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Valentine’s Day. Here we go again—another event exclusively for couples, right?

My instinct as an optimist was to say, “Wrong,” but I felt the need to do some research to understand the history and to validate my retort.

During many painstaking hours of research, I discovered that there are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine’s Day. One belief kept popping up: many experts agree it originated from a Roman named St. Valentine, who was martyred for defying Emperor Claudius. He was tortured then beheaded on February 14, 269 A.D. Legend also says that before execution, Valentine himself had fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter. His final note to her was signed, “From Your Valentine,” a phrase that has lasted through the centuries.

Strange, considering it’s the most celebrated romantic day of the year, that its origins are more than a little bloody. My devilish instincts tell me to go on a rant about how it’s interesting that all of the most romantic characters we hear about seem to come to disastrous ends. However, a more constructive approach is in order since we’re all faced with the reality of this day of love.

Is our modern-day Valentine’s Day about love letters? Flowers? Candy? Jewellery? A night on the town? Is this hearts and cupids day reserved for those in long-term relationships? Is it only for budding romances? What are singles to do on this day?

It’s up to you if and how you choose to celebrate. The following are suggestions of what to do no matter what your relationship status.

5 Things to Do on Valentine’s Day If You’re Single
  1. Get together with a bunch of friends and go out on the town.
  2. Pamper yourself with a bubble bath or facial. Rent your favourite movie. No one says it has to be a romantic. Jackie Chan or Sylvester Stallone can make for an eventful evening.
  3. Buy yourself chocolates or flowers, making sure both are your favourite kinds. You can bet your sweet patootie I’ll have a bunch of blue orchids and a box of chocolate truffles for myself whether I have a date for Valentine’s Day or not.
  4. Give yourself a gift that you know any sane member of the opposite sex would hate, i.e., for him: a Playboy subscription or a hockey jersey with your favourite hockey player’s number on it. For her: that 84th pair of shoes or those decadent beauty products.
  5. Write a detailed description of your ideal partner, put it in a bottle, and throw it out to sea—where it belongs—and just enjoy life for what you make it. Love yourself.

3 Things to Do on Valentine’s Day If You’re Dating
  1. Send flowers or a card. This goes for men and women. Receiving a thoughtful gift isn’t exclusively enjoyed by women.
  2. Subtly ask your date what their idea of the perfect day is, then create it for them.
  3. Go out for dinner at a surprise location. Mystery can be very romantic.

3 Things to Do on Valentine’s Day If You’re In a Long-term Relationship
  1. Have a Greek picnic in your living room, with light finger foods and toga attire.
  2. Do something you “used to do” when you were courting. Go dancing and treat each other as if it's your first date.
  3. Fill the house (or just the bedroom) with candles and flowers and spend the whole evening alone together, discussing the qualities you cherish about your life together and else that comes up.

No matter how or why this tradition of love began, this doesn’t have to be a time for anyone to feel excluded. All of you are welcome to send me e-mails telling me your thoughts about relationships or the lack thereof.

Love yourselves and love each other. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? Email Christine at:

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