It all started with a few animal getting sacrificed and a few girls getting whipped (okay, well probably a lot of them). Yes friends, Valentine's Day was originally known in pre-Roman times as Lupercalia, a pagan festival held in mid-February, where goats would be sacrificed and women would be lightly tortured in order to help along their fertility(?), health(?) and purify the city(again: ?). It's basically the archaic, messed up, roughly 2000-year-old version of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Later on, in an attempt to sanctify the day, the Roman Catholic church rebranded the day as Saint Valentine's Day. The saint in question was a priest who, against state orders, married young lovers so that the husbands wouldn't have to go to war. The emperor sent him to prison where the young newlyweds would bring him flowers and notes. During his prison stay he also fell in love with the prison keeper's daughter. On the day of his execution, February the 14th, he sent her a letter signed 'Your Valentine'. Thus, a murky semi-popular but not really celebrated tradition was born.
It was only in the mid-1800s that Valentine's Day began to boom thanks to Richard Cadbury (yes, from the chocolate family). The maverick ingeniously decided to package chocolates in a heart-shaped box for Valentine's Day one year, boosting V-Day's popularity (and commerciality) into the stratosphere as well as cementing chocolate's role as an essential V-Day gift.
So, for those of you who would like to celebrate this day of love - whether alone, with a friend or lover, we've made a little list of activities for you to indulge in come Saturday.
Are you feeling more untouched than the last slice of pizza in a room full of over-polite people? Or are you just one those people perpetually rolling from one set of duvet sheets to the next and kind of screwed for Valentine's Day because demand's in the dozens and supply's only one? We have a solution, potentially: embrace solitude. And once you're done embracing it, treat yourself to one of the following activity options below:
Quite possibly the best anti-Valentine's Day event in town, The Break Up is a marathon play which is literally about characters breaking up. Better yet, you're invited to live tweet a la Kyle Ayers for the duration of the six-hour play.
If six hours is a bit overwhelming (kind of like your last relationship), you can take breaks from said fictional break up to have a drink (or a few) at the quaint theatre bar outside. However, if you prefer to stay buckled in for the whole show we recommend smuggling in a hip flask.
Have a voyeuristic trip into an imaginary S&M relationship, go on. Conveniently coming out in theatres the Thursday before Valentine's Day, watching the brilliantly marketed Fifty Shades of Grey movie at the cinemas is an ideal little dark popcorn-filled nest to hide your single-as face for 100 minutes of the day. Top it off with Fifty Shades of Buscemiand you'll only need to find activities to fill the remaining 23 hours, 18 minutes and 41 seconds of the day spent alone. Easy.
Go to the Gym
Guaranteed to be empty around late afternoon/early evening on Saturday - meaning no queues and no waiting to use the damn cross-trainer because the workout routine of some stick with a bouncy, mid-length ponytail involves using the cross-trainer for an hour every time (every time) you turn up to the gym no matter the hour. Tonight the gym is yours, my friend. Go release some endorphins.
Note: For those who don't like physically exerting themselves in a musty room generously perfumed with the smell of old sweat, a Les Mills outdoor GRIT class is a nice alternative.
It's Valentine's Day and you're on there, they're on there, you're both tired of loving with nobody to love... swipe right we say, and then take them to F*ck Love at 1885 for two for one drinks. This technically cheats the concept of being 'forever alone' on V-day, but whatever. Be safe though, kids.
Continue With Your Normal Routine
Whisper to yourself "it's just another day" as you take an early morning trip to the supermarket, where you discover the flower section mysteriously stripped bare, only to then later that same day see said missing flowers turn up by the hundreds on your Instagram feed (#iloveyoubae). Make yourself a healthy dinner and read some Nabokov. Wake up the following day unscathed.
Look, things are complicated. It's not that you're alone, it's not that you're together, things just are. And also, even if this thing was a thing-thing it's not that either of you are into the full-blown dozen roses and diamonds kind of thing anyway. We've got you, and so does Auckland city this weekend.
Comedy shows are great because they're so borderline in classification that you can blissfully pretend that things are platonic when they may or may not be. Basically it's a sexy wolf in platonic sheep's clothing. Although it may also just be a platonic sheep in platonic sheep's clothing. You just don't know. We're just surprised this non-date date hasn't been written into every human being's playbook by now.
Know what else is happening this Saturday and doesn't involve red heart-shaped paraphernalia? New Years, not the Western variety obviously, but the Chinese one - which to be fair has way better food, cultural and artistic offerings.
It's a party. The perfect party in fact, according to the event's promoters. We have no way of confirming this matter until a later date, but what we do know is that there will be sun, it will be on an island, and there will be a great range of top quality food and drinks (think Bedford Soda and Bird on a Wire) to get acquainted with. So yeah, sounds pretty perfect to us.
You're on a kayak. The ocean's your carpet. Little penguins dive nearby. Seagulls zoom overhead in the blue sky. And now there's an island to climb in front of you. Oh look, a view of Auckland city.
Sheesh, if you take your date here you'll be raking in the brownie points.
For those who want, no, need to have their lives resemble an Old Spice ad we have a few suggestions (besides covering your significant other's bed in red rose petals, drinking champagne, riding horses with the egg yolk-like sunset behind you and just generally holding hands and nuzzling each other).