Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dara. Unfortunately for her, Valentine’s Day was coming up, and since she was single, all she had to look forward to was the Lifetime network and a box of tissues. As some of us avid viewers know, Lifetime is addicting and very depressing for some reason. As she moped with her box of chocolates, she….

Just kidding! Why in the world would I be SAD about being single on Valentine’s Day? After all, every store primarily promotes love and relationships, but really why would that possibly motivate me to shelter myself from the world for a day? Especially in Santa Barbara!

As a child, and still with my energetic inner child, I give out Valentine’s Day cards to all of my friends with those conversation heart candies that people can’t seem to get enough of on this holiday.

I have decided to rename Valentine’s Day National Singles Appreciation Day. I look at Valentine’s Day as a day to appreciate my family and friends. I especially appreciate my single friends, because we can all appreciate each other together thus resolving the alone-for-Valentine’s Day depression that usually affects singletons.

Now, for those of you readers who are pondering the absence of a special person this year, here are some friendly tips for enjoying the day:

1. If you are remaining in gorgeous sunny Santa Barbara, you should get a group of friends together and have fun! Go exploring! We have a number of lovely hikes. You can always go on a picnic, or opt for local water sports: surfing, sailing, scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking.

2. If by chance rain should fall, option number two is to pamper yourself. Whether you are a male or a female, pampering is always fun. Go to a spa, enjoy a massage or facial or pedicure. You could even do both option one and two!

3. You can leave town. Go down to Ventura and ice skate, golf, roller skate, or go down to Los Angeles to party or shop. You could go up to Solvang and enjoy the quaint Danish town. Chumash is also up there and since most students are over 18, many could go gambling. You could go further up to San Luis Obispo and visit Hearst Castle or even further up to San Francisco and go treat yourself to some really good chocolate at Ghirardelli Square.

And here are some tips for enjoying the night:

1. As many couples will be spending hours in line waiting to enter a nice restaurant, singles can order pizza or surprise their friends with a home cooked meal of Top Ramen.

2. Get dressed up and go out on the town. After all, Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year. If you are 21, you can go downtown and hit up the bars and clubs and meet other people who are also single and – if induced by alcohol, desperate. If you are under 21, you can walk Del Playa, like most do every weekend. This time, though, you may have more fun because most of the couples will not be walking the street so you will have your pick of many single men and women.

3. Or you could look on the back of Thursday’s Daily Nexus to get a list of all the events going on in Santa Barbara for the weekend and take your pick from one of them: theater performances, movies, activities put on by members of the UCSB community, and dances. You never know!

Think about it this way: Valentine’s Day comes around every year, so enjoy being single for one of them – or all of them. But either way, just enjoy the day. Please don’t lock yourself in your room and shy away from the world. You can do what I am doing. You can change the name of Valentine’s Day to National Singles Appreciation Day and spoil yourself rotten.

Dara Moss is a junior film studies and anthropology major.