A guide for the single best friend
Valentine’s Day is approaching; I can only tell because pink and red items have begun emerging from the gloomy basement storage rooms where they belong. At first, alarmed at the amount of hearts plastered on every visible surface, the painfully cheesy greeting cards with phrases like “meant to be” and “yes to love, no to pants” remind me of what’s actually coming.
By now, the shock has been replaced with annoyance. Predictably, I am single for the so-called holiday, but my best friend is giddy. She has to hunt for heart-shaped candy, cards and collectables among the other worthless crap in Target. I am along for the ride because sometimes, I try to be a good friend.
Our journey begins in the parking lot, where we step out of my red car, grab a red cart and enter through the red sliding doors into the store that is entirely immersed in February’s chosen color scheme. So, how did I survive a trip to shop for my best friend’s boyfriend?
Stage 1: The Dollar Section
When your friend dances into the dollar section to sift through clearance calendars and Marvel-themed elementary school valentines, follow her. Be sure to roll your eyes cynically to make sure that people know you have not fallen into the corporate trap.
“What do you think of these?” She will inevitably gesture to the worst gift possible, for example: a pair of key chains, each one the shape of half of a heart. She will fish out the R and the E, the lovely couple’s first initials. Last year, the two of you would have bought those for each other as a joke. To gently communicate your distaste, stare at her blankly. Next, wonder internally if you could write a novel in which those in love during Valentine’s Day just become weird, obsessive zombies. When she understands your silence, she’ll thankfully return the key chains to their shelf.
Stage 2: The Men’s Clothing Section
You will eventually arrive at the men’s clothing section, which is slightly more bearable but still just a big pile of t-shirts for grown men plastered in Pokémon. Pass the time by pretending to be interested in a leftover Christmas shirt that says, “stop busting my nuts,” with cartoon nutcrackers on it until you make it to the candy section.
Stage 3: Finally Choosing the Gift
At last, Twix bars dressed in red and pink wrappers will fall into the cart, along with two pairs of matching, heart-patterned socks and an expensive card that sings love songs when you open it.
Between conversations of gushy V-day plans involving red wine and candles, imagine your own Valentine’s Day shrouded in blankets and candy wrappers from the gift basket you’re hoping your mom will send you. End the trip by questioning whether or not spending the evening re-watching the first five seasons of “The Office” is doable.
Finally, ask your friend to return to Target with you the day after her romantic celebration, this time in pursuit of discount candy to stockpile in your nightstand at home. Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad after all?
Danielle Schwartz is a junior studying English and professional writing. She loves books, dogs, and tea. Find her on a yoga mat or working with MSU’s Fourth Genre journal.