Ah, Valentine's Day. A time for candies, flowers, and the kind of heart-eyed behavior that either warms your heart or makes you cringe. If you fall into the latter group and just can't even with romance, don't stress — there are plenty of non-romantic Valentine's Day date ideas that allow you to celebrate with your partner without having to exchange sappy, gag-worthy greeting cards.
Given the heart doilies, red roses, and giant stuffed bears we've all come to associate with Valentine's Day, it's hard to believe that this holiday has the opposite of romantic origins. But plot twist, ya'll: Valentine's Day has a pretty bloody history. In ancient Rome, Feb. 13 to Feb. 15. marked the feast of Lupercalia, wherein men sacrificed animals and beat women with their hides, apparently for the sake of the women's fertility? And years later, Emperor Claudius II had Saint Valentine executed on Feb. 14 for illegally marrying Christian couples (who were being persecuted). What a time to be alive (or, um, not). Goodness knows how Cupid worked his way into the mix.
So if you're feeling a little more ancient Rome and a little less modern romance this February, here are five ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in the least romantic ways possible.
Have a horror movie marathon.
If you're feeling particularly anti-romance this Valentine's Day's, why not celebrate its gruesome roots with a gory movie marathon? Classics like JAWS and The Babadook are currently streaming on Netflix, while Hulu's got films like Antichrist and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Because nothing says, "I love you, but I hate commercialized holidays" quite like bloody-thirsty sharks, demons, and alien pod people, am I right?
Have some fun with googly eyes.
Sure, Cupid may have struck your friends and neighbors with his arrow, but can he put googly eyes on trees? I didn't think so. But you can!
Head to your local craft store, pick up a ton of googly eyes in various sizes, and just stroll around town sticking those bad boys on everything. Plants, heart decorations, your friends' car windows — whatever feels right.
It's a silly semi-prank that will have you both chuckling and feeling zero of the romantic pressure of Valentine's Day.
Go on a foodie scavenger hunt.
Instead of whipping up an elaborate, candlelit dinner or splurging on a restaurant's overpriced pre-fixe menu, prepare a little foodie scavenger hunt with your partner and chow down. Whether you guys map out a four-course meal consisting entirely of drive-thru delicacies, order everything that starts with a "P" on your local diner's menu, or head to a food truck festival, just make it a point to eat as much as you can. Heck, even challenge each other to a pie-eating contest, if you're feeling competitive.
Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
This one might sound worthy of a rom-com but trust me: There is nothing romantic about cleaning up animal feces. That said, spending the evening at an animal shelter is a great way to give back to the community, get some quality time with your SO, and hang out with a whole lot of DILPs (Dogs I'd Like to Pet).
Challenge yourselves to a new workout class.
Do something that's literally good for your heart this V-Day and take on a new workout class with your partner. You two can try CrossFit, Jazzercise, or tap it back together at a spin class — whatever gets your blood pumping and sweat flowing this year. Bonus points if you guys sport ridiculous, neon workout ensembles.
Oh, and if anyone questions your unconventional approach, just explain that if they were really Valentine's Day purists, they'd be whipping around animal hide right now.
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