Barring a set of circumstances in which I fall hopelessly in love with a dashing stranger who reciprocates my ardent fervour with similar passion, I will be one of many people in London passing through the Valentine’s Day holiday lacking a so-called significant other.
Which, frankly, is great.
When I was in relationships, I remember a mutual build-up of expectations for the 14th of February. Dinner reservations were made. Presents were ordered online or bought in shops. Special outfits picked out. Maybe even special undies as well. Despite scoffs from both parties that Valentine’s Day wasn’t a big deal, it was annoyingly a big deal. And when it wasn’t a big deal, it was probably a sign the relationship was ready to be put down like the sick ol’ dog it was.
The best Valentine’s Day experience I ever had was when I was single and living in London, as I am now. I went to a Valentine’s Day Ball hosted by Duckie in Battersea, and I went on my own. It was great! I was treated to an array of cabaret acts and other talent, danced with an old man named Sam who tried unsuccessfully to teach me how to fox trot, watched an elderly couple sashay magically through the lobby and participated in a ridiculous conga line while singing the Hokey-Pokey song. It was so cool and so great, I was hoping that Duckie would be having it again this year, but I haven’t been able to find any information on whether they were or not on the internet. However, I did find the video from the year I went. If it’s the same video I had seen previously, there’s a clip of me gushing like an idiot about how great the night was.
So, sadly lacking the option of Duckie, I turn in search of other Valentine’s events that can be fun and interesting for people rockin’ it solo in the Big Smoke. Here are some I’ve found:
A Valentine’s for Everyone – Not only is this a banquet made from food that would have otherwise been wasted, but money from the £40 ticket goes towards the excellent food charity FareShare to provide food for vulnerable people. This event is happening on four different days, and people will be dining with others who’ve shown up. No intimate candle-lit table for two here, but rather what sounds to be an exciting communal dining experience shared for the common good. If you think this sounds amazing but can’t quite afford the £40 to go, why not contact Tom’s Feast and volunteer for the event?
Love and the Art of Living with Roman Krznaric – Oooh, geeky! Leave it to The Idler Academy to give us “a symposium on love” on Valentine’s Day. According to the event page, “Roman will also explain why our ideal of romantic love and finding a soulmate is one of the most disastrous developments in the history of the emotions, a legacy that we need to put firmly behind us.” Do tell. Looks like a similar event will be held by The Idler Academy at Selfridges earlier in the day as part of their Literary workshops for Words Words Words.
How to spend time alone – Seeing as how The School of Life‘s Valentine’s Day event, How Necessary Is A Relationship, has sold out, it’s interesting to see that the 13th’s event still has spaces available and sounds quite charming. If the seminar happens to be at a time that’s inconvenient, I think there are some books at The School of Life’s shop one could get on how to make the most out of solitude.
Sense the City – Although this is an exhibit that’s been going on since the 21st of January, Valentine’s Day makes an interesting time to reflect on one’s place in a big city, especially if you love London. A collaboration with The Londonist and Flickr, see what other people have seen as “the lifeblood of London” and shared at the London Transport Museum. Photos are also available to view on Flickr.
The Food of Love – On Sunday the 12th, Keats House in Hampstead will be having cooking demonstrations and discussions of food regarded as aphrodisiacs throughout history. Free with admission, which is only a fiver.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Showing on Valentine’s Day at the Prince Charles Cinema, but it’ll be extra special as the viewing will be “camped up” with Candy Floss, complete with fancy dress and a special cocktail available at the cinema’s bar. Yes.
If you’re spending the approaching Valentine’s Day alone, I say, be proud! Hold your head up high and have fun! Spite all of those poor sobs blowing their money on gifts for each other by not sitting at home! Rejoice in your independence at doing whatever you damn well please!
If there are any other events you’re aware of that’s singles-friendly, give a shout in the comments below. In the meantime, let’s all have fun while we wait for the Valentine’s chocolate to go on sale.