I was never one to follow rules. But when it comes to Eli Rallo, I’ll make the exception. Eli Rallo, known as @thejarr on TikTok, is a writer, content creator, and podcast host with over 1 million followers across her social media platforms. Additionally, her debut novel, I Didn’t Know I Needed This, is set to release in the fall of 2023.
But followers, projects, and accolades aside, Rallo’s kind of the internet’s big sister: Her videos make you feel like you’re talking to your cool and experienced friend. And, for many of her fans, her viral rule lists serve as coming-of-age commandments for all things dating, sex, and young adult life.
In honor of the season of love, Rallo tells Her Campus all about her rules for having the perfect Valentine’s Day. Come one, come all: Single, taken, and everything in-between, here’s what Rallo wants you to know about Valentine’s Day, including the gift she really wants for herself. (Hint: It’s like, $10 at Urban Outfitters.)
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What are two things that are in and out this Valentine’s Day?
I would say going out to dinner, out. Hating Valentine’s Day, out. Galentine’s Day and a handmade card are in this year.
Why is going out to dinner “out?”
Valentine’s Day, I think, is the second most popular day to go to a restaurant — the first is Mother’s Day. It’s really interesting that everyone gravitates toward going out when Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a romantic, intimate holiday. Going out to dinner, while it can be so intimate, can be so overwhelming on the most crowded day of the year when they’re trying to do as many tables as possible. I also grew up in restaurants, so I’m well-versed in the process.
Especially getting dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day — you have to do that months and months in advance.
A lot of times it’s prix fixe menus. A lot of times you have to put down a deposit for your table. It just is so chaotic. I think it’s even more romantic to get your favorite takeout or cook together or something like that.
So, if I do have a date this Valentine’s Day, what should I wear?
Good question. When we have a holiday, we have to lean into it in some way. And I’m not saying that you have to wear red or pink, but whatever makes you feel sexy and confident and flirty. It’s the holiday to feel that way, whether you’re single, whether you’re taken, no matter what. A little slip dress with a blazer or a leather jacket and tights and heels is really cute. You could go for a really soft pink sweater with jeans and boots. You have options, but I would 100% recommend leaning into it, because when else do you get to really go hard on a theme? I love a theme.
It’s really whatever makes you feel sexy. So, if what makes you feel sexy is jeans and your favorite black top, that’s what you should wear. It is kind of fun to lean into the fanfare of it all. Why not?
Definitely. Wear hearts all over like when you were a kid, with little matching barrettes. Noted.
It’s so cute. I love it.
The aesthetic of Valentine’s Day is unmatchable. So, let’s say my date and I are going out for drinks. Do you have a go-to drink that you should order on a date?
I have two options. My go-to drink order on a date, even with my long-term serious boyfriend, is a glass of prosecco. I think it’s so sophisticated and chic. It’s celebratory, and typically, they’ll be prosecco or champagne by the glass on the menu that’ll be $12 to $14.
But if you’re more of a liquor gal, order a sexy, spicy margarita. Tequila’s an upper, so it keeps the energy up.
Why did that make me thirsty?
You’re like, I want one now. They’re so good.
For people that don’t have dates, what should they do instead of the traditional romantic Valentine’s Day?
For all of us, whether we’re coupled up or single, the No. 1 love that’s the most important in the world is the love that we have for ourselves. No matter who you are, you should really be thinking about what you want to do on Valentine’s Day. Do you want to see your friends and have a girl’s night — get wine, watch a rom-com, and make snacks? Or do you want to take yourself on a little date? Going out to dinner by yourself, or getting your favorite takeout, laying in bed, and just hanging out with your vibrator?
I feel like you have to ask yourself, what do I want to do? The world is your oyster.
Give me a self-love rule for Valentine’s Day.
Remember to treat yourself. Obviously, you’re going to expect your partner or your friends to treat you with a gift and flowers and all those things, but people aren’t mind-readers. So, if there’s something that you have your eye on, buy it for yourself.
Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day memory?
I write about this in my book, but I didn’t really have a Valentine until my current boyfriend. It’s always been my favorite holiday because it was my grandma’s birthday, but there’s always been a faux pas: I broke up with my ex-boyfriend on Valentine’s Day, my crush gave me a valentine in my locker when I was 13 and I freaked out and ran off. So, when I finally had my first good Valentine’s Day and a great valentine, I felt like it was the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae that I was already really excited about. Finally getting to have a really romantic Valentine’s Day was really special.
What should I buy my besties, though?
This is the most fun because let’s face it: You see all these cute Valentine’s Day gift guides and you know that your boyfriend is not buying that stuff.
He probably will buy you flowers, chocolate, jewelry, a teddy bear. He’ll do all the right things, but he is not going to buy you the adorable, heart-shaped waffle maker. So, I think you have to get your friends those things.
I’m doing Galentine’s gifts for my girlfriends, and I did little baby vibrators and pink pajama sets. If you see really cute Valentine’s Day fuzzy socks or boxers or chocolate that they love, get that. There are so many things that are under $20. That waffle maker is $9.99. I think about it every year. No one’s ever bought it for me.
You’re fixated on that waffle maker. Someone buy Eli a waffle maker.
It’s pink, it makes one heart-shaped waffle. It’s so cute.
Any rules for situationships on Valentine’s Day?
I always say this: No label, no gift. That’s just the easiest way to do it. And do not feel guilty if that person buys you a gift and you didn’t get them anything. You’re not their girlfriend. They’re not getting girlfriend behavior on a sneaky link salary. They’re not.
I love that.
Write them a card. Give them a cupcake that you guys can share or a bottle of wine if you really feel like you have to and you don’t want to show up empty-handed. But if you are not his girlfriend, there is no need for a gift.
What about a date?
Wait for their cue. I don’t necessarily believe the “if they wanted to, they would,” I believe if “they wanted to, they could.” Meaning, if someone wants to, they could find a way to make it work. They know the date. They’ve walked through a CVS or a Target. They know that it’s going to be Valentine’s Day. They have seen advertisements about it. Do not make excuses. People know when holidays are coming up. People aren’t ridiculous.
If you really want to go on a Valentine’s date, and you see yourself dating this person, ask them, “What are you up to on Valentine’s Day?” Just see what they say. If you really want to go out on a date, you might as well ask.