Personal Column: Growing up with Valentine’s Day

Valarie Cardenas, Panther Prints Editor-in-Chief

If the tiny teddy bears and heart shaped chocolate boxes haven’t been haunting you since the day after Christmas, then chances are, you probably don’t get out much. However, if you’re like me then you’ve seen all of these things for over a month now, and the thought of Valentine’s Day has been in the back of your mind ever since that first red heart.

While very few people actually know the origin of Valentine’s Day, the truth is that everyone knows how it’s supposed to be celebrated. Even as young first graders, we’re taken through the tradition of buying the cards from a box, writing every person’s name on a different card, and then sealing it with a red, heart-shaped sticker. As a child I never actually questioned what I was doing, because truth is, I loved getting countless valentines in my shoebox with candy and the occasional tiny stuffed animal. Plus, it was fun picking the biggest or prettiest valentine and then purposefully writing the name of the person I liked on it and seeing how they reacted.

Unfortunately, as I got older, one of my favorite traditions started to change. Giving every person in class a valentine wasn’t normal, and giving a gift to just one person meant a lot more than it did before. I started to understand the true meaning of Valentine’s Day, and it changed everything about the day.

February 14 is still a fun and special day for me, but now there’s a little more weight added to every gift I buy for someone. This weight got me to thinking the other day; girls always look forward to the day to see if they’ll get something from that guy they like or are in a relationship with, but what about the guys?

Do they see it only as a day to treat the special person in their life, or do they want something as well? Personally, I think a guy deserves a gift on Valentine’s Day just as much as the next girl. After all, it does take two people to make a couple. With that in mind, I started to think, what is a girl supposed to get a guy? On the guys’ end, they can always buy a box of candy, a huge teddy bear, or even True Pheromones and call it day.

Well what is a girl supposed to do? I thought about it and couldn’t come up with a clear answer, so I started asking all of the guys I know what they would want. While the answers ranged from nothing to new shoes, there was one thing that most guys could agree on: food.

There is a famous saying that says the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? Well turns out it’s pretty much true. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Food is pretty much a foolproof system. Even if the relationship is years old or even on the verge of just beginning, who can say no to food? Just be careful with the choices.

Think about who you’re getting the gift for and buy accordingly. For example, don’t buy a whole bunch junk food for someone who’s an athlete and is currently in season. Sure they’ll appreciate the thought, but enjoying the gift is half of the fun as well. If you want to get them a little something else beside food, think about their hobbies or even a conversation you had with each other.

Chances are, there’s something else that can be thrown in the gift such as new socks or even a small stuffed dog. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be fun. Don’t stress out about getting someone something perfect or even about not getting anything. Enjoy the day that comes once a year. If that doesn’t work, just remember that on Feb. 15, all of that good candy goes on sale for at least 50% off.