Valentine's Day Cheat Sheet

Whether you’re a lover or a hater, don’t be boring on Valentine’s Day. Fearlessly skip the roses and pre-fixe dinners this year and opt for inventive resourcefulness instead, or pass on the Whitman’s sampler crowd altogether and beckon Saint Valentine for a good verbal lashing via Ouija board.

Valentine’s Day tends to divide people into two camps: those who have the urge to hug someone, and those who have the urge to dry heave. But whether you love the holiday or just love to hate it, getting through it in one piece can sometimes be more stressful than a junior high Valentine’s Day dance. Whatever camp you fall in, though, take heart: Here’s a handy cheat sheet that will arm you with everything from its interesting origins to a much better flower choice than those boring old roses.

A History Lesson

For the lovers: So, who was this Saint Valentine guy, anyway? One legend says Valentine was a priest in 3rd-century Rome who performed secret marriages for young lovers, even after Emperor Claudius II outlawed them because he believed single men were better soldiers. Claudius discovered what Valentine was up to and sentenced him to death, and he supposedly fell in love with a young girl while he was imprisoned. He wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine” before he met his tragic end.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been offed for helping Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. Whatever the case, this dude was a rebel and a romantic. Awww.

For the haters: Red might symbolize love, but on Feb. 14, 1929 in Chicago, it was also the color of cold-blooded murder during a mob hit known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. A group of Al Capone’s cronies, dressed up as policemen, used Tommy guns to mow down seven members of a rival gang. So next time some sappy romantic starts waxing poetic about the day, you can say “Fuhggeddaboudit” and share this gory story.

Hanging at Home

For the lovers: Put on the Victoria’s Secret lingerie/heart-covered boxers you bought each other and play a sexy game of strip poker.

For the haters: Buy a Ouija board and summon the spirit of Saint Valentine. If you succeed, offer a sarcastic thanks for morphing a perfectly good day into an overblown waste of money. If Val doesn’t want to play, then rent Paranormal Activity to see what can happen when an annoying couple pisses off the wrong demon – and be glad you didn’t have any luck on the board.

Get Your Chocolate Fix

For the lovers: You don’t have to fork over half a week’s paycheck on gourmet chocolate for your sweet-toothed sweetie, but you can get a little more creative than a Whitman’s Sampler. If you’re after some lovin,’ organize a scavenger hunt with Hershey’s Kisses and naughty clues leading to the bedroom. Bonus for the extra-brave: Slather your naked self with Nutella and tell your honey to get lickin.’

For the haters: Two words: pot brownies.

Heading Out on the Town

For the lovers: Since Feb. 14 falls on a Sunday this year, dinner resos should be a bit easier. But instead of an overpriced pre-fixe meal, why not pick up a nice bottle of wine (don’t forget to buy it beforehand) and some sushi and roll over to the Starlight Drive-In (www.starlightdrivein.com)? You’ll get huge creativity points and maybe even some backseat lovin.’

For the haters: Stick to dives, where you’re sure to find fellow anti-Cupid types throwing darts and shooting pool. If you want to channel your inner “Jersey Shore” drama queen/king, belly up to the bar at a romantic restaurant and flirt outrageously with the nearest hottie in front of his/her date while they’re waiting for a table.

Fretting Over Flowers

For the lovers: A dozen roses: snore. A lovely potted plant: genius. It’s a gift that: 1) lasts much longer than a few days; 2) is original; 3) is perfect for either sex at any point of the relationship. Some winning picks: an amaryllis (you’re almost guaranteed a giant, spectacular flower), an orchid (sexy as hell) or a begonia (sweet, heart-shaped leaves).

For the haters: Ok, so you’re not getting or sending any bouquets. Fine. But take solace in knowing that a disturbing number of cut stems are sprayed with toxic pesticides. And is there a more vile smell than rotting flowers?

17 Comments »

  1. What I get out of this, as you plainly say, is DON’T BE BORING. I agree. You can actually be bored to death. Check out this fact on ThePowerOfBoredom.com where you will find that not only can boredom kill you but you can do something about it…by reading the earlier posts.

    And I may quote the Bachelor in a post on the big V day!

    Comment by LS — February 9, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  2. Thanks for the “advice,” Blane. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed in your column. This year, I publicly wrote on my Facebook wall that I wanted Valentine’s Day to be about me and the things in my life (friends, family, pets) who love me and vice versa. You wouldn’t believe how many people – single, married, committed, etc. – wrote to me saying, “AMEN!” What’s with all of the pressure on the committed people about what to do on Valentine’s Day? To your point above: My father gives my mother a dozen roses every Valentine’s Day, and I happen to think it’s nowhere near the “snore” you say it is. In fact, I think it’s pretty damn sweet. To LS’ point above: True you shouldn’t be boring on Valentine’s Day, but I submit that you shouldn’t be boring ANY day of the year. Your column above (and suggestions that I hit a “dive” on Valentine’s Day?) really fuels all of the events, contests, etc., out there directed toward “bitter, Valentine’s Day hating, loser” singles. Not a good thing.

    Comment by Nancy — February 10, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  3. Not everyone who doesn’t “celebrate the holiday” is bitter. That is a stereotype and a myth perpetuated by these kinds of columns, that if we don’t have a significant other, of course we must be bitter, angry old crones, sitting home and cursing the evil day, or going to bars alone and flirting with guys on dates with other girls like cheap reality show bimbos. Classy!

    I’m single, and I know a lot of other single women who are not bitter. While having a man every day (not just the day Hallmark tells us we need one) would be great, and I am totally open to that happening, we’re also pretty awesome all on our own. And we can be each others “valentine.” To quote the women from one of those stupid commercials, a valentine is who you want to sit next to and tell secrets to and get in trouble with. I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather sit next to or tell my secrets to or get in trouble with than one of my girlfriends. Soooo instead of fueling the myth that we are sad and bitter because we are single, maybe another way to look at it is that it’s sad that people in a relationship need Hallmark to tell them when to celebrate it. I celebrate my awesomeness every day, and I don’t need flowers or a pink card to be reminded.

    Comment by Michelle — February 10, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

  4. Whoa, hoss! Blane here. I think this week’s column was obviously taken the wrong way by lots of you guys. I was trying for some tongue-in-cheek stuff, no offense intended, just a few laughs for everyone on both sides of the equation(I mean, come on — did anybody read that comment about the Nutella for the lovers?). Every year I read the same old stories about how singles should go out and spend the day celebrating themselves, or hanging with friends, blahblahblah, and those always get slammed for being insulting and degrading. I was simply trying for something a little bit different, fresh ideas, whathaveyou. It seems you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, no matter what you say/write/don’t say/don’t write about this holiday.

    Anybody who reads me on a regular basis should know by now that I’m a huge advocate for singletons. I firmly believe you can be just as happy without someone as with. I mean, seriously, guys. But if this column didn’t come across that way, then you have my sincerest apologies.

    Um, Happy Valentine’s Day?

    Comment by blanebachelor — February 10, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  5. Thanks for clarifying (obviously if “lots of us” took it the wrong way, then maybe it wasn’t written in the right way). Seriously? A refreshing take on a column celebrating Valentine’s Day would be encouraging people to celebrate love – no matter where you get it from. It could be friends you love; family you hold dear; a pet that lights up your life; work or job that you adore – all the while encouraging people to celebrate this love throughout the year – not just one Hallmark holiday.

    Comment by Nancy — February 10, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  6. I think the point about this column was just make an effort to do something different, which is good advice for us guys. We get caught in the same rut- (giving roses) and it;s a little stale and does’nt show much thought on our end. And, Guys love dive bars and any girl that invited me to head to the nearest dive bar for a pitcher and some darts is going to get a huge HELL YES.

    Comment by Christopher — February 10, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  7. Wow. As I guy, I would like to chime in here. Ask for a show of hands among the dudes, and I’m sure you’ll get a crowd full of pockets on who likes Valentines Day. And as for Nancy, who publicly wrote that Valentines Day was going to be about her — that’s why guy’s hate Valentines Day. You’re scaring them all away with your ego! And Michelle, if having a man every other day of the year would be great… you’re bitter. It’s OK to be bitter about Valentine’s Day. It’s a perfect day to be bitter. Guy’s are bitter that they have to buy disposable crap for their girfriends, and if they’re single, they’re bitter they can’t get their involved buddies to play poker.
    Blane, tell me you’re single and you want to be my Valentine. We’ll get blitzed and go throw some M-80s into the roses at the Botanical Gardens…

    Comment by The Loaf — February 10, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  8. I can’t believe people are so worked up over this column. I agree with the point that it’s okay to be single and ignore Valentine’s Day altogether, or use the socially constructed holiday as a day to celebrate yourself and the good things you have, but I don’t think it was meant to be taken in an offensive way. When there’s humor involved, it’s probably a good sign that taking every word literally will misconstrue the whole damn thing.

    Comment by J.Daves — February 10, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  9. What I don’t get about valentine’s day is that people feel that there is only one day out there to show your love for someone. It’s highly commercialized and a ploy to get couples into a high-end restaurant and to spend excess money on flowers and jewelry. Guess what? If you’re really in love, you don’t need one day to do this – you show it everyday. For me, a gift of flowers or an impromptu romantic dinner date means a whole lot more to me!

    Comment by J — February 10, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

  10. Wow is right. “Clearly,” there are “some people” who not only like to abuse and misuse quotation marks (“and you know who you are, ladies”), but clearly felt a twinge of something very sad within themselves to feel compelled to comment about a funny, insightful and creative blog. Can we say, “defensive”? Lighten up girls (and get back to proper grammar, for the love of St. Valentine)! Blane, keep it up, you are awesome.

    Comment by The Whitman Sampler — February 10, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  11. First, Blane, I appreciate your being tongue-in-cheek with the advice. But while the advice for the “lovers” contains actual ideas for things to do (Hey.. Nutella, great on bread, better in bed!!!), I found the “advice” for “haters” to be a little insulting.
    @ the Loaf… I said that having a guy EVERY DAY and not just on Valentine’s would be great, but being single is great too. If that came across as bitter to you, then you were reading into it what you wanted. You sound a little bitter yourself.

    Comment by MIchelle — February 10, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

  12. Wow. What a healthy dialogue on one of the silliest “holidays” of the year. I agree with the Whitman Sampler: lighten up, everyone. It’s just one day in the year. I am lucky my boyfriend and I don’t succumb to the pressures of V-Day. And, more importantly, I am lucky to have Feb. 14 to celebrate my brother’s birthday. (Can you believe other things happen on Feb. 14?) Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

    Comment by Matt — February 10, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

  13. This is hilarious. I enjoyed your take on valentine’s day. Yes, nutella is great but the cleanup can be rather hellish. ;)

    No, I’m not sappy. If I like you, you know it. Screw sending you a card and flowers. Unless you want some yard trimmings. I see valentine’s day as as giant cliche billboard for a giant cliched life. (Pardon the grammar but you see my point).

    I’m sure I could scrounge up a priest to invent another ‘holiday’.

    Blane, this bear thinks your post is just right.

    Comment by Johann — February 10, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

  14. In almost all website articles, the comments are the most interesting and most telling. I feel compelled to comment after reading this article upon recommendation of one of the previous commenters. Unfortunately Ms. Bachelor, for all of your good intentions, this article is neither original/unique nor funny/tongue in cheek. It’s really just conformist with the “new idea” and let’s call the single people “haters”. Seriously. If you want to make a statement about the most MANUFACTURED HOLIDAY EVER, can it at least have some aspects of real life? Or, maybe you should have started the article by stating “hey, here’s my funny take on V-Day.” Trust that not all single people are bitter old croonies and most people love the bouquet of roses and that Whitman’s Sampler. In my humble opinion, if you want to write an article about V-Day, don’t harp on things people love about the holiday and don’t harp on what society tells you about singletons. It would have made this article a little less condescending.

    Comment by Syn — February 11, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

  15. It’s a Hallmark Holiday folks. Lighten up!! I think Blane’s take was fun and irreverent as always. That’s why we love her. Do it up big, skip it altogether, or play the grinch. Will it really make any difference come 10 or 20 years down the road? How about finding something a little more important to get all wound up about?

    Comment by NellerBean — February 11, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

  16. Wow! All this talk and Blane’s only reference to single people was to say what Emperor Claudius thought of single men in the 3rd Century.

    She clearly was not calling out single people. If there’s bitterness here, it didn’t come from this column.

    Comment by whatnot — February 11, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

  17. For the Lovers: A potted plant is an excellent gift to anyone for any occasion.

    For the Haters: Don’t flirt with somebody’s date on Valentine’s Day, or your Valentine gift might be a trip to the emergency room.

    For Lady Blane: You are my Valentine.

    Comment by L W Calhoun — March 7, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

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