5 Dates to Take Yourself on this Valentine’s Day
Let’s talk about dating. I often remember a conversation with an (ex-) friend of mine, during which she was telling —or rather moaning to me about how excited and impatient she was to have a boyfriend. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘To better get to know London’, she replied and, without an ounce of hesitation, started listing dozens of things off the top of her head that she would do with her theoretical beau- go out for meals, do crafty workshops, go for walks, discover jazz, try out new cocktail bars… I could hear her talking, but the only thing on my mind was ’Girl, if you keep waiting for the perfect guy, you’ll live a life not knowing what the inside of a jazz bar even looks like”. While a date is commonly defined as a ‘social or romantic appointment or engagement’, I’d like to propose to you the opposite: an anti-social engagement, also known as a date with yourself. Because who else’s taste in food and after-hour activities will be a 100% match with yours? Who’s going to show you the exact parts of London that you want to see? Why delay experiencing something while you wait for a sign, a person or a circumstance, when you can just… go out and do it?
This is partially about learning how to be there for yourself, but also ultimately about not needing anyone to be there for you at all. Being self-sufficient. Social media has created a culture of constant (over)sharing and inexistent solitude- or so they say. It has made us incapable of spending a minute alone with our thoughts without feeling like we’re missing out on something, or missing someone to fill the odd silences with small talk. “Pics or it didn’t happen”. “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, did it make a sound?“. The beauty in self-dating is that you’ll learn to enjoy experiences even if the rest of the world- or even just one other person- isn’t there to see it. Here are some of our favourite date ideas to take yourself on, and yes- you should dress up for it, it’s a special occasion after all.
1. Chocolate making workshop with My Chocolate
I recently celebrated my 22nd birthday (yes, I am feeling 22), and what made it even more exciting than my inevitable aging was the fact that the majority of my friends got me experiences instead of material objects as presents.
Between puppy yoga, brunch and crafting my own chocolate, I feel like I got to do so many things that I would never think to do for myself. Which made me wonder- why do I need to wait for somebody else to push me to do these things, when I’m entirely in my own power to do them for myself?
I got a Virgin Experience Days voucher for My Chocolate’s original chocolate making workshop, and my first thought was: ‘is there anybody I can rope into coming with me?’ I won’t take you through my whole epiphany thought process but basically I decided to go on my own, and although I can’t really say I’ve become a chocolatier masterchef, the best thing about it was enjoying my own company, and devoting an entire morning to myself.
Everyone at the workshop was so helpful and sociable, so it’s definitely an experience I’ll be recommending left, right and centre. Especially doing it by yourself.
Me to me: ‘suuup baby, take me out for dinner
I know what you’re thinking- ‘that’s so obvious’ or ‘I eat lunch by myself all the time at work’- but no, no, no bestie that’s not what we mean. The same way you go out for brunch, lunch and dinner with your friends, partners and parents, you deserve to devote the same time and affection to yourself (the best way to your heart is through your stomach, or however that saying goes).
Don’t just grab a meal and eat it at a park. Try to overcome the deeply engraved fear of eating alone so many of us subconsciously suffer from, and take yourself to your favourite restaurant. Or a new restaurant. Or an old one you haven’t been to in a while. The world is your oyster, and your restaurant of choice could be too.
3. Spa Day
We’ll admit, this one’s kind of cliche, but the classics are classics for a reason: they’re great. Taking a Spa Day crosses my mind at least once per week, and actually happens maybe once every 2-3 years, which is why if you were looking for that extra little push or reminder: this is it.
How big or small you decide to do it is completely up to you, but even just taking yourself on a little nail or hair date is certain to boost your mood. But if you’re feeling a little extra generous towards yourself (AS! YOU! SHOULD!), then I strongly recommend browsing the Virgin Experience Days site for different offers they might have on these kinds of experiences.
And I know exactly what you’re thinking, so let me address it for you: no this isn’t sponsored by Virgin Experience Days. Though I really wish it was.
4. Cocktail Masterclass
I know we can all appreciate a cute, well-made cocktail but despite working as a bartender for all of 2 years during university, I felt like a cocktail masterclass wouldn’t hurt. I wanted to learn all about their acquired techniques, how they hold the shakers, how they flip things and spin them, and of course each and every secret when it comes to making a cocktail look and taste delicious.
Laki Kane in Islington offers an engaging cocktail making masterclass (yes, I did find this through Virgin Experience Days, leave me alone), and for anyone who has decided to make Pirates of the Carribean their personality trait, you can also learn how to make your own Rum at their very own distillery.
Get drunk off your own supply bestie, you deserve it.
Social Pottery in Kentish town offers a wonderful experience if you’re looking to just relax with a glass of wine, and paint over some ready-made pottery. But if you, like me, have been looking for the perfect opportunity to recreate the pottery wheel scene from Ghost, then this is it! This is your sign! You don’t need a date, a partner or your friend. You and your beautiful little ceramic pot will definitely have more chemistry than any guy you can find on Hinge.