Valentine's Day is a holiday with few prescribed traditions, but an intense pressure to go out and do something romantic. The result has been a proliferation of events to suit every taste and every notion of romance. Over the years, the pressure has caused an inevitable backlash, and the anti-Valentine's scene is now almost as extensive. Given the abundance of choices (your corner offie probably has a special night lined up), a complete guide would be exhausting. Here are simply a few interesting ones we've heard tell of, arranged on a spectrum from romantic to defiant.
A (Not Strictly) Viennese Ball, Highbury Roundhouse: Dinner and a few dances with the London Medical Orchestra. Our pick for the true romantics who are going to put a little effort in with tails and gowns — though it's too late to sign up for the accompanying four Saturdays of dancing classes.
Venus and Adonis, Wiltons Music Hall: The earliest surviving English opera, John Blow's mythological rom-com will be accompanied by period instruments in London's last ghostly music hall.
Love in the Forces, RAF Museum: A display of "sweetheart brooches" and love letters from the World Wars; children (and the insufferably twee) can make their own brooch.
An Experiment In Kissing, Dana Centre: Drive the scientist in your life wild with explorations into pheromones, the mechanics of kissing, and psychomusicology, concluding with an application of experimental findings in a mass kiss-in.
The Valentine's Day Prom, Buffalo Bar: For some people, there's nothing that turns them to jelly like the 80s. Don't ask us.
Animal Magnetism, The Grant Museum: Our favourite cabinet of zoological curiosities invites us in for pre-dinner drinks and some relationship advice from our animal kin.
Traffic Light Ball, Guanabara: A party attempting to unite those of every Facebook status: wear green if you're available, red if you're taken, or yellow if, as they say, "it's complicated." It's doubtful how well the system will hold up, but we predict chaos and drama of the most entertaining sort.
Stylish Riots, Barfly Camden: This Filter Magazine party aims to put the VD back in Valentine's Day with a night of raunch featuring bands like the Soho Dolls and the Sexual Hot Bitches. Sounds like one for the bitter, with ex-lover voodoo dolls and a have-an-affair room.
Anti-Valentines Party, Penderel's Oak Cellar: The London Vampyre Group take up the battle of black against pink with their Lost Boys-themed rebels' night.
Loss, The Tabernacle: On Friday the 13th, the Last Tuesday Society are bringing back the perennial favourite of broken hearts, promising all the Most Miserable and Depressing Performances. Misery is not optional: the Smile Police will be levying on-the-spot fines, and those who are still susceptible to the fleeting follies of joy are advised to spend some time in the House of Tears, chopping onions.
Photo courtesy of Simon Crubellier via the Londonist Flickrpool.