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Feeling cynical? Here's your anti-Valentine's Day guide for Baltimore

Feeling cynical? Here's your anti-Valentine's Day guide for Baltimore
Burned by love? Try some of these activities this Valentine's Day. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

Maybe your heart’s been broken, maybe you just haven’t found the right relationship, or maybe you’re just sick and tired of the calendar’s telling you when it’s time to be romantic.

Whatever the cause, here’s betting that some of you have had it up to here with Valentine’s Day and all the associated folderol. But since you’re still partying types, here’s the dilemma:

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How can one still have a good time on Valentine’s Day, while defiantly not getting with the program? Easily, we say. Here are five ways to mark the season in ways not stereotypically romantic — along with five ways the more traditional among you can make all lovey-dovey with your preferred partner.

Cupid Rhymes With Stupid Anti-Valentine’s Day Party

Even for the cynical among us, this one sounds a little extreme.

The Owl Bar’s third annual “Cupid Rhymes With Stupid Anti-Valentine's Day Party” is designed for those reformed romantics feeling especially bitter toward their exes. Happy couples are welcome upstairs at the Belvedere’s 13th Floor, where a more traditional Valentine's Day dinner will be held. But for crushed hearts, the first-floor Owl Bar will be the place.

You, too, can get your photo snapped at the third annual Cupid Rhymes With Stupid Anti-Valentine's Day Party, set for Wednesday at the Owl Bar.- Original Credit: Handout art
You, too, can get your photo snapped at the third annual Cupid Rhymes With Stupid Anti-Valentine's Day Party, set for Wednesday at the Owl Bar.- Original Credit: Handout art (/ HANDOUT)

“We tried doing a traditional day, but for some reason, it just doesn’t work at the Owl,” says Jackie Chandler, the bar’s general manager.

So what will the embittered get for showing up? A specialized “Love Bites” menu, for one, filled with“things you don’t want to eat while out on a date,” according to Chandler. There’ll also be an Anti-Love Potion, glow sticks that will immediately broadcast your dating status to anyone on the prowl (Red = taken, green = single, yellow = up for anything), and a photo booth to preserve the occasion forever.

All management staff and employees will be sporting photos of their exes, Chandler says. Bring in one of your own and you get a free shot.

Last year’s bash attracted about 250 people, Chandler says. “Sometimes there’s a sene of shock, people that don’t know what they’re walking into,” she says.

But “some people actually come down here from The 13th Floor. Some people come to look for a date.”

The Cupid Rhymes With Stupid Anti-Valentine's Day Party starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday at The Owl Bar at the Belvedere, 1 E. Chase St. No cover. theowlbar.com.

Alternative: Though admittedly a bit offbeat, Saturday’s Cupid’s Undie Run is probably a little more what that winged imp had in mind. For $40, you get to run around in your underwear (from 2 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. — it is, as they say, a brief run) and party, all in the name of raising money for charity. Noon-4 p.m. at Luckie’s Tavern, 10 Market Place in Power Plant Live. cupids.org.

The Emo Show: Anti-Valentine’s Party

Even the undead have a need for love, it seems. And they like overwrought power pop.

The Emo Show: Anti-Valentine’s Party, at Game sports bar near the stadiums, is a “very un-traditional Valentine’s Day party,” promises the bar’s general manager, Ashley Riggs. “I mean, everyone hates Valentine’s Day.”

Come dressed as a zombie, she notes, and your first drink is on the house. From there, you can imbibe a steady stream of Zombie Juice (a hearty mix of alcohol and juices) at $5 a pop, plus Brain Hemorrhage shots (“they look like crazy brains,” Riggs promises) and all manner of drink specials “that are themed around zombies, broken hearts, crying and whining, that sort of stuff,” she says.

You can even play “Mortal Kombat” in the game room, which certainly maintains the “carnage” theme.

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For music, a passel of tribute bands will perform, invoking such classic emo acts as Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Mayday Parade, New Found Glory and Green Day.

This marks the second year zombies will take over Game in celebration of Valentine’s Day. The idea came when a group of “four or five guys … decided to throw a killer anti-Valentine’s party,” Riggs says (and maybe carried that “killer” adjective a little farther than most). From there, she notes, it was a small step to centering everything around zombies.

“They just figured, ‘Let’s add zombies, have the apocalypse behind it,’ ” Riggs says. “That’s the whole theme behind the night, the blood and the gore.”

Not what St. Valentine had in mind, we’re guessing, but OK.

The Emo Show: Zombie Anti-Valentine’s Party lurches its way into Game, 1400 Warner St., at 7 p.m. Saturday. $10. Search event name on Facebook.

Alternative: The Mobtown Ballroom is hosting a Valentine's Day Jazz Jam + Dance, with music from The Zach Serleth Trio, plus any other musicians who feel like jamming. The event is open “to people of all relationship styles and statuses for a night of good music, cold drinks, optional dancing, and relaxed hanging." 8 p.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday at Mobtown, 861 Washington Blvd. Free. Search event name on Facebook.

Junkluck #03: Valentine’s Edition

Don’t tell your mothers about this one, but The Windup Space is holding the sort of Valentine’s Day party that doubtless shows up in her nightmares.

Junkluck #03: Valentine’s Edition is a junk-food potluck, with attendees urged to bring along an unhealthy serving of food with as little nutritional value as possible. It is, according to the venue’s website, a chance to “celebrate being alone together.” With Twinkies.

“It sounds like a great way to spend a Valentine’s Day,” says Rahne Alexander, aka 50 Foot Woman, one of about a half-dozen performers who have signed up to make music that should help take your mind off what’s happening to your diet. “It’s such a fraught day in so many ways. I’ve got a great relationship, a great marriage going now. But for years, it was a day I didn’t have a particularly good time at.”

Other acts on the bill include Roxanne Wehking, Katie Feild, Zack Branch, Snake Charm (Corey Hennessey) and The Bannermen (Jimmy Curley Baseman & Kyle Vinton).

Alexander, who’ll be doing some traveling in the days leading up to Junkluck, isn’t sure what food she’ll be bringing. But she likes the challenge, and is prepared to munch out on whatever is being offered.

“We’ll have to see what kind of exotic junk food I might bring back from my travels,” she says.

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Can your taste buds stand it?

Junkluck #03: Valentine's Edition starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday at The Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave. No cover. thewindupspace.com.

Alternative: A Winter Craft Circle and Potluck Social, at which attendees are urged to “finish up that Valentine's gift for your special someone” (and at which healthy potluck offerings are welcome) is set for noon-3 p.m. Saturday at Native American LifeLines of Baltimore, 106 W Clay St. Free. Search “NAL Winter Craft Circle and Potluck Social" on Facebook.

Galentine’s Day Beef Butchery Demo

Now, here’s a new and novel idea: Celebrate the love-iest day of the year by watching beef being butchered.

Parts & Labor’s Galentine’s Day Beef Butchery Demo (the name’s a nod to the TV series “Parks and Recreation,” where it’s a favorite holiday of series centerpiece Leslie Knope) will afford some 20 lucky people the chance to see butcher George Marsh and his apprentices prepare an ex-steer for fine dining.

You’ll get to do more than just watch, too. Champagne will be served during the demonstration, along with cheeses and meats. And afterward there’s dinner, with your choice of 8-ounce filet, 14-ounce strip or 14-ounce ribeye.

Making the occasion even more special: Although butchering demonstrations are commonplace at the Remington restaurant, it’s usually a pig getting butchered. This is the first time for a steer.

Butcher George Marsh will show off his skills at Tuesday's Galentine’s Day Beef Butchery Demo at Parts & Labor.- Original Credit: Scott Suchman
Butcher George Marsh will show off his skills at Tuesday's Galentine’s Day Beef Butchery Demo at Parts & Labor.- Original Credit: Scott Suchman (SCOTT SUCHMAN / HANDOUT)

(And don’t worry if you’re squeamish; we’ve been assured the steer is being slaughtered offsite.)

Geared toward “anyone who wanted to come and do a cool, weird thing the day before Valentine’s Day," the demonstration will — at the very least — guarantee you have a fresh piece of beef for dinner, says Emily Rosen, who manages the butcher shop.

“This is going to be a very fresh steer,” she promises.

And a Valentine’s Day to remember. Though perhaps not for the steer.

The Galentine's Day Beef Butchery Demo is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Parts & Labor, 2600 N. Howard St. $120. partsandlaborbutchery.com.

Alternative: Spirit Cruises, 561 Light St., offers a more traditionally romantic Valentine’s with both lunch and dinner Valentine’s Cruises, complete with buffet meals, dancing and (at night) champagne and roses. A lunch cruise is set for noon-2 p.m. Sunday (starting at $53.99), with dinner cruises set for 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Wednesday and next Friday (starting at $79.90). spiritcruises.com/baltimore. For more Valentine’s Day dining specials, click here.

Do Not Eat This Chocolate

Anybody can get their soulmate chocolate for Valentine’s Day, so what’s the challenge in that?

But … chocolate that’ll make your mouth burn with a hellish fire, for which no amount of water will be enough to calm the fury? Now that’s saying ‘I love you.”

Do Not Eat This Chocolate bars can be had ($7.99 for a 2.5-ounce bar) at Hampden’s Ma Petite Shoe. And for the romantic looking to put some serious spice in his or her love live, they can’t be beat.

The key: They’re made with ghost chili, by an Oregon-based chocolatier with a sense of the outlandish.

Do Not Eat This Chocolate bar, at Ma Petite Shoe in Hampden- Original Credit: Sarah Meehan
Do Not Eat This Chocolate bar, at Ma Petite Shoe in Hampden- Original Credit: Sarah Meehan (/ The Baltimore Sun)

“They’re definitely for someone who has an adventurous palate,” says Ma Petite Shoe’s owner, Susannah Siger, who says she’s been offering the hot chocolate for about 13 years, and it’s a big seller.

“It’s a great seller,” she says. “People who enjoy spice, they’re always looking for the ultimate high in terms of spice, they’ll come in and say, ‘Is this the spiciest?’ This is the bar for them.”

And you know how chocolate’s taste tends to linger, thanks to those delicious oils that coat the inside of your mouth? The same holds true of Do Not Eat This Chocolate. The burn hangs around.

“If people are hotheads,” says Siger, employing a term used for people especially fond of extreme spices, “once they taste it, they come back and buy a handful.”

Just like romance — once tasted, you’ll always want more.

Do Not Eat This Chocolate bars are available at Ma Petite Shoe, 832 W 36th St. It’s suggested you have a healthy supply of water handy before tasting. mapetiteshoe.com.

Alternative: Just about anything else Ma Petite Shoe offers by way of chocolate, including imported Belgian chocolates, PB&J chocolates made with a fine French raspberry jelly and one of Siger’s favorites, Irish Coffee and Potcheen Truffles, made with Irish Whiskey.

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