If you’re looking for last-minute ideas about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, consider this one: Just don’t. Hear me out.
Nobody Else Is Celebrating It
Well, nobody you want to emulate is celebrating it. The only people who make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day are kids (who are forced to give valentines to all their classmates, regardless of their true feelings), single people who want to make a big show of being self-pityingly single (or make a big show of not being self-pityingly single), and couples who are celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together. Most of the happy, long-term couples I know would rather be home re-watching the last episode of Sherlock or that insane, six-minute tracking shot from the end of last week’s True Detective again. They know they love each other—every day—and they don’t have to make a big freaking deal about it on the day that they’re told they have to make a big freaking deal about it. Not that I’m against long-term couples fêting their love for each other—it’s just a lot better for all involved if they don’t do it on Valentine’s Day. Why?
The Restaurants Gouge You
Is there anything worse in this world than a special Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu? (Especially if it includes the grossest of aphrodisiacs—oysters. Blech!) Well, yes, knowing you’re going for the same “special” experience as a million other hungry diners who are looking for a date night, so you know you’ll be given the rush out the door as soon as the meal is over.
I’m not knocking date night. Date night is great! But, if you’re following the SportsAlcohol.com lifestyle, you would’ve gone out to a nice, fancy dinner during the Super Bowl, when the restaurants would’ve been serving their normal menus to fewer diners, meaning more individualized attention for you. But even if you didn’t follow our advice, there are plenty of other dining-out nights of the year, and they don’t require you to have gotten reservations, oh, you know, weeks ago.
One time, Jesse and I went out to an Italian restaurant on Valentine’s Day. The tables were very close together, so it was almost as if we were dining with the couple next to us. That couple got into a huge fight about how much the woman didn’t like the restaurant or want to spend her Valentine’s Day there. The man was trying to calmly explain to her that it was too late to go anywhere else, and he made a point of eating the bread in the bread basket to force them into staying. The woman kept talking about how awful the place was and she kept getting up and sitting back down. (“We like it here,” Jesse and I thought to ourselves, and they probably heard our thoughts because our tables were so close.) Eventually, she left. He stayed and ate more bread for longer than was comfortable before going after her. They never returned. He left the empty bread basket on the table and didn’t pay for anything. That was the best dinner we ever had out on Valentine’s Day, because we got a free show with our meal.
The Candy Is Sub-Par
I enjoy chocolate year-round, and I must admit to being a little bit thrilled when February rolls around and I get a candy heart filled with mystery chocolates. But why am I so thrilled? Half of those chocolates are filled with something awful (like coconut or strawberry), and sometimes you don’t know which ones until you bite into them. If I bite into a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I know it will be filled with delicious peanut butter any time. If, given the choice between a handful of M&Ms or a waxy piece of Russell Stover Mystery Flavor Chocolate, I’d pick the M&Ms ever time, why do I bother with anything else? (Besides, any worthy partner knows to buy you lots of chocolate every time of year, not just the Valentine’s Day hearts.) Then there are the Conversation Hearts, which contain all of the pleasure of eating Tums. Can we just skip to the Easter candy, please?
You Just Got Each Other Gifts
How many times should couples be obligated to give each other gifts in a year? There’s the birthdays, the anniversaries, the December holidays. This February, maybe the best thing you guys can do for each other is give each other a break from buying gifts. Especially because Valentine’s Day gifts have an even narrower model of what’s acceptable to give and receive. It might be weird to say that I got Locke & Key Volume 5 as a Valentine’s Day gift from Jesse, even though it was awesome that he gave it to me for my birthday (less than a month ago). Gifts that fall under the heading of “romantic” are both harder to figure out and less exciting to get.
The Movies and TV Shows Suck
I haven’t seen Winter’s Tale, this year’s sweeping February romance, so I don’t actually know if it sucks or not. But I do pity anyone who will go see that over The Lego Movie just because it’s Valentine’s Day and they think they should see a romantic movie. The Lego Movie is awesome.
Also, Rankin and Bass never made a Valentine’s Day special. That should tell you something right there.
Things associated with Valentine’s Day—date-night out, candy, gifts, and love—are great. Taking part in these things on Valentine’s Day is more of a pain than they would be on any of the other 364 days a year. In short: