I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I hated how cheesy movies usually depict it, although my inability to keep a relationship for more than a few months may actually have been the real reason. But this is 2020, and I’m in a (somewhat) healthy relationship, so why not try to catch up on all those previous disgustingly romantic dinners and create the perfect Valentine’s date?
Since listing all the best restaurants to have dinner in London would be boring, I’ve decided to look at Google Trends’ most searched terms linked to Valentine’s Day 2020. I wanted to see what people actually search for when preparing a lovey-dovey meal for their partner, casual hook-up, friends.
In the UK, I discovered that what romantics googled the most was ‘Marks & Spencer’s Valentine’s Day’ meal deals. The truth is, once I realised that this was how this piece was going to turn out, I almost gave it up. But who was I to turn my nose up at a good ol’ M&S meal deal? After a few minutes of scrolling down the website and checking how much I would have to spend on each offer, I saw the perfect opportunity, the one that changed my mind—the love sausage.
Upon reflection, I still can’t tell you why the love sausage was the last push I needed. I’ve been a vegetarian for quite a while, therefore that “bacon-wrapped British pork sausage with a hint of truffle” was not going to be “the star of [my] breakfast in bed,” and it definitely was not going to “set pulses racing.” It just looked funny, and even though it didn’t end up on my menu that night, it pushed me to go to M&S and take a selfie with the infamous love sausage.
On the website, I also saw the ‘Nuts about you’ cheesecake, which I decided not to buy later on. By now, you must be wondering if I even bought anything at Marks & Spencer, or if this is just an excuse for me to ramble about sausages and nuts, and you would be right, I didn’t buy anything at M&S. The thought of eating a meal deal for my first proper Valentine’s dinner made the experience ten times worse.
So I decided to put my main focus on another country. Forgetting about the UK for a moment, I headed over to the US. For Americans, the most searched term was ‘Starbucks Valentine’s Day mug’. I’ll be honest straight away, I did not get a mug, either. The simple fact that there are no Starbucks near my house—only two Costas in a row—discouraged me in one Google search.
That’s when it hit me, creating the perfect Valentine’s dinner date was not about planning this elaborate evening—perfection is subjective. I spent my evening eating broccoli soup (that I didn’t make, should I add) with fancy bread and that was enough. News flash everybody: the perfect Valentine’s dinner date does not exist, or at least it varies depending on the relationship.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year, spending on Valentine’s Day is taking off, with up to $196.31 spent per lover this year. That’s up 21 per cent from last year. And this makes me wonder, do any of these people live in London? Spending a whole week of my rent on whoever I’m dating feels like a bit of a stretch. So, yes, I boycotted the M&S love sausage and didn’t bother to leave the comfort of Dalston to find a Starbucks and the perfect Valentine’s Day special edition mug, but the main thing is that I tried. I did my research, gave you the best options—I just failed to put them into practice.
Hopefully, this failed attempt at creating the perfect V-Day dinner date will be a lesson for each and every one of us. My last piece of advice? Whether you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, don’t stress it. Treat yourself. And ignore Google Trends.