Did You Know I Have A Girlfriend?: Valentine’s Day is no worse than any other on his social media – it is, surprise surpise, just more over-filtered faux candids of his girlfriend sitting in Wagamama’s. Why are there so many heart emojis? Has he copy and pasted a 13 year-old’s Instagram bio? ‘Dinner with this one’, it’s captioned (ew). It crosses your mind that you have never seen the girlfriend actually eating in one of these pictures, just staring longingly at a plate of bland, untouched food in the £10 price bracket. Does she ever eat? Is she even allowed to? Her dull, hopeless eyes plead silently for him to end this torture.
吃苦: This is a Chinese idiom literally meaning ‘to eat bitterness’, which is exactly what these two will be doing for their Valentine’s meal. Neither can admit when it’s time to call it quits, so they’ve tried to make soufflé four times this evening, pulling it out from the oven, with each miserable attempt, a concoction more sad and deflated than the last. ‘This is what you do! This is what you do to everything!’ they inevitably will shriek at each other, as the fruit of their labour collapses quietly in the cold February air. After a few hours, he’ll order Deliveroo while she redoes the makeup she cried off so they can take a new joint cover photo.
Les gourmets: That couple who you want to like but you just can’t, because they’re too overachieving and therefore painfully damaging to your self-esteem. V-Day is obviously no exception. You’ll click onto a Snapchat story that appears to be a Food Network special from a Michelin-starred restaurant, only to realise it’s this cursed duo making coq au vin from scratch in the Staircase 20 kitchen. What a pair of idiots, you’ll mutter, struggling to see as your Tesco Basics ready meal steams up your glasses.
The aggressive singleton: By the end of January, she’s tagged her friends in every published Buzzfeed article about spending Valentine’s Day drinking wine with the cat (‘literally meee’). But it’s not literally her, because she doesn’t own a cat and is therefore trying to strong-arm you into a ‘girly date’ to Jamie’s Italian, where she’ll over-order pasta and garlic bread to prove that she’s quirky because she likes carbs. For dessert: pinot grigio and a snotty meltdown about how her Year 10 boyfriend took her here for their six-month anniversary.
The sexual deviant: They only want to eat one thing this Valentine’s Day, and you get it off Tinder, not from a restaurant.
The lotus-eaters: This couple isn’t going to let some commercialised, romantic holiday jar them out of their permanent state of peaceful apathy. They’ll make it a night in, moving like serene, drugged-up brontosauruses between the sofa and the kitchen counter, with the faint burble of Black Mirror in the background punctuated only by the occasional crunch of a Dorito. It doesn’t matter if you eat smelly food on a date night if the other person does too.
The budget-conscious: He firmly believes that Valentine’s gestures are always better when they’re cost effective, because financial stability is the truest form of love (what a senitment). To that end, he thinks you guys should stay in tonight – there’s some pasta bake in the fridge that you could microwave? It’s from last weekend and it’s totally meat free, so it should be safe.
‘I borrowed Daddy’s card’: Why is her Bitmoji in Paris? It’s the middle of term and you’re sure she has lectures tomorrow. ‘Daddy booked a trip for me and Jonty because I did quite well in collections, back on Friday x’. She and her slightly inbred-looking long distance boyfriend will gallivant around for a few days (seriously – how do they not have tutors chasing them down?), blessing you with pictures of food that you can’t even identify because it’s so expensive. Expect lots of bizarre-looking liquid nitrogen concoctions and plates that seem pretty much empty apart from Jackson Pollock-esque splatterings of sauce. When you do recognise a dish, it’s because you think you saw a Vice documentary about it – or rather, about the highly endangered South American lemur which is its primary ingredient.
If you’re reading this and realise that you exemplify one of these needy and painful stereotypes then remember – it’s not Valentine’s day yet, free yourself while you can.