How To Survive Valentine’s Day (Or: Happy Werewolf Day!)

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This coming Tuesday marks one of the most dreaded days of the year for nerds, especially single ones:

Valentine’s Day.

After all, what better way to celebrate the supposed martyrdom of a Catholic saint than with roses, flowers, winged babies armed with deadly weapons and more chocolate than any reasonable person can eat in a day? Never mind the fact that we have no idea which St. Valentine this feast day was supposed to honor and all associations between St. Valentine and romantic love are, in fact, completely fabricated. The earliest connection of love to the feast day of St. Valentine was poem by Chaucer composed to mark the wedding anniversary of Richard II – on a feast day that was celebrated in May, not February.

Then the French got ahold of the idea and turned it into a giant poetry contest about courtly love (aka “isn’t it great to be mopey about the fact that the girl I love has a husband?”) and it all spiralled out of control from there, really.

Let’s be honest here: Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday. It’s sole purpose is to monetize love and use it to convince people that the best way to demonstrate your affection for someone is to buy them gifts and chocolate in hopes of some hard-and-fast boning later.

"Look, I checked off all the damn boxes, can we skip straight to naked time?"

You know what Valentine’s Day really is? It’s a corruption of the Roman feast day, the Feast of Lupercalia, which celebrated the wolf that nursed Rome’s founder Romulus. The feast culminates on February 14th with the sacrifice of two goats and a dog by “wolves” (i.e. priests dressed in animal skins) who would then anoint themselves with the sacrificial blood and run around the city, beating women with leather thongs in the hopes that it will ease the pain of childbirth.

Naturally, this shortly turned into “wolves” (young men) running naked around the city covered in goat’s blood and slapping at women with shaggy bits of leather and followed by loads of orgiastic sex.

In the immortal words of Warren Ellis:  Valentine’s day is really all about werewolves, blood and fucking.

So fuck Valentine’s Day.

Happy Horny Werewolf Day everyone.

Now let’s talk about how you’re going to make it through this holiday unscathed.

Valentine’s Day Sucks

It’s something of a tradition amongst the single to hate on Valentine’s Day. Starting this weekend – since VD1 falls on a week-day this year – you can expect a torrent of tweets and status updates decrying Valentine’s Day and how much they hate it.

Now in fairness, they’re not wrong. Valentine’s Day as it currently stands is Lover’s Holy Day of Obligation, where we are expected to make grand gestures and spend money on flowers, candy and jewelry… all of which has had a rather significant mark-up. And if you don’t… well, our culture says, you clearly don’t love your partner enough, now do you? Do you??

Now me, I used to be a Grand Gesture kind of guy. I used to make a huge effort for Valentine’s Day… I would make elaborate paintings or illustrations for my girlfriend.2  Eventually though, I stopped.


Because frankly, I was getting a little sick of the obligation factor behind it. The crass commercialization of it, the expectations – intentional or not – that the day has to be perfectly romantic and you should top last year’s efforts with MORE money, MORE effort, MORE MORE MORE. Being romantic doesn’t feel romantic when you have the weight of cultural expectations bearing down on your shoulders and casting judgement upon your efforts. “Oh no,” it whispers, “you got her flowers from the supermarket? What kind of monster are you?”

"Really? That's it? Really? Do you know what my girlfriends are going to say if this is all I got for Valentine's Day? There better be a diamond in this."

So like I said: I checked out. If I wanted a specific day to be fraught with romantic meaning… well, that’s what anniversaries were for, and frankly prices were much more reasonable.   When I was in a relationship, I had a set plan for Valentine’s Day. When I was single, I had another. They kept me sane, they made my girlfriends happy and on the years when I was single, they got me laid.

And now I pass this wisdom on to you.

Valentine’s Day For Couples

Let’s face it. Because of the “importance” placed on Valentine’s Day, you can count on one thing: prices are going to be severely jacked up on anything vaguely “romantic”. Those “sales”? The prices were inflated before the discounts were applied. Consumers are expected to spend over $100 on Valentine’s Day gew-gaws alone this year, not factoring in things like fancy meals or wine. Factor in that reservations for the overpriced prix fixe meals at romantic restaurants (with complimentary champagne! Woo!) are going to be hard to come by…

The best thing you could do this year? Stay in. Here is the plan:

First of all: no gifts. No flowers. No paying the holiday premium for things you can get cheaper later on. No, instead you’re going to do something small, heartfelt, homemade and creative. A cute Valentine’s Day sketch for your lover, perhaps. Perhaps a deliberately cheesy hand-made card. If you lack creative skills entirely, then it’s time to regress to your kindergarten days and cut little hearts out of colored paper and hide them amongst your partner’s things that day. If you have the time, drive over and drop it off in person. If nothing else, it’ll make his or her friends jealous.

Now that evening, you and your partner are going to stay home and make a romantic dinner together. Now, you could always go for steaks… but you’re going to end up so full that you’ll be going into a meat-coma before the night is over. You could  make an arrangement of traditional aphrodisiacs: oysters, figs, chocolate, promises that it’ll be just the tip… but let’s face it, that’s going to cost a lot and you’re gonna end up smelling (and tasting) like fish before it’s all over.

So instead: you’re making romantic pizza together and your partner is responsible for at least one secret ingredient. Make it with a pre-made crust if you absolutely have to, but there’s a great deal of touchy-feely fun to have making the dough together.  Why pizza? Because it’s actually surprisingly easy to make at home, it feels slightly decadent (it’s bad for you!) and it encourages you to eat with your hands… and that playful aspect to it is infectious.

What makes it romantic? You’re doing it all by candlelight and with a bottle of wine. Everything’s more romantic with candlelight and wine.



Afterwards?  You ignore all the clean-up and run off to the couch and screw like bunnies.

‘Course, you could always just start with the hot sweaty, house-rocking sex, call for pizza delivery before you hop in the shower, then spend the rest of the evening enjoying your pizza and seeing what playthings Netflix has for you today before deciding on a second round.

Up to you.

  1. HA! I make a funny! []
  2. ‘Course, the girl I was dating didn’t like those; as far as she was concerned, the fact that I liked drawing meant that it wasn’t enough of an effort to show I loved her; it wasn’t enough of a sacrifice. Jewelry though… that was a sacrifice. Makes me wonder why I was dating her at all. Oh right, low self-esteem and the belief I couldn’t find anyone else. []

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  • Rae

    This might easily be the best article I ever read about Valentine's Day / Horny Werewolf Day. Made my day 🙂

    I'm one of those I-hate-Valentine's-Day-girls to a point where I even refuse to accept presents on Feb. 14th at all. Any day before or after is fine but not on that day. Maybe it is childish but I really don't like the forced feeling of V-Day for reasons you stated above and others. Trying to ignore it is the best option next to the awesome party ideas you wrote about (gotta try that out sometime).

    Although this year will be the first I acutally celebrate, in a way at least. The Mass Effect 3 demo goes online and I got a date with Commander Shepard. And I guess this last sentence perfectly sums up why I'm single.

  • jamie

    I also suggest fondue, homemade, either cheese or chocolate. Bad for you, and a little bit sexy.

    My SO and I are going the pizza route. We have a long-standing tradition of pizza, beer, and an action movie on V-day. No presents, no disappointments, lots of sexy rumpus time.

  • Aurelia Verity

    Valentine's Day is absolutely pointless and is a complete nuisance in relationships.

    It nearly always falls in the middle of the goddamn week when you're busy with work or studying. for those in school it's also right in the middle of midterms. so you're busy, you're running around, your relationship is following a certain pattern, everything is fine, and suddenly this mandate comes "BE ROMANTIC, NOW!" and so everyone scrambles for something conventionally romantic and bland.

    Guys get into a panic even if their girlfriend tells them that she does not want to celebrate it. "But what if she doesn't mean it? what if she said it to sound mature but really expects a gift, or a grand gesture, fuck i bet all planes that write romantic messages in the sky are booked by now!"

    and of course sex is also expected and what could be more romantic than planned coitus because he went to Jared's or whatever, amirite girls?

  • Squee

    Yup, time to look forward to the ME3 demo, it just so happens to drop on V-Day. That is the sole reason why I look forward to that holiday this year, most other years I just ignore it as best I can.

    It is a bit hard to ignore when just like the Doc said people posting up on Facebook about how much they dislike the holiday. Some have been doing it for a week now.

  • Jen

    Female reader here. I like chicken, I like porn. Horny Werewolf Fried Chicken and Porn Party- GENIUS.

    • Food an 💘 didn't let me know if I will ty for showing your true colors hater

  • Yuki

    I'm currently in an open relationship with a girl (I'm bi, and I think she's bi-curious.) She knows I draw nudes, but we haven't done a lot together yet. She also doesn't have a problem with me drawing nudes. Should I ask her if it's okay to draw her nude for Valentine's day, just for fun, or should I wait until the relationship's a bit more– stable? Because it's open, we want it to be open, and we're only together for the fun of experimenting as best friends with a couple caveats. I don't want this to come off as romantic, I just want to have fun drawing a live model and giving her something nice to keep a copy of.

    We're also feeling out a third person– a guy she's really into, but who isn't big on faithfulness. The only reason she got into an open relationship with me was because he wasn't interested in being a boyfriend. Which is and isn't okay with me. On one hand, he won't mind a threesome of experimenting. On the other hand… I'm extremely aware of STDs, and I don't know him well enough to know if he would abide by our contract of, "Tell us before you fuck someone else, and make sure they don't have STDs first."

    Before anyone asks, there's no tension between us. We're tight. Besties, really. We have a lot in common, and there's no relationship drama or whatnot between us. So far, we're actually having fun. I just want to help her have more fun, continue experimenting safely, and not change things dramatically by sending the wrong signals.


    • Cat

      I think this is a full-on "Ask Dr. NerdLove," since there's a lot more going on here than just the possibility of a nude drawing on Valentine's Day.

      As for that particular question, I'd say go for it. It's fun, sexy, and creative, and it doesn't have the possibility to go horribly wrong that nude photos would. I'd say to ask her on Valentine's Day, or whatever day you'd like to do it, sort of as a surprise. 🙂

    • Dr. NerdLove

      There are a number of questions here, enough that I think this wlll be Wednesday's Ask Dr. NerdLove. In the meantime, short answer: if you're going to ask to draw her nude on Valentine's Day, you're going to be unable to avoid having romantic undertones.

      • Yuki

        In that case, I won't. Particularly since there's a guy I have a date with next Saturday, and the last thing I need is to send mixed signals. Especially since it is now apparent to me that she is investing far more into this than I ever anticipated.

        It started out fun. But it's as though the mere mention of Valentine's Day (brought up yesterday) and the fact that I have a date next week has made her want to be among the sappy, committed couples doing something special to show their supposed devotion. I don't deny her the right to her feelings, but– they violate our agreement. We're not committed. Its starting to feel like she wanted this arrangement for the wrong reasons and under false pretenses.

        I'm ending it as soon as I talk to her tomorrow. -groans-

        • Dr. NerdLove

          Oh sure, make me change Wednesday's column…

          • Yuki

            No, go ahead, I'd really love to see what you have to say about it. It would be really helpful for future references with open relationships, so please, don't change it. 😀

        • Cat

          You could always ask the guy if you can draw *him* naked… 😉

        • TD

          I've found casual relationships have a very short shelf life. If you're with someone enough times, one of you is going to get attached at some point. Good luck with the non-breakup! I hope you'll remain friends.

  • Jess

    Yeah, I'm with you. Flowers when I'm feeling sick are a thousand times more romantic than any gift on Valentines. My hubby also tucks romance novels around the house where I can find them. That's awesome. I have to admit, horney werewolf day sounds much more appealing. I'm pretty sure I have a book like that around here somewhere.

  • Ed

    I recommend taking oral sex classes together and then making sugar cookies in the shapes of people in different sexual positions. When some friends came over after one valentine's day and saw a leftover baked good, the girl I was seeing at the time became known as "Doggie Cookie Girl".

  • I personally like getting flowers and/or chocolate, but couples shouldn't feel obligated to get them. Tradition can be fun (just ask all the agnostics who celebrate Christmas,) but not if it's forced. If you're in a relationship, it might be best to talk about V-Day expectations ahead of time, so you're both on the same page no matter what you end up doing.

  • Maggie

    I am a fan of celebrating Valentine's day when it's convenient. It's a good excuse for a romantic evening with your sweetie. But not when it's in the middle of the week and you're both crazy busy… Expecting big romance when you both have had a long day and have to be up at 6AM the next day is ridiculous.

    • Cat

      I'm with you, Maggie! If you're going to do the whole dinner/flowers/chocolate/gift combo, then the weekend *after* Valentine's Day is great, because there won't be horrible crowds, and all the flowers/chocolate/gifts will be on sale!

      • Maggie

        We're doing the weekend before, mainly because of crazy schedules. So, so much easier than a freaking Tuesday…

  • Gman

    I never really cared for valentine's day and frankly it doesn't really bother me at all – only when I'm in the supermarket and the special valentine day offers and promotions get thrown in my face do I remember that it is coming…

    This year, like the first commenter metioned here – the same day will mark the release of the Mass Effect 3 demo… nuff' said! 🙂

  • Daisy

    I'm angry that you don't think women enjoy cheezy porn parodies, fried chicken and Lupercalia festivities.

    • Dr. NerdLove

      When it comes to the Internet, sometimes it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" sort of situation.

      Although I freely assume EVERYBODY loves fried chicken.

      • Maggie

        Except vegetarians and vegans. And chickens. Although even then I've seen chickens eat weirder stuff…

        • Dr. NerdLove

          I've known some vegetarians who decided that their principles were delicious when batter-dipped and fried with seven secret herbs and spices…

  • Love it. I am glad that you included the hot sex first, then the fun relaxing for couples. Unfortunately I am working the late shift but I'll try to enjoy a tofurkey-porn-werewolf post-work party.

  • UM

    Porn and Fried Chicken party sounds freaking awesome! I think I might have to have a chat with some people with bigger homes than me. 😀

  • Jerusha

    I have nixed all gift-giving and going out for Valentine's Day with my husband. I have an entire rant on VDay and what it represents. Which is good for him, because there's no pressure at all.

    This year, however, I did have an anti-Valentine's Day party for our single friends. We had alcohol, b-grade sci-fi movies, and a ton of food. We also had a lot of fun, and it gave everybody a chance to unwind and mock terrible movies.

  • TD

    Whenever I've been single I've thrown V-Day Comfort Food parties: I invite all my single friends for dinner and serve homemade macaroni and cheese and tomato soup, or something like that. One year two friends actually hooked up, it was great. But Porn and Fried Chicken???? Genius! Genius! Horny werewolves rule!

  • Eli

    Ok, so…any tips for somebody who lives in farm town georgia, population of 900 people and 6 farms, hardly any of the people teenagers to do on valentines day??? oh, and Not to mention I'm a minor, so….damn -_-

    • Dr. NerdLove

      1) The Internet is for porn.

      2) The internet is for porn

      3) Graduate from high-school and go to college out of state.

  • Lyla D.

    Man, as much as I love being single and don't mind treating Valentines like any other day… the Porn and Fried Chicken party sounds fun.

    I may just crack open a bottle of wine and some erotic fanfiction for a night of sporking fun with my online friends. :|a

  • Juniper

    Lupercalia sounds like a blast.

    My now-fiancee made me pizza on our second date, and I have to say that that is a BRILLIANT Valentine's day plan:

    "Holy crap, he's making pizza for me. That is so sweet. And he knows his way around flour and yeast? I'm so impressed! Also, creativity. And he's…rolling up the sleeves on his button-down…and kneading the dough…with his toned forearms…and…uh…"

    At that point the verbal part of my mind fizzled out.

    The pizza itself actually wasn't actually very good (I do a fair amount of baking myself, and he and I differ on what makes a good crust), but it did NOT matter.

    So, now he's my fiancee.

  • So, here's something of a question. I'm a single male in my twenties of the Video Games And Occasional Comics persuasion, so I'm at least part of the demographic here. And worse, I've only recently started actively putting myself out in the dating market (no small thanks to you, Doc), which has so far been various flavours of rejection. By all rights, I should be one of the people dreading and grouching about Valentine's Day. And yet, I wouldn't even have known it was today if it hadn't been for the Internet loudly and persistently telling me about.

    I guess my question is 'Why are singles supposed to be upset about Valentine's Day again?'.

    I get what you say about 'a day that turns 'being single' into a mark of shame'. But Valentine's Day is fake. Everyone knows it's fake. It's so fake that making jokes about how fake it is hasn't been edgy since before I was old enough to get them. So why is this expected — assumed, almost — to sour my mood somehow?

    I apologize if this sounds like humble-bragging; I don't want to go 'Fnar fnar, I'm okay with being single on Valentine's Day!'. It's just that I always had the notion that Valentine's Day was primarily supposed to be an upsetting, dumb experience for people in relationships.

    I approve of your Horny Werewolf Day Porn and Fried Chicken party, though I don't know if I'll actually follow through on it next year. But then again, I didn't actually think I'd follow through on your dating advice when I first came here either. I'll let you know how it goes in 2014*.

    *Disclaimer: I may have forgotten about this post in one year.

    • This post is about 20% more italics than I signed up for. Don't suppose you could work your Doctor Magic?

  • GeekGirl

    My perfect valentines: Candles, whisky,good food AND Ezio Auditore all night 😛 Jep, it was purrrfect.