Shun the conventional dates this Feb. 14 Whether you've been with your significant other for a while or you're spending Valentine's Day with someone you just met on the train-or even if you're single but ready to mingle-you don't want to go on the same old boring dates year after year. If you're into committing a charitable act, being spontaneous, devouring sweet treats or doing all three, Our Town has the hookups to guarantee your Valentine's Day-and week-is as saucy and unconventional as possible. Donate Blood What's sexier than banding together to save lives? What's more straight-from-the-heart than your own blood? Especially after Hurricane Sandy, which has driven the demand for blood in the city higher than ever. Visit the New York Blood Center's website to schedule a blood donation or find a drive in your area. If you're a little woozy post-donation, you can cling to one another as you sip from paper cups of apple juice and nibble on cookies. nybloodcenter.org Cupid's Undie Run If you want to bond this Valentine's Day weekend without your clothes on, consider Cupid's (one-mile) Undie Run through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. The run will take place Feb. 9 at 2:30 p.m. and includes a post-run celebration at the Brass Monkey bar. All proceeds from the event benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation. Who ever said stripping down couldn't be charitable in more ways than one? cupidsundierun.com/NYC Craigslist It Up If you and your other half want to spice things up this year, consider posting a "missed connection," "casual encounter" or personal ad to each other on Craigslist. Be smart with this one; while it's always fun to be spontaneous and a bit exhibitionistic, remember Craigslist is a public forum and whatever you post is definitely not for your eyes only. craigslist.com Literary Speed-Dating If you're a part of that "still looking for a date" crowd-and maybe just a little bit nerdy-the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho has just the event for you. On Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., the bookstore will be hosting "literary speed-dating" for those who would "rather be judged by their book cover." While the event is currently sold out, it's still possible to get on the waiting list, and the bookstore guarantees more similar, coveted events in the future for those who sign up. 126 Crosby St.; housingworks.org/bookstore The OkCupid Show Want to learn what not to do this Valentine's Day? The Housing Works Bookstore Cafe is also hosting a night of dating-horror-storytelling with writers from big-name magazines sharing stories on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Consider this a primer on how to behave this V-Day whether you're meeting someone from the Internet or not. Gelato Workshop If you just want to get straight to the sweet stuff this holiday, consider a gelato/sorbet workshop class with your date at Mia Chef Gelateria in Murray Hill. The gelateria hosts 14 different evening classes all through February where expert artisans teach the ancient art of gelato-making. Bring home the fruits of your labor to spoon feed each other while you cuddle up on the love seat in front of your favorite romantic flick. gelatomia.com Beginner Salsa Classes Get intimate with that special someone on this year's day of love by engaging in a little spicy salsa action (no, not the eating kind). Baila Tango in Midtown West hosts $20 beginner salsa classes for four evening dates in February. Learn the basics from an expert and wow your date on the dance floor with your new moves ? or giggle flirtatiously as you stumble over each other's feet and collapse clumsily into each other's arms. bailatango.com
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