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Alternative Valentine's for Lovers and Haters

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VALENTINES DAY
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Enamoured by amour? Sick of schmaltz? Or just indifferent to 'involvement'? Whatever your take on V-Day and your Facebook relationship status, there are plenty of alternative options for you in the love-and-hate-struck city of London.

For cynical singles

Embrace the hate with a big group of chums with Speed Hating, an alternative anti-love speed dating event, suitable for "males and females aged 1-100". So if you're not into chocolates (saturated fat), flowers (dead vegetation) or poetry (clichéd messages written by somebody else), then why not spend Valentine's Day directing some loathing towards the vile creature sat opposite you (and I don't mean your boss).

Speed Hating, The Blues Kitchen, Camden, NW1 7JN. Thursday, 14th February, 7pm - 1am

For amorous couples

France and French things. It's all a bit sexy isn't it? The Grade II listed Royal Victoria Patriotic Building hosts Le Gothique, a family-run restarant within a turreted, gargoyled castle straight out of 'Beauty and the Beast'. Candelabra-lit cuisine includes a veritable stereotype of escargot, coquilles, canard, poulet, tart tatin and assiette de fromage, with a dedicated 'aphrodisiac' menu perfect for getting you in the mood.

Le Gothique, Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, Wandsworth Common, SW18 3SX. Bookings recommended

For young lovers

Strike a pose and steal a tangled embrace beneath 'The Young Lovers' sculpture, overlooked by St Paul's Cathedral and in the westernmost corner of the Festival Gardens. The sculpture, crafted by Georg Ehrlich (1897-1960) was erected in 1973 and has since become an emblem for passionate lovers everywhere.

The Festival Gardens, St Paul's Cathedral, EC4M 8A

For old romantics

If you're after awe-inspiring, draw-dropping romance, then a classic star-spangled night sky is your best bet. Let your lover transport you to another Solar System at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where you can lay back and tour The Sky Tonight together. This live planetarium show zooms in on planets, cosmic clouds and constellations, creating an out-of-this world Valentine's date.

The Sky Tonight daily planetarium shows, The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, SE10 8XJ. Bookings strongly recommended

For boundary pushers

Get your geisha on at this Japanese-themed horizon-widening burlesque night, ideal for experimental lovers. Memoirs of a GAYsha merges old and new Japan to create an exotic blend of the bizarre, with Harajuku dancers, burlesque and cabaret shows. Guests can stay refreshed with Sake-it-to-me cocktails and handmade sushi, and get to know each other better in a private glass Champagne Love Hotel. With peep shows, geisha wrestling, Japanese bondage and 'love games' on the cards, it's time to don your best ninja, steampunk or anime outfit and prepare to be gobsmacked at this loverland of the Rising Sun.

Corset and Diamond's Memoirs of a GAYsha, Meursault, Gloucester Road, SW7 4QT. Saturday 9th February, 9pm - 3am. £25 advance, £35 on the door

For those with a bit of baggage

Fancy an over 40s non-singles-but-still-really-a-singles event with 'meddlers' who ease the burden of awkward flirting? You do? I'm not surprised. This excellent concept, dreamed up by Meddlers of Honour, offers a relaxed party atmosphere for shy people who need a little help with the hard work - matchmaker style. It's non-obvious, non-cringeworthy, and better yet, non-judgemental.

Meddlers of Honour, Saturday 16th February, Gilt Bar, EC3R 7NA, 8pm - late. Aged 45+ only. Tickets: £10-£15

For onesie-lovers

Let's face it, the thought of showing one's face in public on what for many is the most detested day of the year is simply abhorrent. Hire yourself a wedding dress (or zip up your onesie), bake yourself some Queen of Hearts jam tarts (or gorge on Chinese takeaway) and rent Victorian/Australian Valentine's thriller 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' on DVD. Alternatively, bath. Bathtime makes it all go away.

This post was originally published on The Edible Editor, a lifestyle blog by Natalie R Harris.

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