Valentine's Day is the new New Years Eve. That is to say, society at large has reached the conclusion that it is over-rated and terminally anti-climatic. When did we all get such grandiose expectations of this one day invented by Clintons? At secondary school all I got on February 14th was a dog poo in a crisp packet, and I was grateful.
Last year, I spent the 14th having lunch in Paris before promulgating my bodily fluids all over the 6th carriage of the Eurostar (which introduces a whole new dilemma to one's sexual repertoire: who takes the wet spot when you're on public transport?). Impressive though that was, this year my prospects are slight more limited. The last date I indulged was not romantically forthcoming. I detected a flicker of potential intimacy when, mid-way through dinner, the guy looked upset.
“What's wrong?” I enquired, concerned, and also keen to unearth some vulnerability to exploit. “I'm not 100% sure” he responded “but I think the guy behind you just farted.”
Romantic, right? Despite those sorts of comments he has the uncanny ability to make me want to listen to Lana Del Rey and cry-wank while sniffing a stolen lock of his hair. So I'm determined to pursue him with a fail-safe date plan....
An oldie but a goodie, the cinema
A date once took me to see a film and he cried. Because “that shot was too beautiful.” I'm sooo fine with men having feelings and stuff, but if you cry on a date you will definitely not get fucked. Side-note: This theory works the complete other way round for girls. Anyway, rather than paying £17 each to dodge horny adolescents at your local Odeon, try a romantic French Woody Allen-inspired comedy at the Phoenix Cinema. You wont be able to talk much during the movie portion of this date (although I've given it a test-run and the seats at the Phoenix are roomy enough for a finger-bang) so don't forget to sit down, have a drink, and do the obligatory 'date night' small-talk. Or you could just...
I know we're all adults here, but who doesn't occasionally have a habit of getting either tongue-tied or verbally incontinent around people they find super hot? Go Silent Dating, where talking is forbidden and all correspondence is exchanged via the stealthy passing of notes. It's the new 'dinner in the dark' dating fad that could either wind up to be a magical start or a wet fart. Worth the risk?
Not technically a date, but I know a tonne of people who would get aroused by the idea of a meat bouquet on Valentine's Day. This edible arrangement is bursting with traditional Spanish hams, edible flowers, chorizo, sliced salchichon and serrano ham. It looks a bit gross but tastes great. Available across the UK, via La Tasca Restaurants. It's £60 a bunch of meat.
Lower her expectations...
...by introducing her to a venue buffeted by cab and kebab shops in a scruffy corner of Whitechapel. The world’s oldest music hall Wilton's is the epitome of faded grandeur. Though now vaguely derelict, it evokes a long-gone era inhabited by the couples who courted within its walls since 1858. Concerts, plays and cabarets are still regularly held at the boozer, and on most weekdays musicians perform free old-fashioned east-end tunes in the cosy Mahogany Bar.
A conversation starter for the open-minded (or an over-intellectualised excuse to stare at boobs), La Freak: Corrupting Miss Valentine is a showcase of seductive imagery in an artistic light. Exploring the art of lurve making at Dalston Boys Club, guests roam between a 1930s cocktail bar and screening room, where they can fill up on hand-rolled menthols, liquorice cigarettes, champagne and desserts. Gentlemen are only allowed to attend if they are accompanied by a lady, so don't worry about being surrounded by a crowd of pervy anoraks rolling in off the high street. As the organiser Madame Julieta explains: “Apart from the aesthetic being one of power and beauty, its a political night, where women become the subject of the porn rather than the object.”