The do’s and don’ts of Valentine’s Day

by Alicia Chavez

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Valentine’s Day can sometimes be the equivalent of finals week summed up in a 24-hour period: you spend hours preparing for a small amount of time and either end up doing too much or not enough. But not all Valentine’s Day experiences have to be bad. Some of us remember fairy tale dates and others laugh about bad past experiences. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for this Valentine’s Day.

Gifts

Do: There is no doubt women love flowers. Even if your girlfriend says she doesn’t, every girl appreciates a bundle of flowers on Valentine’s Day. Other gifts depend on the person you’re spoiling.

Health management and policy graduate student Shannon Barber enjoys chocolates and reminisces back to her first year as an Aztec living in the dorms.

“He wrote on the glass doors of our dorm entrance, my initials plus his, all with sticky notes,” Barber said. “Sticky notes aren’t expensive and it’s something I will always remember.”

Kinesiology senior Jonathon Long said he appreciates the simple things like a good hug, or an intimate “I love you.”

The simple things can often go farther and be more memorable than doing something extravagant.

Don’t: Avoid getting gifts your date could possibly be allergic to. If you’re the one receiving the gift, try to stay positive with a gift you might not have wanted. Being unappreciative will leave you single for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

“One year I was allergic to the fur on a teddy bear a guy gave me,” freshman Jennifer de Mesa said. “And I only like some types of chocolates. I honestly don’t care what he gets me, it’s where he takes me that matters.”

 Ideal locations

Do: If you’re having trouble planning the perfect date for a significant other, try thinking outside the box or even sticking with something simple.

De Mesa said she enjoys spontaneity. The best date she ever experienced was a surprise boat ride on the harbor.

“This guy decorated his dad’s boat with those little round lights and took me to this romantic spot, where we sat on some rocks and talked,” de Mesa said.

Long said he had past girlfriends who were either excited for the holiday and others who appreciated a small dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

“The date you plan depends on the person,” Long said.

Don’t: Too often we find ourselves planning an unrealistic date with someone who would never appreciate it. Stick with what you know and keep in mind the tastes of the significant other you’re spoiling. Also, stay away from heading to a movie theater. This leaves little room for good conversation.

 Conversations

Do: Depending on your date and if you have shared many Valentine’s Days together, or will be experiencing your first Valentine’s Day as a couple, keep the small talk sweet and uplifting.

Barber appreciates a good conversation throughout the date.

The only thing more tragic than an awkward silence are several awkward silences.

Don’t: Try to avoid a conversation that would lead to an argument. De Mesa remembered a bad experience one Valentine’s Day during dinner.

“He started to bring up my past and it upset me,” de Mesa said. “It kind of ruined the date.”

Try new things this Valentine’s Day

Do: Try something new and turn the tables around for a change. If you’re the person always receiving the gifts, maybe it’s your turn to surprise date for once. If you’re the routinely planning the date, maybe it’s time for a more creative activity such as hiking or salsa dancing.

Long has never had a date planned for him, but wouldn’t be completely opposed to the idea.

“It’s the 21st century; I don’t see why I wouldn’t want someone to plan a date for me,” Long said.

Barber remembers buying a gift for a guy once.

“I put together a ‘Man Survivor Guide’ for him,” Barber said.

The contents of the box included both beef jerky and spray cheese, the bare necessities for men, she said.

Don’t: Try not to cross the line of creativity, whether it be with a gift, dinner reservations or an outdoors activity. Not everyone likes change, or too much of it.

Although Long and Barber have yet to make any Valentine’s Day plans for this Friday, de Mesa said she’s going to spend the day with plenty of friends, a good dinner and a movie.

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