semi-Jaded Journalist