The Inferno: The Nine Circles of Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Until recently, I had never been empathetic to the disease known as celebrating Valentine’s Day alone (symptoms of which include depression, overeating, and whining about February 14th on any and all forms of social media). When you’ve ridden solo for nearly two decades’ worth of Valentine’s festivities, Singles Awareness Day eventually becomes a peaceful, practically meditative experience; instead of cry-sterbating and eating a tub of ice cream at my own personal pity party each year, I enjoyed a joyful day of solitude filled with a slew of rewarding personal activities (Okay, they’re the exact same activities as a pity party, minus the crying). While images of “love” and “happy couples” plagued me at work or school, I could safely journey home to escape any reminders of how depressingly sucky counter-culture it is to be single.


Never understood why Dante was such a big Static Shock fan (via

Well, that was until this year, for when I moved in with my roommate, I also unwittingly moved in with her boyfriend and all their couple-y bliss. The signs of their blossoming romance—an extra toothbrush in the bathroom, breakfasts at which I became the third wheel—snuck up on me so gradually that, like asbestos growing in the walls, I hardly noticed the symptoms before I’d inhaled too much poison into my lungs. Love was suddenly all around, yet teasingly out of my reach. My home, a former quarantine zone from reminders of my inevitable spinsterhood, became the ground zero of contamination. As the swollen phallus of my roommate and her boyfriend’s love grew, their relationship forced its way deeper and deeper down my throat until, with a mighty thrust, my gag reflex could take no more. In that climactic moment, I knew that this year’s Valentine’s Day would be different. Horrible. Hellish. An Inferno. Welcome, fools, to the fiery damnation that is being the single on Valentine’s Day. Come, like the great poets before us, let me be your Virgil and lead you to the deepest layer of The Inferno.

First Circle (Limbo)

Dawn breaks, and so does my spirit as in my waking moments of consciousness I realize the date: February 14th. I get out of bed, walk through the door and whisper, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” because I am a pretentious fuck who Sparknoted The Inferno to impress people cultured.

Second Circle (Lust)

My roommate carefully straightens her hair and adorns herself in the traditional pink and red garb that characterizes this Devil’s Day. With just as much effort, I carefully choose an outfit that does not contain a trace of pink or red to broadcast that I so-totally-whatever don’t care about this holiday. All black? No, that’s way too intentional. Better go with neutral blues. I secretly put on red underwear in the hopes that between now and when I return from class I will meet my one true love, a memory that would be forever tainted if I were wearing my usual period panties.

Third Circle (Gluttony)

I don’t meet my soul mate. I go home, change into sweatpants, and play a fun game with myself called “How quickly can I eat this box of chocolates?” with the box of pity-chocolates my mom sent me. Five-second penalty if you start crying.

Fourth Circle (Greed)

My roommate has foolishly left the chocolates and flowers from her boyfriend on the table. I decide they are mine now. I read myself the valentine, inserting my name wherever is appropriate, and replacing my roommate’s boyfriend’s name with Michael Fassbender. Sploosh.

Sploosh, indeed.

Sploosh, indeed.

Fifth Circle (Wrath)

The roommate slips out of the bathroom. She is freshly showered, hair and makeup all done, and is wearing a dress that shows off her recently-shaved legs. For a moment I am in awe, as I have not done any of these things in weeks. In what I decide is an equivalent effort of grooming, I wipe chocolate stains off my face and onto my pants.

“Have a good night!” The roommate calls as she heads out the door to enjoy an intimate evening with her boyfriend, with whom she shares a healthy, fulfilling relationship. I sizzle with jealousy and rage at her good fortune.

“Thanks!” I reply, without even adding a ‘You too.’ This is the equivalent of saying “Fuck off” in passive-aggressive girl-world. I am an ice-cold bitch. Speaking of ice,

So romantic.

So romantic.

Sixth Circle (Heresy)

Heresy decidedly sounds enough like Hennessy. Time to drink. I pour myself a glass of red wine, take a sip, and immediately decide it’s a vodka shots kind of night. Discovery of the night: wine makes a surprisingly good chaser, at least if you are like me and have the palette of a tongue-amputee.

Seventh Circle (Violence)

The Lonely Hearts and Lonelier Vaginas Club, also known as my other single friends, find their way to my apartment to use my television and drink all my alcohol enjoy my good company. After sometime, I sneak off to a corner with my phone.

“Who are you texting?” One of them calls out to me, noticing I have been silent for a suspicious amount of time. I mumble incoherently.

“WHO are you texting??” When I don’t respond, they snatch my phone away and wrestle me to the ground. One of the Judases reads my text aloud: “heyyy its me i kno we ended thngs onn bad termd haha but i stil love u an mis u. wut r u doin rihgt now?” I lose phone privileges for the rest of the night.

Eighth Circle (Fraud)

“Pfffft, I don’t even want a boyfriend,” I slur as The Notebook plays in the background. “I’m so busy with school and here is where I would add job, IF I HAD ONE. Someone plz hire me  I don’t even have the time for a relationship. I really just need to focus on myself right now.” I make a grab for my phone so I can message the guy on Tinder who asked me “whats gooood” because he might potentially be my soul mate.

Ninth Circle (Treachery)

It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over, Ryan Gosling says before he physically assaults Rachel McAdams’s face with his mouth.

Just like this, you know.  (via

Just like this, you know. (via

“I wish this movie was over,” I announce before making flatulence sounds into my hands to reflect my feelings about the quality of the film. In between my friends’ aww’s and hysterical sobs, I am told to shut up, but I will not be silenced, and add: “Did this movie come out of a litter box? Because that is some pussy shit right there.” After holding a brief conference at the commercial break, I am unanimously voted out of the room and decreed an unfeeling monster that will probably die alone.

“Whatever,” I call as I grab the rest of the vodka and make my exit. “Ryan Gosling isn’t even hot.” Boos resound from the TV room as I crawl into my roommate’s bed. I pull up the covers and inhale deeply, trying to catch a whiff of that intoxicating aroma known as love before drifting off into dreamless sleep.

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