For all you lonely hearts click through to find your not-so-perfect match
Words: Nhlanhla Masemola | Illustrations: Eva Faerch
Valentine’s Day is when all the love-brained crazies come to wreak havoc all over our psyches, dinner dates and extravagant styling opportunities. It wouldn’t be hyperbolic saying there’s magic in the air. Artificially induced magic, perhaps, but magic nonetheless. An atmosphere that draws out people’s worst, best and peculiar mating strategies can be intimidating, and that's why a guide is surely needed. So whether you intend on breaking hearts, a broken heart for creative content (#sadboys), or just avoiding the lovey-dovey frenzy, this mini guidebook has been provided. Here's who you're likely to run into this Valentine's Day...
Who: They will wine and dine you with fancy wine and dinery. They’re refined hedonists who don't skimp when it comes to a romantic evening.
Signature move: Eloquent talk of bands or artists you've never heard of in an attempt to woo you and show off their sophisticated taste in things. You'll be impressed.
What they'll wear: Something formal and expensively tailored. They enjoy razor-sharp lapels, crisp white shirts, pleated trousers, silk scarves and swanky jewellery from Cartier. Expect gleaming leather shoes or fine glasses.
Where you'll probably go: They'll take you out somewhere nice and expensive. It's likely you will not be able to pronounce the name. Expect impressive flower arrangements.
How to seduce: The connoisseur is fickle. The wrong gift could bar you from a second date and see a swift but tasteful end to a promising night. It's paramount you know your wine and dress as well as they do. Wear something of great quality that fits your body like a glove.
Who: The cheapska - I mean 'frugalist' is an individual you've probably crossed paths with. They either don't believe in spending a lot of money or are just too strapped to do so. Beware the distinction.
Signature moves: Takes out wallet seconds after you do. Or ‘forgets’ wallet at home.
What they'll wear: They’re likely to wear a secondhand golf shirt with two different stains on. And will also go for a badly stitched number, either polite chinos from a trusted bargain retailer or a formal jacket one size too big. They also do nice baseball caps and with the sticker still on the brim, and are likely to return this item after their date with you.
The date: If they like you they'll take you somewhere pleasant with a great two-for-one special. Or they'll invite you to their place and serve you cheese curls and boxed wine on their couch, then kindly ask you to wash up.
How to seduce: Talk about how broke you are. Being 'chill' and 'low-maintenance' are great descriptors you should use to describe yourself. Dress cute on a budget.
Who: Advocates for singlehood and disapproves of archaic notions of romantic love. Closely related to The Love-hater. Has ambitions of becoming asexual in 2021.
Modus operandi: Uses big words to convince you that being single is great for the environment and one's health. You'll be entranced.
What they'll wear: Dark clothing. Black is their favourite thing to wear on Valentine's Day. Style ingredients include ‘John Lennon’ sunglasses, black berets, cropped black trousers, black denim jackets plus slick PVC jeans and a piercing or three, for texture. They’re not unknown to do prints or slogans, but it's rare.
Where you'll go: Nowhere. Because they don't date and are casually going about their day as though Valentine's Day isn't playing in the background.
Seduction instruction: Oops. You played yourself here. Continue pining as usual...
The Desert Walker
Who: Thirsty. Parched. Famished. They haven't had 'it' and other pleasures of coupling in a while.
Signature move: Tactfully asks 'your place or mine?' before the menus arrive.
What they'll wear: Something that takes little effort to get in and out of. Bandage dresses with zips at the back. A T-shirt dress is perfect. It’ll also more than likely be provocative, lots of skin. No belts, too much admin.
Where'll you go: Somewhere close to their place of residence. Cars, elevators and dark alleys are great too.
How to seduce: Give them a platonic hug.
The hopeful romantic
Who: They are the tireless optimists who will go to great lengths for romantic companionship or even a whiff of that potential.
Signature move: The rose-tinted slow-mo stare.
What they'll wear: Red. Or pink. Or colours sitting comfortably around those tones. For date night they’ll go with an ivory suit or a frock with lots of ruffles and pleats. They’re more poet than seducer though, so prepare for delicate details and nothing sultry. You'll approve.
Perfect date: They'll offer to take you out somewhere memorable, like a picnic under the stars or to an amusement park. It'll be nice and sweet and regardless if they score high enough for date number two, they'll be unflinching in their ambition for a perfect evening.
How to seduce: Talk about romance novels, you don't actually have to read them, skim the bit at the back. Mention how hard it is to find love in the digital age of dating and courtship. Use those exact words. Wear things with curved hems. Heart-shaped cutouts and modesty are also great.
The ‘meh’ dame
Who: Not really into Valentine's Day but has nothing better to do. Not recommended.
Signature moves: Scrolls screen when involved in a conversation. Laughs uncomfortably at all your jokes.
What they'll wear: Pleasant pedestrian garb. Cute in a stereotypically condoned kind of way. They enjoy naïve prints and pastels, preppy trousers with golfers or button-ups.
Where you'll go: Just out somewhere. Somewhere where other people can publicly see them participating. They like parks and popular restaurants.
How to seduce: Be available and look nice and brush your teeth. Take photos with them when they inevitably ask more than three times.
Who: How could you forget?!
Signature move: They know ALL the moves.
What they'll wear: Clothes that make it seem like being with them on Valentine's Day is a very good idea. They’ll likely wear something of yours, a forgotten t-shirt or long-lost hat. Very casual and heartwarming. This is to encourage you to reminisce about the good old days.
What will happen: They'll text you or you'll text them. Or you'll 'happen' to run into one another. Then you'll end up in a bed and it will be amazing. Then you'll remember why you broke up in the first place. Or plot twist: you'll fall madly in love again and live happily ever after.
How to seduce: You know best.