We're deep in the countdown to the most dreaded day of the year: Valentine's Day. Hated by many, adored obnoxiously by few, it's a day in which, if coupled, you're likely to be forced to do something rote and clichéd that costs more money than usual in order to prove your love. Alternatively, it's a day in which, if single, you risk falling into a bleary, stereotypical haze of weeping and stuffing yourself with chocolates to mourn the fact that you have no "Valentine."
We are here to help you through either of these unfortunate contingencies with this list, which will either provide something original for your last-minute V-Day plans... Or will merely remind you how glad you are to be single, because there is no way in hell you're touring a sewage plant, or oohing and ahhing over a cockroach that's been named after you on Tuesday.
The "date": Head to one of America's finest dining establishments, White Castle (better make a reservation!), where February 14 begins at 5 p.m. and you'll get a free dessert "and other heart-felt mementos" with your Valentine's Day dinner. They're also offering the chance to enter your "lovey-dovey" photo in their contest and win matching T-shirts, plus an at-home V-Day dinner kit.
Why you should do it: Where there is heat, there is steam. Also, free dessert.
The "date": The Department of Environmental Protection will let you tour the Newtown Creek Wastewater treatment plant, in New York's Greenpoint neighborhood, on Valentine's Day morning.
Why you should do it: “It’s a unique date, and one they’ll never forget,” said plant superintendent Jim Pynn. Also, you'll get a free Hershey's Kiss, and bragging rights among environmentalists and New York infrastructure nerds.
Why you should do it: You might as well go all-in, right? This is the gold standard of food chain Valentine's Day offerings.
The "date": The Waffle House will become "more of a 5-star sit down and less fast production waffle house" at select locations across 15 states on the 14th. This means tablecloths, alcohol-free champagne, and cloth napkins, plus a more "specialized" menu. Check here for a Valentine's Day dinner locale near you.
Why you should do it: It's your most romantic chance to perfect the phrase "scattered, smothered, and covered." Also, the Waffle House seems wonderfully self-aware.
The "date": This is less a date and more a deal for donut-eating players. If you buy a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts you'll get 12 free Valentine Cards, each good for a free doughnut of choice for "you or for your Valentine."
Why you should do it: It's the pay-it-forward of donuts, except at the end of the day, you're really just paying yourself. And if you wake up alone, you get to eat all the leftover donuts for breakfast.
The "date": Qdoba Mexican Grill will give you a second entree free if you kiss a "significant other, friend, family member, or even an understanding stranger" at the cash register on Valentine's Day.
Why you should do it: No offense, Qdoba, but maybe you shouldn't. This is how contagions start.
The "date": Cut and paste this into your Google search field: sqrt(cos(x))*cos(
Why you should do it: The Internet loves you, even when no one else does. Right?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.