Opinion: Things NOT to do on Valentine’s Day

Plan ahead and don't mess up.
Plan ahead and don't mess up. Photo by Jackie/Flickr
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that always has an enormous amount of pressure on it. Chalk to up to decades of pop culture and advertising messages if you want to, but that societal background radiation is still a hell of a drug. We often get so caught up in how things should be that we rarely think about how they actually are.

So today, while there is still time to plan, we’re going to set out some major don’ts for your February 14.

Don’t Go Out for Dinner

The candlelit dinner for two on Valentine’s Dayo is a lie, and every single waiter on Earth will tell you that the moment their tip is not on the line. Restaurants don’t so much as celebrate Valentine’s Day as endure it while couples try to make up for a year of romantic deficiencies with steak and wine. The restaurants will be so crowded you can’t even hear each other, the menus are usually limited, and the never-ending rush of patrons means that meals tend to have more mistakes. This is on top of all the COVID dangers. Maybe instead you could try cooking a favorite meal together.

Don’t Propose

Proposing marriage is a very personal and complicated thing, and it’s best to make sure that there aren’t any undue pressures on the person you’re asking. Tying the proposal to a holiday is always a dicey move that isn’t fair to the other person unless you are absolutely positive they are going to say yes. No one wants to say they aren’t ready for the next step on Valentine’s Day, so the entire act can come off as a little manipulative.

Don’t Go Shopping on Valentine’s Day

Every time I go to the grocery store on Valentine’s Day it is the saddest thing in consumer capitalism. Mostly the aisles are full of shuffling, lost-looking cis men blindly reaching for whatever bouquet of roses and small box of chocolates will make them look good. Nothing sucks the point out of the holiday faster than the pure industrialization of romantic sentiment apparent in that Valentine’s Day tent in the Kroger parking lot. Also, the quality at the grocery store is generally poor. If flowers and chocolates are essential to your Valentine’s Day, now is the time to order for delivery while the pricing is still reasonable.

Don’t Go On a First Date

Remember what I said about marriage proposals? The same goes for trying to find a new romantic partner on Valentine’s Day. Look, I know that no one wants to be alone on a day exalting coupledom, but that’s a terrible reason to go out with someone. Booty calls are fine. Picking up a sex toy for the evening is also fine. Don’t drag a stranger into your neediness because a calendar pressured you into it.

Don’t Have Unprotected Sex

The world does not require more Scorpios.

Don’t Try to Bribe the Other Person With Gifts

The goal of this holiday should be a simple expression of the appreciation you have with your romantic partner. It’s not so you can erase their memory of the time you blew some of your savings on an NFT of a smoking monkey with a pair of diamond earrings. It’s not when you use an expensive purchase to try and quid pro quo a sex act you’ve been wanting to try. It is most definitely not a time for “there, I got you a bauble, so you have to be quiet.” Tell each other what you love about the other in whatever way they would most appreciate. Don’t try to live up to the pop culture images. Those people are only pretending to be in love. You should be the real deal.
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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner