I went for a date by myself on Valentine’s Day and it was terrible
Everyone laughed at me
For the first time in a good few years, I found myself alone this Valentine’s Day.
My girlfriend of four years is spending her year abroad in Berlin, leaving me to fend for myself in the depressing world of being alone on the most sickeningly romantic day of the year.
So I thought fuck it, I can have just as much fun by myself. I’m witty, charming and thoroughly good company, how bad could it be?
Turns out, really fucking terrible.
To minimise the risk of being spotted by someone I know, I travelled back to my hometown, one of the most boring places in the world, Guildford, for this experiment in self discovery.
I decided to book a table at the most insipid, standard restaurant I could think of, Pizza Express. With reasonably priced doughballs and middle of the road décor, the restaurant was bustling as I showed up all on my lonesome.
The heady aroma of cheap bouquets and even cheaper aftershave washed over me and, paired with the generic romanticised soft-pop, I felt like I was in the midst of the great British date night.
They seated me at a table in a darkened, isolated corner of the restaurant far from any couples that would be brought down by my crushing solitude.
Feeling very much like the kid at school who used to boast about the girls they got with on holiday, I told the waitress that I wasn’t a complete sad case, that I did have a girlfriend and I was doing this all for an article.
She didn’t buy it, and what’s more, she laughed in my face when she lit my candle.
The staff’s pity and the repeated sympathetic looks of a couple a few tables down, ensured that I never truly felt at ease even in such great company as myself.
Not wanting to take advantage of myself and knowing that I get handsy after a few bevs, I decided to stick with Coke, so I could keep my wits about me.
The meal came to an abrupt end only 35 minutes after it had begun. After a suitably average repaste of noticeabley unmemorable doughballs and mediocre pizza, I paid the bill and beat a hasty retreat.
I then wandered down the high street to a Caribbean bar, hoping a drink would open me up a bit more.
Free of judging female eyes, I ordered a bright pink “Raspberry Reggae”, served by a bartender, who again treated me with unpalatable mixture of pity and sympathy faker than the colouring in my drink.
After the pressure of being alone in a bar full of loved up couples became too much, I made my way to an American-themed dessert place. Treating myself to a waffle meant for two, I resisted the urge to weep into my Nutella.
Despite having high hopes, I was not as great company as I’d anticipated. There was no healthy conversation or disagreement, I agreed with myself on everything, and what’s more, I knew the answers to all my own small talk.
I left the dessert joint, soppy love songs ringing in my ears and headed for the main event of the evening, a ticket for one to 50 Shades of Grey.
But then I realised, that having planned my evening based on the normal amount of time it takes for a couple to do stuff, I was over half an hour early for the film.
I wandered around town, passing the graveyard where I had a romantic Valentine’s Day encounter in 2009, and managed to kill enough time staring at couples far happier than me to make me right on time for the film.
As both a student journalist and an independent spirit, it would seem that this film would be right up my street.
But try as I might, I could not get into the two-hour-long bondage themed perfume ad even with its faux romanticism and assorted leather things.
Two people that could get into it however, were the middle-aged couple next to me. They were so engrossed in the film that they failed to notice that during their amorous activities, the mans leg kept pressing into mine as he fondled away.
The second the watered down mummy-porn debacle ended, I was out of the cinema as fast as my legs could carry me.
I then emerged into the dystopian world of a high street club scene on February 14th. All the stereotypes your mother warned you about were present: the girls in tottering heels and guys with their favourite money jeans staggered from bars to clubs, pausing their debauchery only to vomit or finger each other.
I may be a world class sad-act who went out by himself on Valentine’s Day, but at least I’m not them.