Oh most hated time of the year for single people everywhere, thy name is Valentine's Day. Every restaurant and park we enter is full of couples, publically flaunting dreadful sensations like joy and romance. Every shop is filled to the brim with red and pink reminders of the fact that we are unlovable creatures at the bottom of a deep, dark and lonely sea. It's enough to make us crawl back into the safe haven of our beds so we can bask in a blanket of tissues until the godforsaken day is over. But why should we singletons suffer just because we don't have someone else's sweaty hand to hold? Being dateless on Valentine's Day doesn't have to suck, and we've got plenty of ways for you to spend it lover-free in the great city of Chiang Mai. So stretch out of the fetal position, put the tub of ice cream back in the freezer, and pull up your pants. The day is yours.
1. Ride a tandem bicycle by yourself. Yeah, that's right, by yourself. You'll get a really good workout from the added weight of the bike. For extra fun, look behind you at a stoplight and say, "Damn, he fell off again!" Enjoy the looks of bewilderment.
2. Host an anti-Valentine's day party. Decorate with black balloons, wilted flowers, and broken-heart cookies. If you're really into the theme of tragedy, stick a knife into some stuffed animals. (What? Too much?) Invite your friends to dress the part too, from black suits to black lace. The only thing that should be red is the copious amounts of wine.
3. Climb Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand, and scream as loud as you possibly can. It may feel weird at first (and it certainly will look weird) but there's no better road to catharsis.
4. All those pent-up feelings? It's time to vent! Grab a mike and croon forlornly to R.E.M.'s 'Everybody Hurts' or Roy Orbison's 'Crying'. Then amp up the fury with Alanis Morissette's 'You Oughta Know' or Cee-Lo's 'F*ck You'. We suggest Loco Elvis, which has a selection of 167,000 tunes and a guaranteed audience of appreciative tourists.
5. Patron, techno, trippy strobe lights: all the ingredients that make Zoe in Yellow a hotbed for attractive backpackers, and make backpackers ready for a hot bed. Sit in the mellow garden with a Mai Tai and perve away, because being single gives you license to ogle (and snog) whomever you please.
6. Valentine's Day falls on a Thursday this year, and Sangdee Gallery just so happens to host an open mic night every Thursday. Write an angsty poem, song, story, whatever you like, and bear your bitter soul to a sympathetic audience. www.sangdee.org
7. Visit the haunted house on the northwest corner of the moat. Rumour has it some lunatic chopped his wife into a thousand pieces there and her ghost still haunts the place. Why don't you ask her how she feels about love?
Two words: cat gifs. Embrace the role of crazy cat lady (or man), sit back, and enjoy, because love is fleeting, but cats on the internet are forever. Check out www.iheartcatgifs.tumblr.com for the ultimate collection.
You are single, who cares how many calories you stuff into your face? Those wobbly bits are all yours to enjoy. Go and learn how to bake a decadent Valentine's cake for one at UFM Bakery. There are 20 different recipes to choose from and classes take place every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (www.ufmeducation.com) If you're feeling like a princess (or prince) and can't be bothered to bake, have one specially made and delivered to you from SugarTree, which does catering for birthdays and parties, but really, who needs a reason for cake? (www.sugartree.co.th)
10. Head to the Mae Rim Shooting Range armed with photos of every ex-lover who has ever spurned you. Gear up. Get in position. Ready, aim, fire! Satisfaction guaranteed. www.maerim-shootingrange.com
11. Have an impromptu sexy solo photo shoot. Just because no one else is around to enjoy it doesn't mean you shouldn't flaunt what your mama gave you (and then preserve it for posterity or the occasional vanity check). Citylife's own photo editor has sacrificed his precious skills and time for many a hot half-naked office girl, and would be more than happy to add you to his private portfolio.
12. Sign up for an online dating site and don't discriminate. It's the one night of the year you're allowed to lower your standards. Who knows? You might get lucky and if not, there's always hilterboy69 or bender0ver.
13. Who needs a partner to give you a mediocre massage when you can give yourself a magnificent one? Take a six-hour course at the Intellectual Development Institute and learn the rather convenient art of the self-massage. www.idithaimassage.com
14. Stage your own St. Valentine's Day massacre...for mosquitos. All you need is an electric mozzie racket and a flashlight. Spray on a sweet-smelling scent and watch those suckers flock in. Hear that sizzle as they fry to death? So satisfying.