Deborah Ross: Go on, spread a little love on yourself

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, as you will persist in doing, probably because I am in possession of such great wisdom – so much, in fact, that I often have to express the excess and keep it in bottles in the fridge – this Valentine's Day business can be a cruel thing for the single person. However, by following this wise advice, which I took out earlier so it would be served at room temperature, you should just about survive it:

Send yourself a selection of cards. The ideal number is probably three – a romantic one, an arty one, and a sexy one, just to prove to yourself what you've known all along: that you have across-the-board appeal. Do remember, though, to disguise the handwriting as half the fun is guessing who your admirers might be.

You may even want to use a letterbox some distance from home so the postmark throws you and you can hold it up to the light while exclaiming: 'But I don't know anyone in Staines!'

Surprise yourself when you get home in the evening with an unexpected meal. This can be achieved by doing an Ocado shop while blindfolded. 'This way,' says one woman, 'you never know what you are going to get.

Last year, I sat down to tinned tomatoes served on a roll of bin liners accompanied by a bag of six large oranges. It was seriously surprising.'

As a way of saying thank-you, don't feel obliged to have sex with yourself afterwards but, having gone to so much trouble, you may find you want to anyhow.

Should you opt to buy yourself some lingerie as a gift, and don't know your exact size, you may need to describe yourself in some detail to the sales lady.

Don't be shabby, present it to yourself in a nice box lined with tissue paper and do try to look pleased even if it's a nasty red thong of the kind you know you are going to return the next day. (You'd think, after all these years, you'd have picked up on what you like, wouldn't you?)

If you work in an office, send yourself a rose on the hour, every hour, and finish every phone call with: 'And I love you too, darling.'

If you don't work in an office and are at home all day, tie a huge pink ribbon around a car in the street and then, every so often, step outside to gasp ecstatically: 'He must love me so much!' before returning inside.

Your neighbours will never refer to you as 'that mad old spinster' ever again unless it is their car, in which case I'm afraid the game is up.

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