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Try a cooking class and challenge yourself to learn a new skill this Valentine’s Day.

outside the box

File photo
File photo

Valentine’s Day seems to be a day intended for newly in-love couples. Any two companions who have been together more than three or four years are more likely to answer “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?” with “Watching reruns of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ in our pajamas” than they are “Oh, Todd got us reservations for sushi, and after that, we’re going on a carriage ride, and after that we’re going to hold hands and snuggle.”

For those couples who are over it, for those who are single, or for those without a lot of cash, we came up with some out-of-the-ordinary ways to spend the Day for Lovers.

Host a girls’ (or boys’) night in

A popular alternative to kissy-kissy couples on Valentine’s Day is a crowd of rowdy girls (or boys) proudly and publicly declaring their singlehood (or drinking). Create a theme – like wine- or champagne-tasting – to make the evening more special, and ask friends to bring their favorite bottle of bubbly to cut hostess costs. Or for something a bit more subversive, find a family room with enough couch space to seat everyone and screen some slasher flicks.

Try something new

Skip the Jane Austen movie-marathon in favor of something a little outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s a Thai cooking class or glass-blowing workshop, challenging yourself at a new skill will be far more productive than watching Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy duke it out yet again. Pranayoga School, 218 Pearl St., is hosting a Thai massage workshop for couples (or friends) from 2 to 5 p.m. The experience is topped off with a bottle of organic sparkling wine and chocolate for your loved one or friend. Cost is $80 a pair. Sign up at PranayogaSchool.com.

Paint the town

One of the biggest trends to hit the United States since fondue, “paint ’n’ sip” represents a fun and relatively inexpensive way to spend an evening. Get your fellow singletons together for a little canvas time, with a dash of liquid courage to help you make the first brush stroke.

These events are designed to be relaxed and unintimidating, so don’t worry if your artistic masterpiece is more Pollock than Picasso. Wine and Canvas hosts events at Fort Wayne restaurants, and Artlink, 300 E. Main St., is having a Valentine’s Day painting class. Participants will turn the Robert Indiana “Love” sculpture into a painting. Cost is $35 per couple for Artlink members and $40 for the general public. Call 424-7195 with questions.

Volunteer

If you find yourself wallowing in self-pity come Thursday, consider brightening someone else’s day to improve your mood. Soup kitchens, nursing homes and other establishments welcome volunteers to assist in everyday operations or simply visit with patrons. You’ll likely find the experience much more rewarding than an overpriced dinner-for-two. Check out Volunteerfortwayne.org for local opportunities.

Indulge in some retail therapy

A little retail therapy can go a long way, but that doesn’t mean your credit card balance has to suffer. In addition to coupons and clearance racks, you can buy online gift cards at a discount through GiftCardGranny.com to save some cash. E-cards are delivered within 24 hours and can save you up to 10 percent for both online and in-store purchases to places like DSW, Express and Kohl’s.

Pamper yourself

Schedule a mani-pedi. Drop by your local studio for some candlelight yoga. Curl up with your favorite bestseller and a glass of red wine. As cheesy as it may sound, the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. So go ahead: Blast Beyoncé and celebrate all the reasons you love being you.

Disregard it

Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year, y’all. Carry about your normal business, and you won’t even notice that you missed a day celebrated by winged fat babies carrying hunting equipment.

– Kendal Perez of HassleFreeSavings.com contributed to this story

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