A Non-Romantic’s Guide to Valentine’s Day with Portia MacIntosh

Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone. Whether you are single, taken, or ‘it’s complicated’, some people just aren’t down for the lovey-dovey day.

Can’t be bothered with cards? Is heart-shaped chocolate the one chocolate you find easy to turn down? Don’t fancy a 14th February date night with all the other couples? You’re not alone – or maybe you are and that’s the problem. Either way, you can still get a kick out of Valentine’s Day, without doing all the romantic junk you think you’re supposed to do.

Do keep in mind you can do all of this with your partner if you want to – on the first Valentine’s Day I spent with my now fiancé we watched Gone Girl, and we worked out just fine.


Turn on the TV and bask in other people’s romantic misery

There are plenty of movies out there with not much/nothing at all to do with romance, so plenty of things to watch on TV. But, if you want to be on brand for the day, then why not watch something that is actually sort of anti-love?

Marriage Story (starring the amazing Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) tells the tale of a marriage falling to pieces and a family trying to stay together when things get ugly. Closer, one of my favourite movies (which boasts an all-star cast of just four incredible actors: Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Julia Roberts), is an honest-to-God look at relationships, showing the mess, the mistakes, the consequences and the potentially life-ruining things we can do in a heartbeat. Moulin Rouge is great, if you like crying, and asking someone for a tissue, only for them to tear your heart out and hand it to you to dry your eyes with.

And then, if you’re really not feeling the day, stick on My Bloody Valentine. Sometimes a Valentine’s Day massacre (starting the gorgeous Jensen Ackles) is all you need.


Go on a date… a weird date

Don’t be afraid to go outside. Grab your partner/best friend/anyone you want to spend time with, and head out. Sure, restaurants, bars, cinemas, etc. will be overflowing with couples, who are overflowing with love for one another, but there are plenty of places you can go instead. Go somewhere where it is guaranteed to be just you and whoever you invite – like an escape room (no one feels romantic when they’re falling out over padlocks) or a private karaoke booth (strictly no ballads allowed).

For a real anti V-Day treat, look up one-off events in your area. For example, in Leeds, the Thackray Medical Museum has been known to host anti-Valentine’s Day events – last year you could watch them dissect a human heart.


If music be the food of love, switch tracks

You don’t have to look far to find incredible artists to listen to who have a sort of unconventional (and yet far more relatable) approach to matters of the heart.

The beyond brilliant Alex Cameron has some absolutely fantastic, catchy tracks addressing all things love – even things you might not have thought of (listen to ‘Divorce’, ‘Miami Memory’ and ‘Gaslight’).

Father John Misty is another talented storywriter with a flare for painting a brutally honest love story (listen to ‘Please Don’t Die’, ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ and ‘The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.’.)

And if all else fails, there’s always girl power. Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’, Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, Carly Rea Jepsen’s ‘Boy Problems’ and ‘Doves in the Wind’ by SZA.

Portia MacIntosh’s latest novel, Make or Break at the Lighthouse B&B, is out 14th Feb and you can get it here.

For more from Portia, visit www.portiamacintosh.com.

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