A Brief History – according to history.com –
The truth behind Valentine’s Day is a bit cloudy, as the Catholic Church recognizes three martyr saints named Valentine or Valentinus, according to history.com.
According to one legend, Valentine was a priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II in Rome during the third century. Claudius II got the idea that single men made better soldiers than men with families, so he outlawed marriages for young men. This upset Valentine, who thought the decree was unjust, and he performed marriages in secret. When the emperor found out about the secrecy, he ordered Valentine’s execution.
According to other legends, Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons. Christians were often tortured by the Romans.
Another legend says Valentine sent the first “valentine’s” greeting while he was imprisoned. Valentine fell in love with his jailor’s daughter while imprisoned, and before his death, he wrote her a letter that was signed “From your Valentine.”
Despite the different legends about St. Valentine, one thing is for sure: Valentine was a romantic figure, one who stood up for love. In a commercialized world where flowers and chocolate reign supreme on Feb. 14, it’s important to remember that love is the reason we have the holiday.
Why You Should Still Care
The commercialization of Valentine’s Day obscures the meaning and purpose behind it. Chocolates, roses and jewelry overshadow love and affection as the main gifts of the holiday. Sometimes it’s a difficult holiday to get into.
It’s the cool thing nowadays to hate the holiday. The biggest problem my peers find with the holiday is that you should show your affection every day, not just on one day.
While this is certainly true, Valentine’s Day should be used to celebrate the couple. It’s a chance to get away from every- thing-a chance to be together with nothing else interfering for a night. It shouldn’t be used as the one night to show affection, but rather as a celebration of your feelings toward another person.
Another grievance I hear about Valentine’s Day is that it comes with pressure: pressure to buy expensive gifts, pressure to say “I love you” when you’re not ready and the pressure to find someone to not be alone.
I agree with all of that. Valentine’s Day has become the one day a year to be romantic. It’s almost as if people use the as an excuse to be a true romantic for one day only.
Even if you are convinced that celebrating Valentine’s Day is a dumb idea, at least- make some effort to show your significant other how much you care about them.
Gifts for Him
Ladies, Valentine’s Day has been tailor-made to be your day. Chances are you’ll be getting some combination of flowers, jewelry and chocolate. However, if you’re in a relationship or there’s a guy out there you kind of like, you should get him something, too.
The best thing is that guys aren’t expecting anything. We’re so wrapped up trying to plan a great night for you that the possibility of receiving a present is the last thing we think about.
It could be something as simple as his favorite movie or his favorite candy bar. A guy is going to appreciate anything you get for him. If you hate the idea of getting a guy a movie or a candy bar, get him something he can use. You know your guy better than I do, so I can’t help with exact presents here. Think about what he likes to do. If he likes to write, get him a nice pen. If he’s a drummer, buy engraved drumsticks. It doesn’t have to be elegant or ex- pensive, but there should be some thought behind it.
Gifts for Her
Gentlemen, Valentine’s Day is almost here and I hope that you have at least some idea of how you’re going to spend it. You may think that roses and chocolates will cover it, but as I’ve been learning more and more this year, that’s a huge clich?©.
Should you still buy them?
Yes, but on the condition that you have more meaningful gifts planned. Don’t get lazy. Show her how you really feel. You should know what she likes, needs or uses regularly. Buy her something that will remind her of you.
From experience, I’ve found that a hand-made card shows effort. Any guy can go out and buy a Hallmark card with a quote about love, but if you make one and write it yourself it, shows your woman that you care. Be forewarned about this, though; some girls will think it’s cheap. If you go this route with the card, you have to make it good.
On-Campus Dating Sites
The University has a couple of great spots to have a date on Valentine’s Day.
While there are some good options in South Orange, the Cove can be just as great. It’s simple enough that the pressures of being on a real date don’t seem as daunting. Provided you get a booth, you’d be separated enough from everyone else so you can easily have a conversation.
If your Valentine needs to study on Valentine’s Day, a library study room can also be a nice spot to surprise him or her with a quick bite to eat. Valentine’s Day is about showing your affection. Bringing the date to your other is a romantic way to do that.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.