Thursday is Valentine’s Day. For some, that means romantic dinners in candlelit restaurants. For others, it’s a lazy stroll under centuries-old oak trees — hand intertwined with our lover’s. 

But look closer.

On the same day Americans purchase 224 million roses, there is a hidden layer of the world — a dark, lonely underbelly, obscured from view. I’m talking, of course, about the single population. Those not romantically coupled. And, if you find yourself in this number, know I don’t mock you. In fact, I am one of you. And I have been for many years. *Sigh.* So many years.

But these sad, pathetic and lonely trips around the sun have given me the experience necessary to help guide other singles. So, do not despair!

Whether you want your Valentine’s Day to be petty, spiteful, restorative or the day you find the next person to trample your poor, damaged heart ... I mean, the day you might find your new love ... New Orleans has what you’re looking for.

So be brave, follow me and let’s take a romantic stroll through some of the events New Orleans has going on for its single population.

#ShredYourEx

I know, I know. You never imagined you’d be going to Hooters on Valentine’s Day. But trust me, because that’s exactly where we’re headed for Stop 1. All you need to do is go to a Hooters location — which we conveniently have in Metairie, Gretna, Terrytown and Slidell — and bring a picture of your ex (better yet: all pictures of your ex).

They destroy the picture(s) for you in satisfying fashion, and they give you 10 free boneless wings to dull the pain. The catch is you have to buy 10 boneless wings to qualify for the free ones, but — let’s be honest — if you’re not eating 20 wings by yourself in a Hooters on Valentine’s Day, you’re not doing it right.

Have a sexy time

Next up, we’re heading to Twelve Mile Limit in Mid-City for the Bad Romance burlesque show. Organizer and performer Kristen Crain promises a night stuffed with “themes of happiness, heartbreak and all shades in between."

"It’s easy to look around on Valentine’s Day and feel lonely,” Crain said. She thinks a packed house at Twelve Mile Limit is precisely what the doctor ordered. There’ll be hugs, lingerie and cocktails, and 10 percent of alcohol sales from the night go to supporting the nonprofit Judicial Reform for Sex Crimes. (Those folks on $300 romantic dinners, on the other hand, are only thinking about themselves!)

The burlesque show starts at 8 p.m. and Twelve Mile Limit never has a cover.

Warm up with sun salutations

“The deepest intent of yoga is to provide and receive deep care for ourselves,” said Swan River Yoga owner Michelle Baker. “For that, there’s no need to wait for another.”

The 90-minute class at the Canal Street studio begins at 7:30 p.m., and participants will receive stillness poses, massage therapy “and many self-care tools.”

The class is $18 and is suitable for participants of all body types, people with injuries and students with any level of experience (or none at all). You’ll be welcomed with open arms!

Best friends forever

This is being billed as the “dog-friendly Valentine’s Day Pawty of the century!” Stop by Grand Krewe New Orleans, a fine wine and spirits shop in Faubourg Marigny, for an evening that will make both you and your four-legged buddy happy.

Your pup gets to sample treats from New Orleans' pet care service Blakemoore Bark while you try a variety of the store’s wine inventory. Your little buddy will go home with gifts from Pet Krewe, while you’ll be showered with treats from Dig, the new dating app for people who love dogs. (I told you I had you covered.)

The event goes from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., and well-behaved dogs are welcome on leash.

Stay petty, New Orleans

“A good bartender is always there for you,” said Samantha Lee Fiel, the mastermind behind — and your bartender for — the CBD Social’s “Petty Party 2019.”

“Single people can feel left out on a holiday that celebrates relationships, but we’re determined not to let that happen,” Fiel said.

Make a copy (just one copy!) of that picture of your ex you destroyed at Hooters, because if you bring one with you to CBD Social, 709 St. Charles Ave., from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., you’ll be rewarded with a free shot.

Fiel has put together a special cocktail menu for the brokenhearted, including drinks like “Breakup Sex,” “I Still Use Your Netflix Account” and “The Worst.” When asked if couples were invited, she said, “Of course,” before adding, “but you should probably buy a single person a shot or something.”

So much more 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a beer/dinner pairing at Port Orleans Brewing Company, a Thai beach party at Marjie’s Grill, and a night celebrating “self-love and community” (photo booth included) at a Galentine’s Day party presented by the Sexism Project at the Glitter Box.

We might be single, but we still have a lot to celebrate. We might as well do it on Valentine’s Day. See you there!


MATT HAINES LIVES IN NEW ORLEANS. FOLLOW HIM AT MATTHAINESWRITES.COM.