A different outlook on Valentine’s Day

by Alex Eldridge

Stores are stocked with chocolates, roses, stuffed animals, and cards. Red and pink decorations warm up the cold winter blues. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. It’s the one day a year that men are expected to give their woman a gift to show them how much they love them. The problem is, not all women are the mushy romantic type that buy into a holiday with a winged baby in a diaper as the mascot.

When I was in school, everyone exchanged Ninja Turtles or Disney Princesses Valentine’s with a lollipop attached, asking your 1 st grade crush if they would be yours. Kids chow down on the sugary goodness, driving the teachers crazy. What kid doesn’t like candy? I still enjoy getting my hands on a candy bar or Hershey’s Kisses, but the whole idea of giving chocolate and candy to a grown adult for Valentine’s Day is very elementary to me. Then, candy was like currency. Selling candy on the bus ride home to all the other students, in the name of a fundraiser, earned you a status as being “cool.” The only thing these sweet treats give me now is an extra inch on my waistline.

Flowers are one gift I know I won’t be receiving for Valentine’s Day, stemming from an incident with my significant other when we first met. I see flowers as a very personal gift that should only be given to someone after you truly know them. He did not know my thoughts on the matter. With good intent, he put flowers in the backseat of my car one evening before we left to grab dinner. I was so bumfuzzled by the gesture that I got embarrassed. I do appreciate a bouquet of roses, daisies and other delicate flowers, but they are just that. Delicate. They will die within a week’s time and your beautiful gift is gone. Red roses are usually the flower of choice, which I find boring and generic. If you really want to impress your lady, mix it up! Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean they have to be red or roses.

Taking your other half out to a nice dinner is a great way to spend your Valentine’s evening together. The issue with this logic is that every other couple has the same idea. Restaurants are packed to the gills. You may spend half of your night just waiting for a table. And let’s face it, not all of us have the finances to go out to a nice dinner. Why not bring the romantic dinner home? Watch romantic movies on Netflix together after a home cooked meal away from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just thoughtful.

Getting engaged on a holiday is probably one of my biggest relationship no-nos, Valentine’s Day being the worst of them all. I don’t mean any offense to anyone who gets engaged on a holiday, it’s just not for me. “Open this Christmas present next,” and “Will you marry me?” should not be back-to-back sentences. Getting engaged is supposed to be a very emotional moment in the couples life and should be remembered as a day on it’s own. My other half should want to marry me because it’s Wednesday, not because it’s Valentine’s Day and it seems like the thing to do. And as romantic as some couples think it is, I would appreciate the proposal not being in front of the whole “famn damily,” as we say in Surry County. If I get embar rassed over receiving flowers, imagine the look on my face when he’s down on one knee at a family function.

Of course there is the subject of jewelry. Yes, most women like pretty, shiny things, but just because it’s shiny, doesn’t mean it’s me. My taste in jewelry is varied. I like vintage and modern jewelry, intricate flower patterns and designs, different stones, and simplistic lines. But I’m not a fan of clusters or anything too sparkly, another detail my boyfriend found out about me last year for Valentine’s Day. He gave me a necklace that had a heart shaped pendent, linked in the middle of the chain, covered in tiny purple crystals. I was preparing to take it out of the box and have him help me with the clasp when he asked, “do you like it?” It was gorgeous, shined every way you turned it, but it wasn’t me. Again, I had hurt his feelings with such a wonderful gift he put thought into and I felt guilty. He decided to return it and let me pick something out for myself. I suggested that we take the money he spent on the necklace, which was a good chunk of change for him, and split the price on a new TV for our den. It ended up being a win-win for us. We purchased something we could enjoy together and he spent less on his part of the TV than he spent on the necklace.

With everyone busy rushing from one place to another, we forget about the simple things that are truly important. We shouldn’t chose one day a year to put forth the extra effort to show our loved ones how much they mean to us. We can do small things every day to bring a smile to their face. A love note in your car. Lunch break text messages to say “I miss you.” Dinner is ready when you get home. You know, sometimes just spending time together is enough. !