Every year, around February, the internet is filled with hundreds, or thousands, or maybe billions of tweets, blogs, and email forwards about the day of love, Valentines Day. The topic of this content is as varied as the writers themselves. Some enjoy the holiday, some hate it, some say it’s just an excuse for gift card companies to sell more cards--whatever the case I know one thing. Warm fuzzy feelings that come from love can be enjoyed by nearly everyone, even nerds.
The issue is that as a member of geek culture I don’t want some sickening sweet throw away boy-meets-girl romance. I want rayguns, aliens from another dimension, and starships, by god! So the following are things to do with your sweetheart on the Roman pagan fertility festival Valentines Day!
1) Settle in for some Miyazaki
Nothing says romance to me better than Miyazaki. Make some food at home, open a bottle of wine, and then put ‘Castle in the Sky,’ ‘Howl’s Moving Castle,’ or ‘Ponyo’ in the video machine and be prepared for all the feels. You get a tasteful nerdy adventure, you get to indulge in your emotional side a little, and you didn’t even have to see one sparkly vampire!
2) Take in some Trivia
Maybe you don’t want to be cooped up in your house for Lover’s Day–try going out instead. Better yet, what says love then smashing your friends in a game of trivia?! Probably lots of things but I digress. Many bars run local trivia nights. Grab as many of your friends, lovers, family members, and fellow nerds and take them out for a night of games. Then again, maybe you like a challenge…
3) Break out the Eurogames!
In my household ‘love’ and ‘war’ are synonymous words for board games. See if you can gather up a team of 2-4 (or 6-8 in some cases) for rounds of Eurogames. These are typically what you think of as long board games (though that is a way oversimplified definition). Games like ‘Settlers of Canaan,’ ‘Arkham Horror,’ and ‘Shadows Over Camelot’ are great party games that break the ice and set a fun mood for large groups of people. This is a great option for couples or singles to have a nice evening without getting too mushy. Also for added fun, place the ‘Robber’ on a potential date (every time its possible) and see who they really are!
4) Hit Up the Drive In
I know, I know, I know–that’s mushy stuff, but hear me out. Everyone goes to the movies on V-Day. Long lines, packed concession stands, and hundreds of young children orphaned by their parents on their way to their own night out on the town. At the drive in though you are outside, in your own car, and you can invite as many or as few of the people you like to come with you. As a plus, some theaters even serve dinner–that is if you are lucky enough to have a place like the Chief Drive-In nearby. Otherwise you may need to…
5) Breakout the Projector
Have a friend with a large blank wall? Know of any secluded brick buildings that don’t mind some folks hanging around outside? Have you met anyone who owns a barn? If you have, find a projector, grab some grub (and possibly booze if laws and good sense permit), and your favorite romantic movie. Put it on your own big screen and enjoy a night at the movies without all the people! Personally–rent Pacific Rim. Yes it is an action movie, but it has what I think of as the best non-romantic romance of any recent movies and it is amazing on the big screen. Make it a game, every time a kaiju roars take a drink! While you are at it…
6) Get Blasted!
No not like that–go to your local laser tag arena and shoot your friends (but not in a deadly kind of way)! This is a fun way to just run around and get to know people. The best part is that you can take nearly as many people as you can convince to go and it usually isn’t astronomical to play. Some fun variants would be to go paintballing instead (this can be more cost-effective if you live in a rural area without laser colosseum).
7) Get Virtually Blasted!
If the outside world is weird and scary and frozen but you still want to get a bunch of people together (or just a few) then go dust off your old Xbox and load up some old school Halo (or you know whatever you like). Playing old video games with simple graphics/controls is a great way to get non-video game people into the mix and these systems are cheap incase you are traveling to someone else’s place for V-Day. My suggestions are ‘Golden Eye’ on the N64, ‘Halo’ on the Xbox, or ‘Mario Kart’ on the Gamecube. All of those are friendly to new players and can be found at most vintage game shops for between $50 and $100 (with console and game and controllers).
8) Take a Hike!
For fun and romance for free, go geo-caching. There are free online websites where people have set up globe-trotting puzzle adventures in your neighborhood. I was skeptical of this at first but it is a blast. Even when its cold enough for White Walkers to be in the neighborhood and you can’t drive somewhere you can always walk. Grab your sweetie, friends, or sweet friends and get some outdoors time. The best part is it’s cheap, doesn’t take much to set up, and you get some great exercise.
9) Catch a Show
Maybe video games, movies, paintball, and being mushy just isn’t your thing. Cool–respect bro and/or bro-et. Do you like music? If so try calling around or checking with your local venues for shows in and around V-Day. Chances are that there will be a free or cheap show from some starving artist you have never heard of. In your head this should translate to ‘great time’ and ‘awesome’’ because these intimate concerts are a great way to meet new people (probably the band) and have a good time. Also it is likely near a good restaurant.
10) Eat Somewhere Crazy
Now I don’t mean like on a water tower or inside a space shuttle. What I mean is go somewhere you would never dream of eating at any other day. Be wild. For example, go try Kabob & Curry or Gopuram if you have never had Indian food in Oklahoma City. Try anything you wouldn’t normally eat. If nothing else it will be an adventure. Then again maybe you don’t like eating out…
Break out every recipe book, webpage, and crumbling newspaper article you have ever wanted to try but never had and your bestest friend(s) and cook! Take some time to just enjoy trying something new like baking a pickle-sriracha cobbler or a sriracha-bacon pie!
The short answer is–if you are looking to be a nerd this Valentines Day, try something new. Go explore and learn about the world around you! That is like 97.3% of being a nerd is investigating something new. So go be nerdy (and mushy if you must)!