So. Not sure if I’m one hundred percent the right person to go to for Valentine’s Day advice. It’s not that I don’t like Valentine’s Day (I do, I think!) I just haven’t really celebrated it in a traditional sense. This is due to a few things. 

1. I’m chronically unlucky in love. I like to think of myself as “Jennifer Aniston adjacent” (minus the marriages) but that might be an over-exaggeration of how cool I am, which leads me to my next point. 

2. The Boston Science Fiction Film Festival is held around Valentine’s Day every year and for 24 hours straight, I’d watch all sorts of Sci-Fi with 750 lovely people at Somerville Theatre in Massachusetts. I participated in this bizarre endurance test for years and at that point in time, it was my greatest love.

3. During our college years, my best friend, Kara, and I spent one Valentine’s Day crying because life can be cruel and unusual. The following year we saw Kathy Griffin at The Symphony in Boston, and some years after we’d just spend it hanging in her bedroom (pictured above). 

So long blurb short, I’m typically just straight-up scattered on this holiday.

But let’s focus. Finding ways to celebrate and nurture self-love, family-love, pet-love, friend-love, partner(s)-love is very necessary (I have to shout out this Salt ‘N’ Pepa album at least once a year) but who knows how and when, especially in our timeline. Therefore, I would like to offer up a few affordable ideas that may guide you through the holiday.

Oh, the ol’ wine and paint. At this point, it’s rarer to find someone who hasn’t participated in one and for good reason…they are fun! (Full disclosure: I’ve only attended one wine and paint and I definitely almost broke up with the person I was seeing at the time because wine and paint nights are not for people who secretly hate each other. They are for people who enjoy each other’s company.) Paint and Vino in Pawtucket is King. They hold events year-round and so, so many in February. Their Valentine’s Day theme is “Always Kiss Me Goodnight” and you can attend the class in person or via Zoom in a “Virtual Couples Session”. They provide materials either way. $35. Also, romance is not necessary. You can couple up with your favorite pod person or pet and, if they’re into it, kiss THEM goodnight. 

Food is my love language. I like using Valentine’s Day to make dishes I’ve never made before. If you enjoy cooking, I suggest making February 14th a test kitchen day. The first year I did this I made homemade chicken nuggets and rice krispie treats. I advance a little each year and it’s fun to challenge myself by making something new. If you’re spending your day with somebody else, furry or otherwise, share the challenge or make them something they enjoy. My cat nephew loves pop-tarts although I can’t endorse that entree for animals. Pro Tip: Make a Valentine’s Day playlist of songs you and your company love and now you have a soundtrack to your evening.

If food is your love language but you want to leave it to the professionals then, lucky for you, you live in the greatest food capital in the country! You won’t have any trouble finding delicious things to eat this Valentine’s Day but as a recent transplant to the East Bay whose blood type is “marshmallow,”  I DO have to highlight The Beehive Cafe’s Hot Date Dessert Nights. Not to be dramatic but…abandon all hopelessness, ye who enter here. TBC is heaven on Earth.
I also want to mention Pizza Marvin in Fox Point because their pizza is the best I’ve had in many moons. Two words: pepperoni cups. For Valentine’s Day, their special includes two apps, a salad, a bottle of wine, flowers, and pizza. $75. Boom. 

I like a good itinerary. I’ve been making them a lot over the last 10 months or so, to keep the mundane from consuming my spirit. On Saturdays I watch documentaries, on Sundays, I cook “homestyle”, on Mondays I listen to new music, and so on and/or forth. 2/14 can get this treatment as well. Now, self-care is a privilege. My life is like that episode of The Twilight Zone (Time Enough at Last) where the H bomb explodes and the only thing that’s left is the dude in glasses all hyped because he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. That’s basically me, well, before the glasses break. 

But the itinerary is useful. It helps make space. Give yourself a date day. What is something you can do for yourself (or others) from 10am-11:30am, from 1pm-5pm? It doesn’t matter what it is but it should not be errands or work and if it must include those things, please listen to something you love or snack on something delicious while doing them. Safely explore your town or city, explore a new RI town or city, stay home and read or watch something that makes you laugh or cry. Whatever you need. I’ll be watching The Sopranos. Do you want to eat cookies for breakfast or bread all day? You obviously should. Do you want to spend your afternoon dancing to your favorite music in your ugliest bathrobe? Welcome to my Wednesday afternoons. If your ideal Valentine’s Day itinerary states that you’re not leaving bed until it’s time to switch the game out of your SNES (this is all I know) then so be it. Schedule phone calls or virtual hangs with your GOATs, or don’t. You know how you live and you deserve to love and celebrate exactly how you choose, even if it’s just straight-up scattered.