“How do Jesuits celebrate Valentine’s day?” one of my students asked yesterday. I flipped it back to the kid. “How will you?” Turns out he’s taking his girlfriend a candlelit dinner. Smug little bugger.
But while he enjoys puppy love’s brain-addling endorphin rushes, I won’t let myself descend into jealous self-pity. No, I’ve got my substitute for Cupid’s arrow for you right here. Behold my music-therapy celibate and/or single Valentine’s Day survival list.
Irreplacable by Beyonce
Pride comes first. Beyonce doesn’t need no lover to boost her self-esteem. Why do I?
To Be Alone with You by Sufjan Stevens
I once learned this song to woo a college girlfriend, only to later realize it’s a love song to Our Lord. Now I’m a Jesuit. Go figure.
Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur
And it’s not just Jesus who can be my celibate Valentine. As Mr. Shakur reminds us, there’s no more important woman in any of our lives.
Happy Loving Couples by Joe Jackson
But that familial love will only take you so far. It can’t be a single Valentines Day playlist without at least some resentful, self-pity. And Joe Jackson’s new-wave pop-gem Happy Loving Couples fits the bill.
Sweet Jane by The Velvet Underground
Didn’t think a man of the cloth was going to leave you on a sour note, did you? As much as Joe Jackson’s stomach writhes at the sight of happy loving couples, Lou Reed’s got it right. Any truly loving relationship–even of dull old Jane and Jack–give us a glimpse into that divine and animating love that, even when unacknowlodged in V-Day bitterness and jealousy, makes life worth it. Thanks, Lou. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too.
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Cover image by Portokalis/Shutterstock