Kirstin Innes explores a few romantic alternatives for Valentine’s Day
Being a List reader you’ve had the infinite good taste to pick a partner who can’t be doing with the corny hearts, flowers and factory-line V-Day dining experience we’re sold as ‘romance’. All well and good, but how on earth do you celebrate February 14th? We’ve got a few alternative suggestions. And we promise, no sex. We’re knackered.
1: Learn to massage each other So, your partner comes in from a long day at the circus or the fire station or wherever they work. They’re stressed and tense, and you try to give them a little back rub to ease that. ‘Ow! Get off me!’ they shout, and an argument ensues … well, not if you’ve actually taken the time to learn to do it properly. Sensational Oils offers couples lessons in aromatherapy massage, from their own homes – they’ll travel to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Fife, too. They also film and give you a DVD of your session, but that all sounds a bit kinky if you ask us … www.sensationaloils.co.uk
2: It takes two … … to tango. Well, actually, most beginners’ tango classes will encourage you to dance with a wide range of partners, and when you get to social dancing level you’re expected to change every three dances. However, learning Argentine tango, rather than the super-choreographed ballroom version you’ll see glitzing away on Strictly, is an organic, improvised process, each new dance born out of a sensual connection between the participants and the music. With the basics learned, the two of you should be able to create infinite new dances in the privacy of your own kitchen, deepening your own sensual connection … oh dear, we’re getting sexy again. Learn where all the best beginners classes are: www.tangoglasgow.org.uk or www.edinburghtango.org.uk
3: It also takes two … … to ride a tandem. Why not take a V-Day trip out to the Isle of Cumbrae, and spend the day honing your team work skills on a bicycle made for two? Cycle round the island and finish the day off by sharing a bag of chips as the sun goes down. Sometimes it’s the simple things, you know? Also, tandem cycling: not remotely sexy. Unless you’re in the second seat and your partner has a nice bum. Rent tandems from F.G. Mapes & Son, Guilford Street, Millport, Cumbrae. www.mapesmillport.co.uk.
4: Get a bit of perspective One of the things those moaning singletons hate most about Valentine’s Day is that it tends to make already smug couples even more self-absorbed. Three cheers for Glasgow’s Hillhead Library on Byres Road, then: their Love Out of Bounds exhibition is a collection of stories from a number of different sexualities and ethnic backgrounds, of relationships that have faced disapproval or been forbidden by families, communities or culture. It finishes on Mon 14 Feb, with a free storytelling performance at 6pm.
Fantasylands heads to Glasgow for a massive night of techno, hard house and more. Sat 12 Feb: This eight-hour Valentine's special will feature D-Block & S-Te-Fan, Brennan Heart, DJ Isaac, Noize Suppressor (live), Outblast, Mallorca Lee, Marc Smith and many more, with one big-name headliner still to be announced.
Love is in the air, sort of. Following the success of last year's similar endeavour, the RSAMD performs works by two of Germany's most adorable songwriters – Schumann and Robert Wolf. Part of Let's Get Lyrical.
Artists and local crafters will once again be in attendance at the Grosvenor with a selection of their handmade goods and plenty of Valentine's gifts. Stalls are selling jewellery, soaps, candles, handbags, accessories, photography, cards, cupcakes and more, plus there are free mini makeovers on offer with a professional…
Exhibition timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, and exploring a different side of love affairs from the hearts and flowers: those that have been rejected by family, community or culture. Stories come from a variety of sexualities and ethnic backgrounds.
A sideways look at love with Scottish novelist Ewan Morrison, American writer Amy Burns and Edinburgh poet Richie McCaffrey, courtesy of Gutter magazine (aka the literary journal that likes to get down and dirty). We may have made that last bit up.
Who better to encapsulate the warmth and fuzziness of Valentine's romance than the trenchant musical commentator Aidan Moffat who plays three sets – one on his own, one with pianist Bill Wells and one with his band The Best Ofs.