Oh dear. It’s here again. It’s only the beginning of February and already you find yourself surrounded by red crepe paper visual merchandising and special dinner deals that can only mean one thing.

But don’t worry; this Valentine’s Day needn’t be all oysters and champagne. While others swan about trading bundles of red roses and downing fancy French steaks, you can impress your sweetheart with some of the more left-of-centre goings on in and around our fine city.

Ghost at The Shadow Electric
For those who believe that love transcends even death – or even more so for those who find such talk utter drivel – grab a seat in the back row of Ghost, screening on the February 14 at the Shadow Electric. Giggle hysterically at that famous pottery scene and be shushed by those taking it a little more seriously as Demi gazes into those dreamy Swayze eyes.

Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford
2013.shadowelectric.com.au

Sex in Ceramics at NGV
Get past that awful awkward stage of a date by throwing yourself headfirst into a potentially confronting scenario from the get-go. The National Gallery of Victoria is holding a series of suitably themed talks on the day in question, including the indulgent Sex in Ceramics: Soft Porn in Hard Paste, led by assistant curator for the decorative arts Dr. Matthew Martin. Though the title may seek to shock, the talk itself will take avid listeners through the ins and outs of the proverbial art form, no doubt throwing in a few double entendres along the way. Entry is free, so you’ll have enough left in the bank to splash out on chef Gabriel Martin’s white chocolate fondue with fig, candied orange and rockmelon at Persimmon.

180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
(03) 8620 2222
ngv.vic.gov.au

Bounce
If you’re one of the more the strikingly unromantic amongst us, get ludicrous with a night out at Bounce in Glen Iris, traversing the 100 plus trampolines, arms linked in the unstoppable combined jiggle of bouncing. If it all goes pear shaped, take it out on each other in a game of dodge ball before collapsing exhausted into the safety of a forgiving foam pit. Bounce is open until 9pm every Thursday, but bookings are recommended for the predictably busy February 14.

2 Weir Street, Glen Iris
(03) 8199 0533
bounceinc.com.au

Onsen Ma
Maybe you’re not the sporting type. It’s possible you’re looking for a more subdued night out – something understated that shows you’re one of those remarkable individuals with nothing to prove. So remarkable, in fact, that you don’t feel the need to spend the entire date together. Onsen Ma is a traditional Japanese Bath House that has just opened up in the CBD. Escape to a quiet, tranquil paradise for a cup of tea and – bliss – a few moments alone. Downstairs, the staff at Senoritas will bring you back down to Earth to reminisce about your bathing experiences over a fiery late night Mexicali snack.

Level 1, 12–18 Meyers Place, Melbourne
(03) 9663 8777
Onsen Ma

Studley Park Boathouse
For those imagining they’d like to cosy up a little more with their loved one, what better way to get all cuddly than under a hypothermic blanket after losing your way boating along the Yarra? Studley Park boathouse is tucked away in Kew, and while it may sound a little predictable, you can hire a boat or kayak for the day with literally no boating credentials. Dazzle your partner with exceptional navigational skills, and if you survive the trip, a post-nautical picnic at the spot of your choosing along the riverside.

1 Boathouse Road, Kew
(03) 9853 1828
studleyparkboathouse.com.au