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Of all the made-up holidays (I’m looking at you, Christmas, you capitalist orgy disguised in the soothing trappings of pagan imagery), Valentine’s Day might be the absolute saddest of all. It’s named for a Roman Catholic saint who was publicly clubbed to death and beheaded, and who is additionally the patron saint of fainting, plague, beekeeping, and epilepsy. His skull is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Rome.

So in honor of that man’s centuries-long misery, set fire to your life and eschew the traditions of the commercialized day for which this dead man’s name and legacy have been co-opted. Instead, here are other thematic, D.C.-specific ways to honor Saint Valentine, organized by his other, under-appreciated patronages.

Beekeeping. If you don’t keep a B-team of hookups saved in your phone, you’ll have to hit up Craigslist to find a date to bring to the Valentine’s Day Viennese Ball at the Austrian embassy. Here are some good selections I’ve found this week—all men seeking women, but you can find equally appealing options in whatever gender format you prefer to cruise in:

  • A married man who wants to bang you, a married woman, in the bathroom of the Hamilton at 11 a.m. in the middle of brunch, “than [sic] go back to our spouses like nothing even happened.” Stiff competition with the guy who wants you to give him a blowjob in his car before he takes his wife to the Blue Duck Tavern.
  • A man who wants to “meet up, have a crazy romantic evening, pretend like we’re a couple…. and then never see each other again!” but only if you send your photo first for pre-approval.
  • “The [National] Gun Show rolls back into town this Valentine’s day weekend, and I’m looking for a gun-loving woman to take it in with me.”
  • “Hit me up if you’ve never had a decent sized dick and need it.”
  • “I will check your ID if you look too young or if I get a young vibe from you and if you’re older then it depends because I put 45 because I know mature women want this sometimes too.”
  • “I’m looking for a woman that’s into riding a guy’s face. I didn’t post this in the casual encounters section because to be honest, I don’t want a casual encounter.”

Happy hunting!  

Public display of a corpse. The local daily paper recommends you send an e-card to your other slampieces to let them know things aren’t dead, per se, and that while they’re not your primary romantic interest on Feb. 14, you’re probably going to want to keep them on deck for when something better inevitably doesn’t pan out. The National Zoo has a nice selection of cards to choose from, and your purchase will go toward supporting FONZ. 

Getting clubbed to death in public. If you survive your Craigslist encounter, go alone to the Starbucks at Union Station and order a quadruple espresso. When your tears fall into the cup and render your drink both salty and tepid, it becomes a depresso and is ready to drink. Sit near the train deboarding area and watch couples reuniting and kissing, picturing yourself in these scenarios with each of your exes. You’ll start second-guessing all your breakups and feel yourself spinning into an existential angst. In this mood, you’re ready to attend the 4 Minute Dating and Lock and Combination Mixer party this Friday at Rosebar.

Plague, planetary. Contemplate the cost in human lives of mining diamonds and gold; the environmental devastation wrought by large-scale chocolate farming; the pollution, deforestation, runoff, and fossil fuel waste resulting from deco flower cultivation; or the staggering psychic cost to women of rape culture, which meetup environments like Tinder trade in, as a matter of cultural currency. Devote the gaping maw in your heart to Saint Valentine, and this Saturday do some cleanup by attending the Rock Creek Conservancy’s Invasive English Ivy Removal Event.

What a great Valentine’s weekend! Feb. 15 has never looked this inviting.

To get you in the mood, here’s a collection of thematically grim photos by City Paper photographer Darrow Montgomery. You may not use these to make your own ecards, because these photos belong to us and we’re not giving you permission to use them. Go take your own.