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A guide for singles in a pandemic-era Valentine's Day

By Gab Alberolol

Look, it's not that I don't think we should celebrate love or anything, but Valentine's day always kinda felt odd to me. It's become a commercial celebration centered on cheap chocolate, godawful heart-shaped cinnamon candies and cheesy Netflix rom-coms. Also, as any good religion-based celebration, its origins are drawn on death and martyrs – not exactly the kind of history lesson that gets me in the mood for lovemaking. Furthermore, visual representations of Cupid make me largely uncomfortable (barely clothed winged babies tend to have that effect on me).

Oh, also… red and pink is just a terrible colour combination. There, it's been said.

This year, Valentine's Day is hitting me differently though. For starters, I'm newly single. Breaking up always sucks, but it’s even more off-putting when it happens in the middle of a pandemic.

Social interactions aren't the same. Dating rituals have been shuffled. As a matter of fact, my connoisseur single friends tell me that with the latest sanitary measures, dating generally equates to taking a walk... Listen, freezing my ass off at -30°C isn't my idea of romance, no matter how interesting you are (plus, I’m way funnier after 3 beers, but it feels socially inept to down half a six-pack on a stroll around Mount Royal on a first date).

I'm not gonna lie, I'm intimidated by this new dating regime. But you know what? Maybe I don't need to confront this new reality just yet. Maybe I should take this time to take care of myself instead. And you should too. Yeah, this year, forget Valentine's Day; February 14th, 2022 shall hereby be known as Treat Yo Self Day.





With this in mind, here are a few choice activities for you to treat yo self on this fateful day.

Take a long walk

And listen to a podcast, music or simply hear the birds sing, whatever. We're simply not moving enough these days (especially folks working from home); taking a long walk will clear up your mind and freshen up your spirits. Just make sure not to make eye contact with any couples you might cross along the way.

Cuddle with your pet

You're not *really* alone if you can spend some quality time with Cookie (or whichever cute name you have for your pet), right? Show some appreciation for your loyal forever friend by giving them some extra attention and treats this February 14th – they will likely return the favor. If you don't have a pet, I really don't know what to tell you. You should consider it. Or, you could hug a... plant?





Cook yourself a nice dinner

The definition of “nice” will vary on this one and that’s fine. Simply take the time to prepare a good comforting dish that will bring back memories of happy times. Couple it with your favorite drink and enjoy every bite of your creation. Or, channel your inner Gordon Ramsay and completely trash-talk what you just cooked. Whatever floats your boat.

Explore new dimensions of pleasure

Treat Yo Self Day is the perfect opportunity to push the boundaries of your self-pleasuring rituals. Sure, your hand is serviceable, but why not think outside the box a little? Since I’m equipped with a penis, I’m trying out the Flex; it’s a good gateway sleeve for newbies like me. My vulva-equipped friends speak highly of the Womanizer Liberty – I don’t really know how it feels, but just looking at it makes me jealous not to be born with a clitoris. If you happen to have an anus and wish to reveal the many pleasures it hides, a good place to start is the Anal Training and Education Set. Have fun! You deserve it.

Dip your toes in a dating app

Maybe you don’t want to stay single forever. It could be a good time to (re)activate a profile on the dating app of your choice (I hear great things about Hinge). But don’t put too many expectations on this risky venture: just have fun with it and try to have amusing conversations with (hopefully) interesting strangers. With a little luck, it could lead to a freezing walk on Mount Royal. Oh, and please don’t ghost anyone, that's just not cool.

Read a book

Everything’s going so fast these days isn’t it? Take it down a notch by brewing a warm cup of tea and start reading a book (no, not an audiobook – that’s cheating). Bliss Club comes highly recommended: it’s an illustrated guide to various types of pleasure you might not know about. Relationships, a neat little book that explores relationships and all of their facets, also comes highly recommended – maybe I wouldn’t be single had I read it sooner… *sheds tear*

Check out an episode of Naked Attraction

In each episode of this reality tv show, a participant chooses one out of 6 contestants to go on a date… but everyone involved is butt naked in the process, highlighted with unflattering studio lighting and closeups that leave nothing to the imagination. Yes, many questions arise on the thought process of people who voluntarily apply to this absurd spectacle, but I think it’ll at least help you arrive at the comforting conclusion that your dating life isn’t so shitty after all.





Happy Treat Yo Self day everyone! (No, not you people in relationships.)

Gab Alberolol

Gab is a part-time columnist for Afterglo, part-time geek, part-time Panamanian and full-time lover. As a heterosexual cisgender white guy, he feels obligated to have an opinion on anything, even though he's mostly wrong about everything. With a background in design and entrepreneurship, he often gives a hand to startups he likes or complains about poorly designed stuff.