The holiday came to be because of an evil ruler in Rome who, back in 270 AD, banned marriage and engagements. But this guy Valentine, would marry people in secret anyway. He was sentenced to death, and rumor has it that while he was imprisoned, he befriended the jailers’ daughter. Before his gory killing on February 14th, he wrote her a note and signed it “from your Valentine”. After his death, he was named a saint and now we have this holiday.
Over time, this day has evolved into a Hallmark frenzy. From grandparents buying cards with lengthy poems in them, to second graders being told to bring baked goods to school, no couple is escaping. There seems to be an unspoken expectation, regardless of how long you and your significant other have been dating. So, if you’re about to walk down the aisle or about to walk into their place for the first time, get ready to have a great V-day.
Undefined but definitely happy
Titles shmitles. You love hanging out which is all that matters! While the mood is still light, keep the gifts light too! Do you remember those cardstock cards you were forced to give to everyone in second grade? They were available in packs with themes ranging from The Power Rangers to My Little Pony? Well, they still have them today! Grab a box of those from Target and give one to your partner with a regular old piece of chocolate and head to a local bar.
While you’re at, I’m sure your family and friends would love a good laugh, so stick some of those cards in the mail.
First holiday as a real couple
Bowchickawowwow! Congrats on this milestone! If you’re super into planning ahead, make a reservation for that place you two went on your first date or one you’ve always stared at fondly from the sidewalk. A cheaper, just as romantic, way to do it, is to make your own place into date heaven. Get a candle and some wine or champagne. Are you a chef? Cook their favorite meal! Are you a take-out wiz? Order from their favorite restaurant! It’s the thought that counts.
And by picking the stay at home option, you can have all the wine and chocolate covered strawberries your heart desires. When all the aphrodisiacs kick in, you’re as close as you can get to the bedroom without actually eating dinner in bed.
Year two-through-four lovebirds
Some people are into grand gestures while others enjoy quieter moments. If your partner is the former, order an edible arrangement to their job. Why an edible arrangement? Because if you’re going to make others jealous, it’s nice to be able to share the gift while doing so. Roses are stupidly expensive and die so really what’s the point?
For the latter, more introverted type, go with a surprise at home. Assuming you live together or are in cahoots with their roommate, have a gift in their room with a card waiting. Romantic moments are best when shared between two people, not with a whole group of onlookers. Intense make-out sessions get awkward to watch after a minute. I see that boob grabbing.
To five years and beyond
A vacation or experience takes the fuss out of that random day. Plan for a weekend trip later in the month, or go to an exhibit you’ve both been interested in. Sports games, couples massage, brewery tours, any random night can be your own Valentine’s Day. Think of how great it is to not worry about waxing appointments, being able to wear a sports bra, and the ability to eat a meal in clothes that don’t feel like a corset. It’s the little things.
If St. Valentine were still around, he’d be telling us not to worry about all the trimmings of the holiday. The message that stands the test of time is that love will go on no matter what the date is and no matter what haters are trying to tell you. A couple can celebrate on their own terms, if even at all, because love is all you need.
Oh! And chocolates. I think Valentine would DEFINITELY want us to eat chocolate in his honor.