Once again, we find ourselves on the fence about Valentine's Day, that commercial-est of annual faux holidays that either puts on the pressure for romance big-time or rubs it in our single, lonely faces, depending on our particular relationship status that year.
And yet, there's the tug to celebrate; or at least to recognize it. You know, it's that I-don't-care-about-V-Day-but-you-better-at-least-get-me-some-chocolate thing. So in that spirit, here are some fun, non-schmaltzy ways to spend the day. You're at least guaranteed a sloppy kiss from a cute old dog.
Aphrodisiacs of the Tropics
Where: Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, conservatoryofflowers.org
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14, 5:30 to 9:30pm
Why: The Conservatory invites you to steam up your V-Day with a trip to the rainforest for a sensory experience that will include orchid sex, sparkling wine, chocolates and live music. $30 tickets are available online.
Casablanca Drag King Evening
Where: 3115 Clement St. (Outer Richmond)
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14, 7 to 11pm
Why: Do Valentine's in Bergman and Bogart style but with a twist: Smooth Daddi and the Dragon Kings are putting on a speakeasy-inspired soiree with drinks, dance and a drag king show. Throw on your best 1930s and '40s garb and give the password at the door. Tickets ($35 until Feb. 10, $40 at the door) are available at eventbrite.com.
Wicked Cupid Cocktail Cruise
Where: Pier 40, The Embarcadero
When Wednesday, Feb. 14, 7:30 to 10pm
Why: The best Valentine's Days are spent with Champagne and sunsets. Pair this with desserts and a two-hour cruise on the Bay. Tickets ($45-$80) are available at eventbrite.com.
Ice Cream & Gelato Tour
Where: Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14, 7:30 to 8:30pm
Why: If ice cream is your aphrodisiac, take the Sweets for Your Sweets one-hour guided tour through Oakland's Rockridge, where you'll taste some of the best frozen treats and pick up a bit of history and local color along the way. $20 tickets are available at localfoodadventures.com.
Cuddle a Senior Dog
Where: The Social Beauty Co., 1712 Fillmore St. (Pacific Heights), thesocialbeautyco.com
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14, 3 to 5pm
Why: Need a snuggle buddy? Muttville's most eligible senior pups will gladly go to first base at this fundraiser for one of our favorite animal-loving organizations. Enjoy a cosmetic service while you're there and a portion of proceeds will go to Muttville. RSVP at eventbrite.com.
'My Funny Valentine' Dinner Party
Where: Kitchen Collective; 1650 Soscol Ave. (Napa), kitchencollective.club
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14, 7 to 11pm
Why: Napa's Kitchen Collective is getting down in Rat Pack fashion with a live jazz band and a five-course supper including fresh oysters and filet mignon. Guests are encouraged to BYO favorite bottle of wine—Kitchen Collection is generously waiving its corkage fee for the evening. Tickets are $120 at eventbrite.com.
Rom Dot Com: A Comedy A Capella Show
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14; 7:30 to 9pm
Why: Expect lots of laughs and serenades at Rom Dot Com, featuring a lineup of local comedians and musicians. Arrive early for dinner and drinks. Tickets ($13-$15) are available at eventbrite.com.
Erykah Badu With Thundercat
Where: San Francisco Armory, 333 14th St. (Mission), sfarmory.com
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14; doors 7pm, show at 8:30pm
Why: What could be hotter than spending V-Day in a former porn studio. San Francisco's Armory plays host to Grammy Award–winning soul artist Erykah Badu, live with Thundercat. Tickets ($100) are available at axs.com.