It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Was Charles Dickens writing about a tumultuous 18th century France, or offering commentary on the simultaneously most loved and most hated holiday in the United States of America?

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Stores are stocking up on candy and roses, schools are offering their annual candy grams and we cynical young adults are actively trying to pretend we hate the holiday while secretly wishing someone would give us a reason to get free food.

If you ARE lucky enough to snag a Valentine’s Day date, however, there are a few different ways the situation could play out. Whether you’re dating long distance or you find yourself waking up a little too close to someone you barely know the next morning, here are some dates you may find yourself having this Valentine’s Day.

Making it work over the miles

What is 1400 miles to true love? Here you are, one of those brave souls trying to keep the flame lit halfway across the world, but unable to afford a plane ticket this year.  Luckily true love knows no bounds, and neither does Skype. You set up a time to get on Skype, order yourself a pizza, pour a well-deserved glass of wine and light some candles. The minute you see his face on the screen of your new 15” Macbook Pro Retina Display, your surroundings melt away and the only thing you can focus on is his smile. Your roommates may be faking a good time on their last-minute Valentine’s Day dates, but there you sit knowing that the miles don’t matter when it comes to the love of your life.

Straight out of a rom-com

He picks you up two minutes before he says he will, and actually comes up to your door. Instead of a text that lets you know he is out front, he walks you from your apartment to his car, and swings your door open for you while he’s at it. No need to tell him beforehand where you want to go to dinner--he already knows, and made reservations three weeks in advance to assure you got the perfect corner table. After picking out the perfect wine, grabbing the check and pulling the car around for you at the end of dinner, he takes you to his favorite scenic overlook. You talk about your dreams and aspirations for a while, then share a kiss while the city lights shine in the background. When he drops you off , he walks you to your doorstep and kisses your forehead, politely saying what a great time he had. He turns on his way back to the car and watches you walk into your building to make sure you are home safe.

He tried, but definitely failed

He asked you out three days ago. You were lonely. You agreed. Now you’re hopping in his car, going to a “surprise” restaurant that he told you will be a lot of “fun”. That hopeful feeling you had at the start of the date quickly plummets into a feeling of regret as soon as you realize he is pulling in to Hooters. Not only did he bring you to a total dude restaurant, but he knows a few of the scantily-clad waitresses by name and is shamelessly greeting them as he walks you in. Appalled by the fact that he thought this would actually a good idea, you try and shrug off the negative vibes and tell yourself it could still be fun. After the $23 dinner he so graciously splurged on, he takes you to play mini golf. That would be fun if you were in middle school, or really hammered right now, but you are neither. In an attempt to avoid the awkward post-date kiss, you hop out of his car and wave goodbye before he can tell you how much fun he had. You practically run for your door and sigh with relief when you get inside.

The accident

You honestly thought that he just wanted to do chem homework with you. It turns out that you have unknowingly committed yourself to breakfast and a mid-morning hike as well. You should have seen the signs earlier, but for some reason it just now hit you that you're on a date. And he is really, really into you. Looking back on the situation, your cute little smiley emojis may have been a bit misleading. But come on, are you really to blame? There are just so many things that call for a smiley. Like that one time he blew up your Snapchat with cute pics and videos of him and his little cousin. Wait, was he only doing that because he knows girls love a guy who is good with kids? Damn. This is more serious than you thought. Oh well, at least your fried egg sandwich was on him.

Taking yourself out

It’s February 14, and Prince Charming doesn’t seem to be riding to your apartment complex on his trusty steed. Not to worry--you are a strong, confident, independent woman who can most definitely be her own Prince Charming. Who needs a man to buy you dinner, anyway? You are more than content using that hard-earned paycheck from your internship at a local start-up to treat yourself this Valentine’s day. Time to call Milk & Honey and schedule that massage-facial combo, and order ahead to Hopdoddy (truffle fries and a stout chocolate milkshake as well, please) so you have some food to eat while watching Sleepless in Seattle later. The best part? No strangers in your bed the next morning. You may have gained five pounds from all the food you consumed while binge-watching reruns of The Bachelor, but it’s better than an incurable Valentine’s Day hangover.

Hung-over in a dumpster  

Three shots in and ready to mingle, you head downtown with your girls to see what the meat market is selling on 6th for Valentine’s Day. After sipping on some margs from Chupacabra, you find your inner rock star and make your way over to the frat daddy chilling at the bar. You don’t mind that he keeps blatantly flashing his platinum card every time he orders you another Tequila Sunrise, and you don’t much care to find out where your friends have disappeared to, either. You’re young, you’re hot and you’re going home with this rando (wait… he’s getting more attractive!) once you black out. You wake up to a different Tequila sunrise in the morning, the kind that includes far less liquid confidence and much more searing head pain. You raid his medicine cabinet for some Tylenol, ditch his hung-over ass and head back to your own place, only feeling like you’re going to hurl every 30 paces or so.  

No matter what kind of date you find yourself on this Valentines Day (and who you find with yourself on the date with), you can rest easy knowing that tomorrow is half-priced candy day.