This Valentine’s Day, there will be plenty of lovey-dovey couples exchanging the usual romantic gifts and engaging in the usual romantic nights on the town. What about the people—the legions of people—who are sick of this forced, supposedly “romantic” holiday?
Instead of moping about and feeling left out this week, here are a few suggestions for celebrating a breakup with flair, and for thumbing your nose in general at Valentine’s Day:
Sell Stuff from Your Ex
Sure, you could use Craigslist, eBay, or the local pawn shop for the purposes of anonymously unloading the rings, bracelets, earrings, and other gifts left over from your dead relationship. But by going one of those routes, you wouldn’t get to tell the world what a jerk your ex was. At the specialty resale sites NeverLikedItAnyway and ExBoyfriendJewelry, sellers are encouraged not only to get rid of gifts from their ex-lovers, but also to explain what went wrong with the relationship. “You MUST share your story,” the rules at ExBoyfriendJewelry stipulate. “We want to keep things fun and cathartic so get it off your chest and tell why you’re selling.”
(MORE: Why Consumers Just Don’t Feel the Love for Valentine’s Day)
Engagement rings are especially popular on the sites. Here’s how one NeverLikedItAnyway member explained why she was putting hers up for sale:
My ex had good taste in things. He was [an] actor and a drunk. He was very handsome and intelligent but his drunkard and cheating ways make me sick.
An ExBoyfriendJewelry member offered the story behind why her engagement ring was for sale:
It was a marriage that started with a lie and ended with one as well. I’d like to take whatever money I can get and use it to buy a horse. A hobby I had to give up when I married him.
A few wedding dresses are also for sale at these sites. But for a more robust market—and likely, better chances of getting some money out of the dress—take a look at PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com.
For those who have just called off a wedding, Cheapism.com suggests checking out Bridal Brokerage, a startup marketplace for selling (and buying) wedding packages, so that you can recoup some of the money spent on a wedding that will never take place.
(VIDEO: First Grader’s Valentines)
Buy a Breakup Gift
Marketers look at every event as an opportunity to make a sale. Valentine’s Day spending in the U.S. is expected to reach $18.6 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation, even though most consumers seem to think of the holiday as meaningless and not particularly romantic.
(MORE: Valentine’s Day Deals: Love in the Form of Heart-Shaped Meat, Fast Food by Candlelight)
In recent years, “divorce parties” have become a thing, with newly single men and women throwing bashes and taking trips to Vegas to celebrate the end of their coupledom. There are also tongue-in-cheek post-breakup gift baskets and survival kits for sale, as well as merchandise like The Ex—a knife block that is shaped like a person (presumably your ex). The product helps “release stress and keep knives safely stored” simultaneously as the blades are plunged right through your Ex’s body.
Enjoy an Anti-Valentine’s Dinner
While many restaurants host special Valentine’s Day dinners—tasting menus, fixed-price multi-course deals with Champagne, and so on—others know that a niche group of diners love to hate the holiday that’s supposed to celebrate romance. With that in mind, restaurants around the country are hosting Anti-Valentine’s specials. The Contra Costa Times highlighted several restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area going that route, including Jasper’s, which is offering an Anti-Valentine’s cocktail called Dancing with the Devil:
“It’s a tribute to rum, which is known as the ‘kill devil’ spirit,” says Kevin Diedrich, the bar manager. “The redness from the hibiscus reminds us that love is not always syrupy sweet.”
In Las Vegas, the Anti-Valentine’s Dinner at Fat Choy on Wednesday, February 13, was a $30 nine-course feast that encouraged diner participation:
Exchange a photo of your ex for the WALL OF SHAME for a prize. Enhancements to the photo encouraged.
(MORE: Best Ever Valentine’s Day Gifts That Don’t Cost a Fortune)
Los Angeles Magazine, meanwhile, recommends that the bitter breakup crowd head to the Urban Oven pizza truck for a slice, as well as the opportunity to “scribble anti-love messages on the side of the truck (swear words are encouraged).”
College kids can also enjoy a down-with-romance meal: On February 14, one of the dining halls at Kent State in Ohio is hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Dinner with options such as Jerked Chicken, Back Stabber Skewers, Conceited Mushrooms (“a mushroom full of itself with mushrooms”), and desserts like Broken Heart Pudding and Banana Split Cheesecake. Also on the menu: broccoli. Just plain old fresh broccoli.