IN EDINBURGH'S midday rush, on the most romantic day of the year, John Harra was on a mission to hug everyone he saw. "Hugs for everyone!" he shouted, holding a large "Free Hugs" sign over his head. "Anyone need some love on Valentine's day?"
"EVERY year for the past 25 years, I buy at least one red rose for my wife," a smiling Ali Jamil said as he held a neatly wrapped fresh red rose in his hand yesterday.
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MORE than one in eight Edinburgh men who order flowers from a supermarket on Valentine's Day send bouquets to more than one woman.
FIRMS could face compensation claims if workers feel they are being harassed by a colleague on Valentine's Day.
AT first glance, the scene is no more than a typically picturesque view across the Firth of Forth.
OH COME on. Admit it. Do you really look forward to Valentine's day? Do you honestly leap out of bed at 7am on the morning of 14 February, rosy with expectance at this most joyous and romantic of occasions? Or do you secretly regard it, rather like a visit to the dentist or a reality TV show featuring a member of the Goody family, as something to be endured, rather than enjoyed?
FIRST you have to select the perfect victim - someone who seems dissatisfied with their life may work best. Then you need to lay on the charm, not forgetting to throw in some mixed signals (interested in your intended one minute, seemingly bored and distracted the next) so that they begin to crave your attention. Throw in some carefully set-up "chance" meetings and a love triangle for good measure, and the object of your desire will be giving you the "come hither" look in no time at all.
EVEN the word is enough to send some men into a spin: Lingerie. So seductive, so luxurious, so intimate, so French. And the best part is, women love it, too. Who doesn't want to feel pampered and sexy?
THE price of romance will hit £2.4 billion this week as Britons splash out on Valentine's Day.
AS the sun set on St Valentine's Day last year, Sally Gray found herself sitting alone on a ferry travelling across Sydney Harbour.
LOVE AND MARRIAGE GO TOGETHER like a horse and carriage ... or do they? With one in three marriages in Scotland ending in divorce and an increasing number of couples eschewing a wedding to show their commitment by co-habiting, one could be forgiven for doubting the old tune.
S.W.A.L.K! Valentine's Day is synonymous with love. But how will you celebrate? Send a card or a fluffy toy, or venture out to one of the many special events being held throughout the Capital.
Fashions come and go but when it comes to flowers and Valentine's Day, love, it seems, will always be like a red, red rose.
THE red roses, the lacy lingerie, the heart-shaped tokens . . . Somewhere in the background, Renee and Renato are crooning about saving their love as a beautiful woman chomps her way through her box of chocolates without putting on an ounce of weight or developing a single shiny red spot.
LOVE it or hate it, there's no escape from Valentine's Day. As cosy couples exhibit their devotion on February 14, singletons will be hoping that they'll be asked out by the object of their affections.
HOPING to get some delicate, exquisite underwear for Valentine's Day this year? Worried you'll end up with a pair of red nylon knickers or hot pants embroidered with the not-so-subtle words "I'M YOURS" which seem to be filling the shops at the moment?
CONSIDERING it's going to cost less than a tenner - unless you shop in some very exclusive places - and consists of a folded bit of paper with a picture or slogan on the front, there's an awful lot riding on your choice of Valentine's card.
HEAVEN V, a beauty salon in the Omni Centre is offering couples a facial, scalp massage and massage for £70, that's £35 per person. And if you're single take a friend along and enjoy being pampered for less. Telephone 0131-550 1650 to book.
IT was way back in the second century AD that the Romans identified oysters as an aphrodisiac, with one satirist describing how wanton women used to down large quantities of them.
CREATING the atmosphere is the easy part - a few candles, a little music, some fresh-cut flowers.