I Interrupted Valentine's Day Couples to Ask How Their Date Was Going

"He sent a ball invitation to my address for a 'Bridgerton'-themed dinner."
Courtney and James enjoying Valentine's Day before being interrupted by VICE
Courtney (left) and James (right). Photo: the author. 

It’s Valentine's Day which means one thing: loads of couples are out there, being couples and thinking about the fact that they are couples. Meanwhile, single people are living their lives as usual, safe in the knowledge that they don't have to spend a shit tonne of money on a “special dinner” or “some wine” – unless they want to on themselves.  


You might think Valentine's Day sucks (“it's a fake holiday invented to uphold consumerism, guys!”), but there's no denying that love is nice – if you happen to be in it. Who doesn't want to spend the day with someone who thinks you are fitter than most other people and might make you spaghetti on a special occasion?

That said, what do people even do on Valentine's Day these days? We’re living in modern times. Relationships have crumbled under the weight of the pandemic. People are in non-monogamous situationships now. Noone has the time.

With that in mind, I took to the streets (and pubs and restaurants) of London on V-Day weekend to find out: Is Valentine’s Day still a thing people care about? What's everyone up to? Here's what the couples I interrupted had to say.

James Woodward, 34, and Olamidé Noah, 31: ‘We went for dinner at the top of the Shard’

VICE: How’s your Valentine’s Day going?
Olamidé Noah: We already celebrated on Friday night! It was my turn to sort Valentine’s Day this year, so we went for dinner at the top of the Shard. But James did this elaborate thing last year during lockdown.

James (left) and Olamidé (right) enjoying Valentine's Day on the street

James (left) and Olamidé (right) enjoying Valentine's Day on the street.


Tell me about it.
He sent a ball invitation to my address for a Bridgerton-themed dinner.
James Woodward: I made a roast dinner for us because we couldn’t do anything else. I moved all the plants in the flat to make a little indoor garden and played all the Bridgerton music. I also got her dance cards to wear around her wrist and wrote “Duke James” on them.

Wait, what? Dance cards?
Yeah, in the show whenever they have a ball the ladies wear these dance cards around their wrists. So, I wrote my name on her card so we could dance together.

I’m guessing you two quite like Valentine’s Day.
Noah: We think it’s cute.
Woodward: I think it’s nice, you know? It’s an excuse to be a bit fancy. We wouldn’t normally go to the Shard for dinner. I’m actually scared of heights, but I was fine once I had a drink in hand.

You two are so cute I could be sick!

Ellana Delfino-Rice, 25, and Ben Onyibo Ameke Robinson, 24: ‘We’ve already given each other gifts because we’re impatient’

Ellana (left) and Ben (right) drinking cocktails.

Ellana (left) and Ben (right) drinking cocktails in a restaurant.

VICE: Hey! What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
Ellana Delfino-Rice:
We’ve already given each other gifts because we’re impatient.

Do either of you feel pressure to go all out for Valentine’s Day?
Ben Robinson:
Ellana makes me feel a lot of pressure.
Delfino-Rice: Well, last year everyone was posting their stuff on Instagram and I had a lot of expectations. But I no longer have Instagram, so… there’s a lot of positives to that.


That’s very honest.
She compares herself a lot. I don’t feel too stressed about it – instead I neglect it a bit. But there’s more pressure when you have a girlfriend with higher standards.
Delfino-Rice: We laugh about it now, but last year I didn’t get a card until after Valentine’s Day. He got me a condolences card instead.
Robinson: It took us a long time to be able to laugh about it. It was a sore subject.
Delfino-Rice: This year we’re going for drinks at a little French jazz café in Liverpool on Monday. We’re just in London for the weekend, keeping it social with friends while we’re here.

Seems like a good idea. No grief cards this year!

Oliver Barsby, 22, and Lucy Martin, 21: ‘It’s really only a day in the end’

Oliver (left) and Lucy (right)

VICE: Hi both! How’s your V-Day going?
Lucy Martin:
We’re going to Brighton tomorrow. We’re making up for last year.

Yeah, not a lot of options last year. Is there anything you wish you could do instead?
I’d like to go abroad, but it doesn’t make sense right now.

Fair enough. So how do you guys go about gifts?
Oliver Barsby:
We usually just do small jokey presents.
Martin: People spend so much on Valentine’s Day! It’s excessive.
Barsby: Yeah, the gifts that are marketed are tat. It’s like, bargain bin stuff.
Martin: People can feel so much pressure to go overboard, but it’s really only a day in the end.


Low-key. I like it.

Courtney Nicole, 28, and James Hall, 28: ‘We had a “falling out” last year’

Courtney (left) and James (right) enjoying the view.

Courtney (left) and James (right) enjoying the view.

VICE: So, you’ve been together for three years. Do you always celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Courtney Nicole: Honestly, this is our first Valentine’s together. We’re doing a bottomless brunch now because we both have to work on Monday.
James Hall: Yeah, this is our first Valentine’s Day – we had a “falling out” last year. Then we were long distance the years before that.

Do you feel more pressure since you haven’t properly celebrated together?
I had a hard time understanding the point of Valentine’s Day because I usually buy her flowers and bubble baths and shit like that randomly. I don’t need a day to remind me to be romantic, I guess.
Nicole: Yeah, we have a really good time just chilling at home and binge-watching movies. But I think since we were long distance before that we deserve a date… Or at least I do! But he’s right, he’s really romantic to me on a regular basis. I get that sweet feeling really often.

No traditions then?
No, but we do have a shared love for food.
Hall: I’d be happy with a heart-shaped box with extra crispy buffalo wings and ranch dip.

Jonathan Broodie, 28, and Dominique Maynard, 27: ‘We’re not that into being romantic’

Jonathan (left) and Dominique (right) biking around the streets.

Jonathan (left) and Dominique (right) biking around the streets.

VICE: How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?
Dominique Maynard:
I’m not fussed over it. We are completely different people. He’ll go along with whatever I decide. When we first started dating, we both made much more of an effort.


What about this year?
If he gets me some cute flowers from the shop, I wouldn’t be mad at it. M&S do a little dine-in meal for V-day. It’s such a good deal so we’ve done that before!

We live together and both work from home so I wouldn’t say romance is dead but we’re not that into being romantic. I believe in being quite equal in the relationship. We’re super chilled out people so I wouldn’t be able to reciprocate any grand gestures!

Sophie Levine, 28, and Oliver Phillips, 29: ‘I think we’re both pretty easy to please’

sophie and oliver.jpg

VICE: So this is your first Valentine’s Day together? What’s the plan?
Oliver Phillips:
We’re going out of town on Monday to Selsey. It’s like a fishing town.
Sophie Levine: I haven’t had a Valentine’s Day in a few years so I’m excited!

Do you both take the holiday quite seriously?
We click quite well so this year I’m excited to take it seriously. I have some surprises planned that I can’t tell you now!
Levine: Not too seriously… I prefer planned days or experiences over a gift. I think we’re both pretty easy to please.

Are you feeling the pressure then, Oliver?
I’m feeling a little more pressure since it’s our first one!

Good luck!