Independent Valentines — "One, Please"
Get your bum off the couch, turn off How I Met Your Mother and fight Singles’ Awareness Day syndrome. Rather than finding a Ryan Gosling or Blake Lively to love, explore new activities to fall in love with.Embrace your inner Spiderman and boost your Valentine’s Day spirits by visiting the rock climbing gym in the Presideo or the Mission you have been dying to try. Rock climbing, like any other exercise, releases endorphins that contribute to an effusion of happiness. For less than the price of a dinner at Bucca di Beppo, a singleton can rock climb, boulder, take yoga lessons and use the gym’s fitness equipment. I find I can easily spend three hours ascending the brown granite walls at the gym, and usually complete my visit with a hot and steamy trip to the sauna in the locker room.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, embrace your inner Superman and tackle a ropes course. In the lovely wood-chip-covered forest in the Sea Cliff neighborhood lays the Fort Miley Ropes Course. There, you can Tarzan jump off of trees, teeter — but confidently! — across logs 1-2 stories high and zip line through the forest with the security of a ballet partner on the ground. If you are not feeling that ambitious, take out your wallet and reward yourself.
Forget about your unrequited — so far — crush and show yourself some love by indulging in non-necessities you have been hesitant to buy. For the ladies, pamper your dry Wintery skin and splurge on a mani/pedi, or even go for the paraffin wax for an even more luxurious glow! For the guys, while your friends in relationships endlessly spend money buying Godiva chocolates, roses and personally engraved Things Remembered bracelets for their other half, you can spend the hard-earned money you have saved — on yourself. Be your own best valentine and take out your wallet for one Superdry jacket or the sports jersey Santa forgot to give you. Lowell reporter and senior Raymond Lang finds his Valentine’s Day haven in chocolates. “I buy those big chocolate hearts from See’s Candies and eat them while watching Die Hard movies,” Lang said.
If you are not feeling the urge of your inner consumer, however, touch the heart of those in need. Scour your home (or even the school library) for some construction paper, markers and stickers to make Valentine’s Day cards for individuals in shelters, hospitals or nursing homes. A simple “Happy Valentine’s Day, I hope you have a wonderful day!” could transform an elderly individual’s groggy, boring day of past memories into a present-day smile. Centers you can visit include the Glide Walk-In Center and the Martin de Porres House of Hospitality.
Itching for something sweet? Try having dessert for breakfast! Before your friends rave about a delectable box of assorted Ghirardelli chocolates from their significant other, you can rave about the amazing chocolate lava cake you had — courtesy of Trader Joe’s freezer section. The next day, recover from your sugar hangover with even more chocolate! Senior Anna Highsmith goes on a candy spree and looks for discounted Valentine’s Day candy. “I usually save it up for a rainy day or whenever I’m on my period,” Highsmith said.
Don’t sulk in your singleness sadness – keep a light heart on by loving yourself.
The More the Merrier
Speed dating — or speed eating? What is a better way to spend the day of adoration than munching your way through several friends’ kitchens? After all, sometimes gazing at one pair of eyes can get claustrophobic.
A progressive dinner is a meal that takes place in stages at several addresses, where a different course is served at each home. Usually, guests spend approximately an hour at each house socializing and devouring hors d'oeuvres until their waistline doubles. But what are the benefits of a progressive dinner as opposed to a more traditional dinner? You and your friends will most likely spend less money than for a large table at the House of Prime Rib (sorry vegetarians), with two-to three-fold more time chatting up a storm.
If “ain’t nobody got time for that,” meet up at a friend’s house for a gift exchange. You may have participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange, but what about a Secret Valentine’s? Put everyones’ name in a hat for anonymous “romance” and be both a valentine and “secret admirer.”
Rather than purchasing Victoria’s Secret Christmas panties complete with little jingle bells, everyone can shop at Godiva, Papyrus and other Valentine’s Day gift stores. Looking for something cute and cuddly? Go for a Gund stuffed bear. Exotic? Try getting your valentine chocolate-flavored condoms — and who knows, your Secret Valentine may turn into a future Valentine!
If you are jealous of the exciting date — the date your friends with valentines are planning at the House of Air — gather a group of dudes and dudettes, aka The Big Lebowski, for a competitive battle of the sexes bowling night. After tallying the scores, the night’s winning gender can be treated to a triple-decker, cherry-topped Banana Split at Mel’s Drive-In.
After enjoying the alternative crew Valentine’s Day, may the candy sales be ever in your favor.
World Wide Wooing
Glücklicher Valentinstag! While many Americans traditionally associate men giving gifts of roses, chocolate and perfume to their lovers, people halfway across the world celebrate the day with chocolates to their bosses and associate it with a not-so-romantic animal.
In Germany, their version of a Mrs. Fields cookie is a big ginger cookie in a heart shape equipped with a personalized message to a beau via icing. In addition, a mammalian icon of good luck becomes prevalent amongst German Valentine’s Day novelties — oink! Germans believe that pigs are symbols of good luck. Around the time of this holiday, in Germany you can find stuffed toys of porcine couples, edible pigs laying on chocolate hearts and pig figurines in provocative positions. According to the Nation Master, a website that compares statistics of different countries, Germans consume almost twice as much pork as Americans, but whether that has a correlation to the Valentine’s Day pigs is unknown — bratwurst, anyone?
On Valentine’s Day, while many American men blow their wallets purchasing chocolates for women, in Japan women purchase chocolates for guys. Men, do not get your hopes up however if you get a box. Workingwomen give away “obligation chocolates” called “Giri-choco” to their colleagues and bosses — you get the memo. “Giri” means a moral obligation, when you feel obligated to return a favor to someone else. Men are supposed to return the favor to the ladies on March 14, a day known as White Day.
Shelves are now filled with chocolates and oinkers, so ladies prepare for your “obligations” and guys start placing orders for spicy ginger cookies or lucky pigs! Schwein haben!
Illustrations by Kimberly Li