Last Valentine’s was my most romantic yet. It was my second in a row single and my chef friend had used her leftover photo shoot ingredients to lovingly prepare four friends an Italian three-course feast. She had scrawled a love note in lipstick on the dining room mirror and even cut out paper hearts as table settings with our initials on: LT 4 HS etc. The only male present was an anxious Cavapoo who barked over our conversation for an hour straight. Boys, eh?
Though this year I’d really like to avoid any of the commercial fanfare altogether. The adverts for romantic getaways, dine in for two placards and heart-shaped everything. It all just gives me the ick. Galentine’s is just as bad: celebrated on the 13th, it allows coupled-up ‘gals’ to time split their romantic energy between both dates. But I suspect it’s really so that white wine-drunk gangs aren’t screeching over the hordes of couples munching their way through a double-priced menu, trying to bestow just the right number of platitudes on their date.
It’s tough enough out there for us singles without feeling unwelcome in restaurants or excluded from meal deals. On top of the headlines declaring ‘the apps’ are dead and full of soft bois, there’s now a real risk your date might take a leaf out of Paul Mescal’s book and literally run away. The reasons to shield yourself from V-Day are manyfold.
If you plan to follow suit, preparation is key. It’s a happy coincidence that I’m single for another 14 February. However, if you have managed to orchestrate a string of successful dates, consider calling it off now, or try feigning a work trip conveniently falling over the offending dates, with a bit of buffer. Be sure to say you’re going off grid.
Go off-grid, delete Instagram, avoid the supermarket confectionery aisle at all costs.
Then it’s time to safeguard yourself online: consider unsubscribing from any newsletters that might bombard your inbox with offers on sexy lingerie, bouquets or ‘exclusive’ discounts for two. You might wish to delete Instagram for the same reason. And avoid the supermarket confectionery aisle at all costs. Sugar cravings can wait.
As for the day itself, your best bet is to work from home to avoid any festivities, but if your boss does insist you trudge in, forewarn your colleagues you won’t be indulging in any gossip about their night’s plans. Politely ask that all deliveries be unboxed out of your eyeline.
For added safety, consider adopting a look that demands that no one engage with you. Fashion’s current obsession, the mob wife aesthetic, seems ideal; fabulous but formidable. And importantly, like the partner of someone who would be very unforgiving about undue attention.
As for the evening, the cinema is a great place to hide out in low lighting. Given that the synopsis for Oscar-nominated Anatomy of a Fall reads, ‘A woman is suspected of her husband’s murder’, it’s a no-brainer for avoiding couples. Or rent it from home for the opportunity to gorge on something that can’t be eaten in polite company, perhaps a very spicy curry and a garlic naan. Bonus: you’ll have consumed enough empty carbs to send you into a delightful food coma in time for bed. Et voila: you’re ready to resume normal life on the 15th.