Valentine’s Day simply isn’t what it used to be - Susan Dalgety

I will be 5000 miles away from my husband on Valentine’s Day. I head off to Malawi in southern Africa tomorrow for work and will probably spend Wednesday evening sleeping off the effects of the 24-hour journey from Edinburgh to Lilongwe, via London and Addis Ababa.
Restaurants  can be embarrassing places on Valentine's DayRestaurants  can be embarrassing places on Valentine's Day
Restaurants can be embarrassing places on Valentine's Day

​But before I go, I will make sure the freezer is stocked with my husband’s favourite cod fish fingers and there is a spare bag or two of salted caramel fudge in the snack cupboard (a basket on top of the fridge).

Even if we were together on Wednesday night, I doubt if we would go out to celebrate.

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There is something embarrassing about restaurants on Valentine’s Day, full of couples staring meaningfully into each other’s eyes as they chomp on a medium-to-rare fillet steak, sipping too-chilled prosecco. I would much rather stay at home and share a pizza.

Valentine’s Day has clearly evolved since we last forked out for a romantic meal for two. A quick glance online throws up all sorts of exciting things to do to celebrate, from lessons on how to make sushi to a bar where you can enjoy old-school fairground games while sipping craft beer.

My favourite – though not for me I hasten to add – is the speed dating night for 35-to-55-year-olds in a city centre bar.

“Come with a smile and an open mind,” the organisers urge those looking for love. The event consists of going on between eight and 12 ‘mini-dates’ lasting about four minutes each, with breaks for what I would imagine would be a much-needed drink.

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The ’ladies’ remain seated while the men rotate from table to table until they have met every woman in the room.

Participants mark down the people they like, and check a secure website the next day to see if they made any matches.

It may all sound a bit naff, but speed dating is just Tinder in real life. We all need someone to love, and think how romantic it would be if you found the love of your life on Valentine’s Day.

I only hope that no-one logs on the next day to discover they don’t have any matches. That would be heart-breaking.