Cost of loving: A Manc student’s guide to a cheap and cheerful Galentine’s Day

Just girly things


Six girls in pyjamas sit around a table in a Fallowfield kitchen. On the table there is a tablecloth adorned with robins and some Christmas dinner related stains. Long (possibly bendy) candles stuffed into wine bottles glimmer in the darkness.

Dirty plates have been moved to the countertop. Did you wash them? Did you fuck. The sexy playlist has been turned on and, naturally, Lizzo is lurking in the queue.

This can mean only one thing! The 14th of Feb has rolled around and for some unfathomable reason, many of us remain eligible bachelorettes.

In a strange, distinctively lacking in lust twist, Valentine’s Day has been appropriated by the female population, becoming a day to celebrate one’s closest friends. One’s ‘gals’ if you will.

I, personally, do not celebrate Galentine’s day to celebrate my gals. I celebrate Galentine’s day in the same way I celebrate every national holiday marked by a cost-of-living crisis: as a one-off occasion to drink lots under the thinly veiled illusion of female friendship.

If, however, love is on your mind, I have compiled some tried and tested Manc activities to pass the day (all can be done with friends, lovers, or in solitude if neither of the above apply).

Go to M&S

My housemate thinks M&S is an expensive version of Aldi and my housemate is wrong – M&S is a cornucopia of joy.

As seen on TikTok, M&S are selling decorate-your-own love heart cookies. A great opportunity to show off your sweet sweet penmanship skills in the name of love.

If you’d prefer to bake yourself, M&S sells a stick of butter for less than in Aldi. Good value if you plan to do some Galentine’s baking, or if eating butter on its own is your sort of thing – it certainly is mine. Sometimes I scuttle to the fridge, take a small scrape with a knife, sprinkle on some salt and lick it off.

Sometimes I go to M&S in a cost-of-living crisis and come back a better person.

Host a dinner party

Sometimes I go to M&S in a cost-of-living crisis and come back a better person.

Host a dinner party

Cooking a meal with housemates is an amusing task, most of the time.

I stress most of the time because if you are looking for your day to pass peacefully, six students attempting to craft a three course meal with just a hob and air fryer at hand is rarely a wise choice.

Going out to Kyotoya, Moon, Pepe’s or taking up a short excursion into the centre saves you the pressure of finding a meal all of you will agree on. Also the washing up. Also, I have watched enough episodes of Dinner Date to know that some people are never happy with what you have served them. Some people will not appreciate your Baked Feta with Sumac and Grapes and rather be pressing for you to cut them a small slab of butter they can nibble on.

Some people are best dining with in the safety of a restaurant rather than in the vulnerability of your own home.

‘Bring an ex-themed cocktail’ night

https://www.tiktok.com/@m._duncan/video/7180171533845826818?_r=1&_t=8ZqvOyC95d7

I, too, would like to be reminded of an ice cold ex in the form of a frozen margarita. Here’s a comical scenario: you drink too many cocktails and text said ex! Random! Haha!

Bottomless brunch

Sure, strikes are on all week. Sure, you are teaching yourself your degree. If there is one perk to losing over a grand’s worth of contact hours at uni it is getting plastered with your bestest friends at 11am on a Tuesday.

Foundry Project, Crazy Pedro’s and Elnecot are all worthy contenders.

Go for a romantic walk around Platt Fields

Long walks are a perfect time to discuss important life matters. You are side by side, no-one needs to make eye contact and you can get away with saying things you wouldn’t usually dare.

Do you actually like yourself? Do you think Aristotle was correct in theorising that no-one can make you feel more loved than a good friend? Is Paul Breach actually the good guy?

The answer, invariably, is no.

But back to Platt Fields. On top of boasting three whole different sections to walk around, it is home to rats aplenty with whom you can ponder the significance of love in modern day society.

Watch a romantic film

You will spend more time deciding what to watch than actually watching it and, when you do decide on something, it is an unfortunate truth that the sounds of 5 people scrolling through TikTok will muffle out the lengthy diatribes of The Kissing Booth 3.

“For the love of God, please someone turn off The Kissing Booth 3” you may receive in the group chat from a disgruntled housemate who is spending Valentine’s wallowing in bed.

A wise onlooker would tell you to reply to the text, call your housemate a ‘The Kissing Booth 3’ naysayer, open Letterboxd and rate it 5 stars. Citizen Kane, your days are numbered.

Double tinder date

Two housemates of mine participated in this activity just last week.

One brought a chap home who I had a fortuitous meeting with in the hallway at 2am as I was preparing to brush my teeth. The other wandered the streets of city centre alone after she found out she’d been assigned the shorter one.

Your night could go one of two ways but your friendship will be all the stronger for it.

Arts and Crafts

Make some heart cut outs for the walls! Crochet a heart for a loving relative! Craft your flatmates Valentine’s Day cards to make up for a particularly divisive game of Monopoly that prompted them to leave the flat and go on a walk. Make it Mister Maker!

Go clubbing

Chances are you have planned a girls night in, but, with limited energy and resources, the simpler option is clear. Factory is a reliable night at worst and with Rewind Tuesdays and student drink prices it is a fair choice of location for a Galentine’s night out.

In any case, on the 143 back to Owens Park you can look at your friends throwing up into their dragonsoop cans and plan to have acquired a significant other next time around.

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