I went looking for my Valentine’s date at 3am in Oxford Road Maccies

Surely someone wants to take me to see the Sonic movie

Valetines

Do I even want a Valentine or just someone to see Sonic with me?

You can’t pass the compatibility test without embracing the painstakingly redesigned blue hedgehog. Sonic and his calculated release date are a part of the package.

My attempt at Valentine’s Day begins with a secret pastime of mine. People-watching in McDonald’s after a night out. It’s not nosy to appreciate Manchester’s finest at their worst. I was once given some advice from a wise soul who told me to stop being “such a wizard”. On the same night I witnessed two drunk altruists cuddle up in a booth with a homeless fellow while the cleaner tried to nudge them out.

There are some real lessons to be learned here…. In fact, I’ve started skipping the club. I blame the vouchers.

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Something heady must be drawing the bizarrely dressed and dubious intentioned out at 3am. Naturally, I’ve taken it upon myself to find out what it is, right on the heels of anyone hungry enough to join me.

Recently though, with the feast day of St Valentine drawing nearer, I was showered by a detestable raincloud of self-awareness. I haven’t been evilly laughing at the Lolita girls with wigs ruined by alcohol (or puddles?) or the shouty loners thrown out by security. I’ve been absorbing them into my judgy heart.

I got to thinking, what if among these people, was the one for me? Someone watching me watching them? Dare I hope, someone waiting to order what I was serving. Determined to find my soulmate, I decided to seek my Valentine in anyone coherent enough to hold a conversation.

It started with a chocolate milkshake, the first hit to my reputation. The straw, stained with my purple lip-gloss gave me a conversation starter, at least. “It’s not something I have to deal with,” said the man I discussed the pressure of beauty standards with. Sage that he was, he also told me that I wasn’t going to find love in McDonald’s.

Still hopeful, I decided to try a Reddit sourced pick up line on my next target. “Screw me if I’m wrong, but do I know you?". I felt bad about tricking him after having to explain the joke, and let him be.

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I approached an older man at self-service and before propositioning him, made sure that he knew I wasn’t trying to snoop at his card. Upon finding out that his Valentine was his wife, I wished them a lovely Valentine's day.

Returning to my poor friends, I encouraged the two men sitting at our table to move closer, claiming I had reverse claustrophobia. They shifted a seat up. I then loudly complained about the couple behind the pair, “Are they really canoodling? It’s alright for some”. They bantered back that the couple obviously had “big plans”. I took the opportunity to ask if they had any themselves, and almost lost my composure with the cheesy line, which I don’t claim credit for, “Is that burger all you’re eating tonight?”.

When said couple got up to leave, I asked to speak the woman privately. “He probably doesn’t even have plans, come on, are you sure?” I said, questioning whether he was right for her. She replied patiently that he was her husband.

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She was quite unimpressed

That was straight up trolling I suppose, but I did send them on their way with well wishes.

Another inspiring conversation was with two girls from Leeds. The self-described hopeless romantic I shared a chair with called my Sonic date idea “cute” and we debated the existence of true love.

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Here I am asking if there's space on her chair

Before leaving, I also discussed the linguistic benefits of colonisation with the security guard which ended with an appreciative fist bump and a “buenas noches”.

As I was walking along Oxford Road, one of two men shouted “Happy Valentine’s Day girls!”. Reverse uno card. I asked him to be my Valentine, receiving a warm hug and a photo with both of them.

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Bizarrely, I didn’t find my soulmate in McDonald’s but I did get a coffee date with a guy I met outside Spoons. In the words of Madonna, “time goes by so slowly for those who wait”, so whatever you’re seeking, have faith that Manchester will provide.