I laughed the first time I heard Valentine’s Day described as “Singleness Awareness Day” or “S.A.D.” for short. And yet this humorous jibe at February’s famous tribute to love is unfortunately not far from the way many of us singles feel.
I must admit that much of the advice given to singles for dealing with “Valentine’s Day blues” irritates me. We’re told to spend the day pampering ourselves – get a massage or a manicure, spend the day out on the golf course or watching a game at your favorite sports bar. We’re encouraged to “think positive thoughts” and focus on the blessings we do have, not long for the ones we have not. I’ve even heard commentators tell single people not to feel bad because married people and dating couples really don’t have much fun on Valentine’s Day either.
All of the above may be true, but none of this type of advice has actually cheered me up about being unattached on Valentine’s Day. Perhaps I’m too pessimistic, but I’m not sure if Valentine’s Day will ever be a tremendously exciting and encouraging day for single people. Instead of trying to make a difficult holiday fun for people who’d much prefer that the February calendar skipped a day towards the middle of the month, I suggest we focus on an entirely different event that takes place two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day.
The Super Bowl.
It never would have occurred to me to focus on building community with other singles around Super Bowl Sunday vs. Valentine’s Day if I hadn’t witnessed first-hand how effective this approach is.
The Christian singles group in my hometown throws an annual “Valentine’s Day Christian Singles Dance.” While it’s a noble effort, many singles in our community regard it as “that event for us loners who don’t have dinner dates on the 14th.” It’s often the faithful few who attend.
Last year a few singles in Greenville decided to host a Super Bowl Party, and while the invite didn’t explicitly say “Singles-Only Super Bowl Party,” it was widely distributed to singles in my parish and surrounding parishes.
I was not prepared for what happened on Super Bowl Sunday last year. After morning Mass, it seemed like single people were coming out of the woodwork to ask about the Super Bowl Party. I was not aware we had so many single Catholics in my parish until that day. My friends and I talked to several singles who had just joined the parish and wanted to come.
On my way to my car I was approached twice – both by Catholic guys who had heard about the event. I had never met either one before. They needed directions and wanted to know what to bring. When I got home that afternoon and checked my email I had several more inquires about directions.
By the time I arrived at the party, it seemed word had spread even farther. I met more single Catholics in my hometown that night than all other singles events I’ve attended since I’ve lived here – put together!
The most interesting dynamic of the party was the number of single men who showed up. Often I’ve attended singles events where the girl-guy ratio was way more lopsided than 2-1. This was not the case on Super Bowl Sunday. Not only did tons of guys show up, they wanted to help put on the party! One gentleman showed up with homemade stuffed mushrooms. Another brought his secret party dip recipe. And many others brought store-brought snacks or desserts with them. I must admit that us girls were slightly blown away by their excitement and willingness to help kick-off a great party.
Last year’s Super Bowl Sunday was one of the most fun singles events I’ve attended since moving to Greenville. We had tons of food and beverages because everyone brought something. There were a few die-hard fans in attendance, but most people were just happy to be at a social function with so many others who were having a good time. There were lots of laughs, great conversations, and absolutely no pressure about the fact that most of us there were single and unattached. It was truly refreshing to be at an event that had absolutely no focus on the relationship status of the guests.
Special Note for Girls:
Ladies, you don’t need to know the definitions of a punt, line drive, and fourth down to host a Super Bowl party. You don’t even need to know what teams are facing off in the game. If you want to meet more eligible Catholic men in a no-pressure environment, there’s no better way than to host an event where ESPN and party food are in great abundance.
The host of last year’s Super Bowl party was a single young woman who knew absolutely nothing about football or sports. Nada. She had a big living room in her house, cable TV, and a big heart. And that was all that was needed to pull off the most fun, memorable singles event we had all year.
So if you’re looking for a fresh, fun alternative holiday in February, forget those foil-wrapped chocolate hearts on display at the grocery store…and buy lots of tortilla chips and guacamole instead.
Stephanie Wood is the coordinator of NextWave Faithful, a young adult division of
Family Life Center International
that seeks to motivate, equip, and encourage young adults during
their “transition years” to live faithful lives for Jesus Christ and
His Church. She is the host of “NextWave Live” on the EWTN Global
Catholic Radio Network, and is a frequent speaker and writer on topics
relating to Catholicism and young adult life. Stephanie can be reached