Cheeky Valentine’s Recommendations for Real Life

Something to hold you over until you get your hands on the discount chocolates tomorrow.

I know a lot of people in the book-o-sphere are making or have made “romance”-centered recommendations in the holiday spirit, and I thought of making the same. But I don’t read a lot of books where romance is the primary focus, and none of which I could recommend. It’s my own fault, really. I have my Venus in Libra in my 6th house, and my tastes are very picky and particular. In fact, I honestly think two of the most romantic things I’ve ever read are actually on AO3. (As an aside: I know fandom and fandom culture has had a weird culture shift recently into like, the public eye. But I came to age on the internet and in fandom during a time where this stuff was kept on the down low. [Post on that coming eventually]. The fact I just linked to AO3 on my public blog feels strange still).

But I figured I could still throw a few ideas out there for folks of the cinematic persuasion. (And use this as an open call to hear about your favorite romances across books, TV, etc.!)

For the Single and…

  • Thirsty: Boys Over Flowers (Netflix), Luke Cage (Netflix)
    • Boys Over Flowers was one of the OG “reverse-harem” series I was introduced to. It’s very, very sweet, but also focuses, as a main plot point, on a group of handsome, wealthy men. I feel contractually obligated to mention it here for that reason. Enjoy.
    • Simone. Missick. Rosario. Dawson. Alfre. Woodard. Round that out with Mahershala Ali, Mike Colter, and Theo Rossi and you have the best looking cast of any MCU production. (The fact that it is, in fact, the single best thing [with the single best soundtrack!] Marvel has produced to date is really only the cherry on top).
  • Jaded: Whipped (YouTube), Unreal (Hulu)
    • A pilot for a series I desperately hope gets picked up by some platform so I can have more of it. A straight-laced man walks in on his girlfriend engaged in a BDSM scene with another man. In an effort to win her back, he winds up in a sex shop. Foolery ensues. Obviously 18+ and NSFW but worth a watch, as are all the “product infomercials” they’ve also uploaded.
    • Love isn’t real and the proof is in this show, which you should have already been watching before now, to be honest. Beautifully written and complex characters in an unflinching look at reality television and reality TV romance, this one is particularly binge-able.
  • Uninterested: Luther (Netflix)
    • Alright. Okay. Let me explain. In addition to just being fresh on my mind as the most recent series I’ve wrapped up, I want to say now that I think Luther could also serve as fodder for the Thirsty. And the Jaded. Luther is for everyone. My real reason for including this is Idris Elba who deserves all the awards known to man because I think Luther explores, among other things, love as a verb. Love in the things you do (or don’t do) for others, and love beyond romantic love. Platonic and familial love, in fact, are shown more often in this way than romantic love. I don’t view that as the main theme, like the way they stress questions of morality v. legality and such, but I saw it enough I figured I could make the stretch to recommend it here.
    • (Honorable mention: Flashpoint Paradox, also on Netflix. I promise you need no DC comics knowledge to enjoy it, but I’m recommending it here for similar reasons as I did Luther above; this is a very good movie that focuses, among other things, on relationships between our friends and family and the lengths we could or should go for their well-being).

For the Hopelessly Romantic, Single or Otherwise

  • Practical Magic (Netflix)
    • The aesthetic, though. Also believing in love and magic etc., etc. Put the lime in the coconut and do yourself a favor and just watch it and be happy.
  • Pride and Prejudice (2005!)
    • I mean…I don’t know if I’m even legally allowed to post this without listing this movie.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

For the Folks Who Just Want Something CUTE, dammit

  • Lovely Muuuuuuuco! (Crunchyroll)
    • Is there anything more pure and good than the love between dog and owner?
  • Fruits Basket (Funimation)
    • If you just want to cry. Like, laugh first, maybe. And coo a bit. But then to cry about your own life choices and how no love in your life could compare to —

Everyone Who’s a Bit “All of the Above”

  • Beating Again. Beating Again. BEATING AGAIN!!!!! (Netflix). This show…this show. Everything you could possibly want. Everything! This was enough to melt my own icy heart and bring me to tears several times. This was also clever and funny enough to keep me belly-laughing when my tear ducts weren’t otherwise occupied. This is, to date, the only series I have ever gone back to re-watch. Just…watch it, and then come back and let’s talk about it.

As for me on V-Day, I’m going to finally sit down and watch Big Eden on Hulu, and maybe finish Yuri! On Ice.

(Also, I struggled thinking of readily available, happy [or at least happy-ending] series or movies involving sapphic women, especially as main characters. If anyone has any recommendations I would be much obliged).

Before you leave, might I also recommend: my favorite bath soak, face maskwine, or tea with any of these selections?

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