Alternative Valentine's Day presents and ideas

Alternative Valentine's Day presents and ideas

Four unique and romantic ways to celebrate this year

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 …

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: or

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.

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.

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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.

Valentine's Dinner

A romantic Valentine's dinner with a welcome prosecco cocktail.

Club Noir: Valentine's Masked Ball

Two burlesque shows on a grand scale, with DJs playing vintage and modern sounds. Masks and dressing-up encouraged, no jeans or trainers.

RSNO: Romantic Valentine's Classics

The RSNO's annual Valentine's Day concerts are all about love and music.

Frank's Wild Band

Scotland's finest (and only) Tom Waits tribute act play this 'Blue Valentine's' gig.

Message in a Bottle

Make a specially crafted message in a bottle, which you can take away and deliver personally, or just let the seas carry it to your loved one this Valentine's Day.

Song Studio Valentine's Day Concert: Sie Liebt Mich … Nicht

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.

Valentine Ceilidh

Special Valentine's ceilidh with live music from the Belle Star Band.

Love Sick

Those clever wordsmiths at Writers' Bloc are joining a selection of new writers in an evening dedicated to all things anti-Valentine's. Grotesque, beautiful, dirty stories and readings abound.

Songwriting Session

A workshop just for girls (ages 8+) as part of the library's weekly Pink Saturday Club sessions. Write a love song for Valentine's day, either solo or as a group. Part of Let's Get Lyrical.

The Giant Children's Cabaret

A Valentine's treat for everyone aged 7+, with songs from the Giant house band and a host of loved-up cabaret acts.

Art & Craft Fair

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…

Scarlett Fever Valentine's Night

Experience Parisian nightlife with Scarlett Fever and her gorgeous helpers, who include Dolly Tartan, who will be performing her apparently infamous 'Let Them Eat Cake' routine. Intriguing.

Love Out of Bounds

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.

Romantic Pampering Presents

Join a medicinal herbalist to learn how to make fragrant, romantic and natural skin care treats – just in time for Valentine's day (extra brownie points for home-made gifts are a given).

Gutter Magazine's Alternative Valentine's

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.

Red Raw Valentine's Day Special

Who wants a romantic meal and chocolates in the bath when there's new comedy talent and swearing to be seen? Not us, especially with host Wendy Wason.

Aidan Moffat's Valentine's Hangover

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.

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