So how was your Valentine’s Day?
Did you get his ‘n’ her watches or did you end up eating all episodes of Jessica Jones with ice cream?
Of course you didn’t. Even I know you’re not such a cliché.
But more importantly, did you make it out alive?
Cause honestly, there are some days in your life, that somehow make you feel inadequate. Like a sale at Louboutin (STILL can’t buy that stuff) or Kaley Cuoco’s latest Abstragram (how..just how!?). Or a boss who doesn’t give you credit. Or failing at yet another attempt at shortcrust pastry (that only happens to me. You’ve already mastered it, I know)
And somehow, on ‘Valentines’ Day’ life becomes an unbearable overdosed snotty pile of pink décor and overpriced ‘champagne brunches’. It doesn’t matter if your single, double (by which I mean dating twins) or in a committed relationship with Netflix; your life and social media feeds will be a pressurized crockpot of stuff you have to prove.
As my favourite wordsmith, Mark Mason says, “romance is kind of like a fart: if you have to force it then it’s going to be shitty. Just let it come out.”
So your response to Valentine’s Day is probably as standardized as a Shiv Sagar menu. If you’re alone, you need to prove to the world that you don’t care about the slurry of heart shaped crap coming at you.
If you are seeing someone, but it’s not serious, then it’s an awkward should I, shouldn’t I game. And finally if you are in a state of committed, you’ve got a universe of crazy expectations to match; overpriced roses are your last concern. Instead you’re out there, trying to find a rainbow unicorn stuffed with cotton candy to gift your significant other.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to the idea of 1+1. Heck, that’s what happy hours is based on (thank you humankind).
And even though I got 50 roses yesterday (Not rubbing it in your face, but yea, I counted), I still call bullshit. Not to my gifter, but to you.
So I have a simple proposition for you. It’s what my main man says, “You should go and Love Yourself” (Don’t judge me for being a Belieber)
It’s love for you. By you and for you. Its Sunday democracy, rolled into the most important person in your life. You.
Cause no matter what your relationship status, you tend to forget yourself. Especially if you’re on the committed ship. And while you don’t need a Valentine’s Day or a birthday to remind you of that, it’s still just as good a reason as any other.
I am not saying bubble bath with reruns of Sex and the City, am not even saying a spa day or a fifa marathon on xbox (seriously, am trying to be gender netural here). But am saying, pull out the big guns. Go single. In public.
I call it the Solo Picnic. It’s a collective of your favourite food, drinks, books, reading angles and most of all, quiet time. Plus its outdoors, so even if you missed gym in 2016, this should cover it.
I spent this Sunday with myself and in the company of falling bougainvilleas. With food I lovingly put together and wine I carefully selected to celebrate the big and mostly insignificant bits of my life. And while I got a lot of curious looks from passersby, I managed to share laughter and cake with fellow picnickers, even playing a little football in my hat.
It was my moment under the sun and it was amazingly delicious.
The Solo Picnic Menu
Food: Anything and Everything you love! I put together a smorgasbord of little bits and bites. A mix of things that wouldn’t take too much attention to eat or time to source.
Drink: Your day time guilty pleasure. I picked my current favorite – a Sauvignon Blanc by Charosa Vineyards (Nasik). It’s got a definitive fruity flavour that paired very well with the food, and just a subtle grassy note on the finish.
Accompaniments: A hat big enough to snooze under, headphones for music, and maybe a big sign that says DND. Just kidding.
Oh, and book(s). Feminist literature helps.
Need some ideas for your board? Here’s what I had.
- Rustic Crusty Bread for minimal slicing effort
- Cheese : Soft Brie & Hard Cheddar for a textural balance
- Aged Salami, cause what’s a smorgasbord without preserved meat
- Olives, Pickles & Grapes to accompany the combo of the above three
- Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper for that addition of smoky to the platter
- Balsamic & Oregano Roasted Mushrooms for extra earthiness
- Slow roasted cherry tomatoes for a burst of buttery tart
- Homemeade Tzatziki and a fresh Spinach Pesto
- Assorted fruits & veggies: cucumber, apple, orange & cape gooseberries
- Iceberg Lettuce salad with a simple blue cheese dressing, croutons & pomegranate
- My favourite version of Deviled Eggs
- Banana Chips. Cause I simply love them
- And Cake, Duh
A solo picnic is easier than a walk in the park. So go ahead and surprise yourself with a quiet celebration. After all, quiet is the new loud.
Special thanks to super-photographer Gautam Mehra