Schwager: Valentine’s Day becomes complicated with age

Claire Schwager

Remember back in grade school when Valentine’s Day consisted of cutting hearts from folded construction paper, comparing candy hoards and gluing glitter to as many surfaces as possible? I’m going to assume everyone has experienced these lovely memories, and then I’m going to complain about the state of things nowadays, which is my favorite thing to do.

Well, here it is: Why can’t things be as simple as when we were 8?

College students are so obsessed with the idea of this perfect Valentine’s Day date or gift that we’re kind of forgetting the purpose of the holiday. Sure, it’s nice to impress someone with fancy dinners or sparkly jewelry or a dozen roses, but I’m sure most women would agree with me when I say these are all a little bit boring.

For those who don’t like surprises, predictability is great. But the majority of the female population prefers one of two things: thoughtful, handmade cards, or just plain chocolate. Either way guys, you can’t go wrong. Women love receiving homemade cards — it’s the attempt that counts, for all you non-creative ones — and we love chocolate. There’s really no need to expand on that.

As for Valentine’s Day in general, it shouldn’t be a cause for stress. However, along with the commercialization of the holiday comes the pressure to create a perfect, expensive day your significant other won’t soon forget.

This is where things start to get out of hand. First of all, nobody’s going to remember every detail of every single Feb. 14 from age 4 to 92. Even just three years from now, it won’t matter whether you got Hershey’s or Godiva chocolates; ate at Jeff’s Pizza or Aunt Maude’s; or gave a dozen roses or three. In all sincerity, Valentine’s Day is a day meant for affection, not displays of money or style.

I’m not suggesting we revert back to buying Disney princess valentine cards with little “To:” and “From:” spaces provided for ease of mass distribution, or that no one should buy roses or make reservations at a nice restaurant. While I miss the days when decorating a Valentine’s Day box was the most exciting aspect of the holiday, I know adults need to complicate things, and Feb. 14 is no exception. With billions of dollars being spent in retail for the holiday, I’m sure there will be no end to the complications.

But where’s the old-fashioned charm, the romantic notion of Valentine’s Days past? I know I’m not the only one who thinks generic expressions of affection aren’t exactly romantic. Hallmark cards are OK, but handwritten letters tied in ribbon are better. Roses, I suppose, are classic, but giving her her favorite flower is creative. Chocolate well, we’ve already discussed chocolate. No worries there.

Am I striking a chord here with all the women, or am I way off? Maybe guys are happy with going through the motions of buying the roses, the card, and the expensive dinner. Maybe the girls don’t mind either. But I think it’s safe to say the holiday has lost a little of the sparkle it used to have when we were younger — literally, there’s a lot less glitter involved.

This is just a friendly suggestion that the guys do something about it. Consider yourselves warned.