You can’t escape those pink and red hearts and Valentine’s Day chatter. Sure, in high school you could get away with sending your special someone a rosy-hued carnation (hey, the real thing’s expensive!). And if you were single, you only had to deal with six hours of shoving lip-locked classmates away from your locker. Only 6!
In college, you’re constantly bombarded with cupid’s paraphenelia: scarlet and white streamers and arrow-wielding cherub cutouts line the dining hall weeks in advance, your professors weasel Valentine’s Day commentary into their lectures, and everybody’s Facebook status seems to gush about being with that perfect someone.
On top of it all, everybody keeps asking what you’re going to do to make the holiday “special,” regardless of whether you’re in a relationship.
Well, fear not! We have some ideas for you.
If you’re single:
1. Host a dinner party — You may not have a date, but you want to get gussied up and do something fun, too, darn it! Throw a potluck of sorts, and ask everyone to tell you what dish they’re bringing in advance so you don’t wind up with eight bags of chips and a roast chicken. Cocktail attire is half the fun.
2. Plan an “I Miss My Ex But My Aim is Improving” night out — Head to a local bar to play darts, and ask everyone you invite to bring an old love note or a photo of an ex they wouldn’t mind destroying. Pin it to the dartboard, and see who has the best aim. Afterward, play a round of pool, go bowling or take the party to your place, where you can nosh on these treats:
3. Throw an “It’s not you, it’s me — it’s all about me” night in — Check with your school’s library to see if it allows projector rentals (some schools do). If so, hook the projector up to your DVD player or laptop, rent some of your (or your friends’, if thye’re invited) favorite romantic comedies and plan for an evening of self-indulgent relaxation. Secret-telling and hair-braiding optional, of course.
- Iron-pressed Turkey & Cheese Panini
- Strawberry Sunrise Smoothies
- Cinnamon pull-apart (AKA “Monkey”) bread
If you’re attached:
1. Host an Iron Chef-style throwdown — Challenge your date to an evening in the kitchen to determine who can cook the best dish using a secret ingredient. Divide the meals — one person can do the entree/dessert and the other can do sides/appetizer — and decide what your particular ingredient will be. In honor of the sweet lil’ holiday, my fiance (still getting used to that term — crazy!) and I opted for chocolate.
- Fresh-pressed quesadillas (Don’t forget the chocolate mole dipping sauce!)
- Flavorful grilled chicken with a chocolate-cherry drizzle
- Chocolate-covered strawberry cake
2. Create your own scavenger hunt — This takes a little pre-planning, but instead of showing up at your sweetheart’s doorstep with flowers, make your date search for that special surprise. You can place clues and riddles that take you everywhere from the place where you first met to where you had your last date. Each location contains another piece of the puzzle, but make sure you hide your puzzles well — you don’t want someone else to find it first!
- You need clever little foods that can travel with you (or that can magically appear at your final picnic/rooftop/other romantic dinner destination):
3. Let fate decide your date — If you and your valentine often get stuck in the “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” limbo, try this technique:
Option A: each write 10 things you’d like to do on small slips of paper (it could be anything from dinner at your favorite restaurant to a hot air balloon ride to taking a swing dance class). Fold them up, toss ‘em in a hat, and each pull one. That’s what you’re doing today.
Option B: Tape a map of the city/county on your wall. Then, blindfold your date and have him/her throw a dart at the map. Wherever it lands is wherever you’ll go. It’s up to you to find something to do when you get there. (This is best to do in the afternoon/early evening, since more businesses will be open.)
- Snack foods for the trip into the unknown are best here. Consider bringing: