FFWD REW

Not your traditional Valentine’s

Slow dancing ski lifts and milkweed beat candlelight and roses

Not a big fan of fancy dinners candlelight and roses? Me either. Everyone loves a little bit of romance in their lives but sometimes the manufactured expectations of Valentine’s Day can be a bit overbearing to say the least.

If you’re perpetually single like myself and simply can’t handle another February 14 staying at home watching Pretty Woman and wondering where the Richard Gere to your Julia Roberts is in this world then maybe it’s time to get out and have fun with some like-minded strangers.

SLOW DANCE PARTY

If you’ve never been to a slow dance get-together before you’re really missing out. The “will you dance with me to the next song?” mentality that’s promoted through song scheduling and note/mailbox system can make you feel like you’re in Grade 7 all over again… in a good way. After signing in and getting numbered look throughout the room and decide who should be slated for a dance with your charming self. Once you’ve located someone who’s piqued your interest either be bold and ask to book them in for an upcoming song or play it casual and leave a note in their mailbox.

This is a fantastic event to head to with some friends if you’re looking to shake off your single sorrows to a decent beat. The Valentine’s Sway slow dance party takes place February 14 (of course) at The Hub at Mount Royal University’s Wyckham House ( slowdanceparty.brownpapertickets.com ).

LIFTS OF LOVE

For those of you who are single and love to head to the mountains on the weekend this event will likely be right up your alley. On the night of February 14 Norquay is aiming to match ski bunnies of every shape and size by pairing singles with someone different every time they get on the ski lift. The trip to the top of the hill lasts a few minutes so best prep yourself with some engaging topics of conversation aside from your (already obvious) common love of the slopes ( banffnorquay.com ).

The greatest thing about this matchmaking event is the fact that you don’t need to dress up — just wear your comfy snow pants and be yourself. And even if you have a few awkward rides up the mountain (it’s bound to happen really) at least you can look forward to the after party in the lodge. Apres-ski drinks and finding true love? Hey stranger things have happened!

CHAMPIONSHIP SPEED DATING

If you’ve ever been tempted to attend a speed dating event this February 14 is the perfect time to do it. Timed conversations with strangers at any time of the year can feel a bit awkward so it may as well be for the sake of a world record. Calgary Speed Dating and Virgin 98.5 are aiming to exceed the Guinness Book of World Records’ previous champion speed dating event — held in Vietnam with 484 participants — on Valentine’s Day at Telus Spark ( calgaryspeeddating.com ). Nothing says “true love” quite like a series of one-on-one sit-downs with people you’ve never met before.

The plus side of attempting to set a new bar when it comes to speed dating is the fact that there will be many more potential suitors to choose from. Sure it’s very likely that you’ll be asked the same question by 30 different people but one of them could be your next crush. After all there may be enough fish in the sea to set a world record.

SAY IT WITH MILKWEED

Maybe you already have your sights on someone and you’re going to let them know with a Valentine. Well it doesn’t have to be traditional — skip the syrupy Hallmark card and cliché roses and make a statement. For $20 you can send a virtual bouquet of milkweed — the poisonous flowers that are crucial to the survival of monarch butterflies — with an eValentine from the David Suzuki Foundation ( davidsuzuki.org ). The foundation will use the funds to plant milkweed in Canada where the butterflies arrive in early summer on their journey from Mexico. Even if the recipient of your Valentine doesn’t return your affections the monarchs will love you for it.

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