Valentine’s Day is full of expectations, hopes and plans. Expensive reservations are made, small gifts are bought and chocolate is eaten with shameless enthusiasm. Whether the evening is planned carefully or not, disastrous Valentine’s Day dates are inevitable.
For the purpose of shielding these victims of V-Day gone wrong, some names have been changed, denoted by an asterisk.
Junior John Russell’s date began like any other innocent Valentine’s Day evening. He and his girlfriend of 10 months went out to dinner and then saw a movie. After the movie, the couple decided to go buy some frozen yogurt and exchange gifts.
The gift exchange destroyed what could have been a pleasant memory. Russell’s girlfriend at the time became upset with him because she had given him three gifts (a t-shirt, a poster and a wristband). Russell gave her a pair of earrings; one present against her three gifts.
“(The earrings) were a hefty penny,” Russell says. “And she was upset with me because she had gotten me three different things and I was like, ‘Monica,* are you kidding me?’”
Russell describes the rest of the date as awkward, and despite his expressed frustration, he attempted to save the rest of the evening. The relationship ended three months later.
Some relationships did not even last the entire day.
“I broke up on a Valentine’s Day,” freshman Amelia Westberg says. “We went to Starbucks and broke up. I would consider that a pretty bad Valentine’s Day.”
It seems the Valentine’s Day dramas are not only experienced in the youth dating sphere. A 42-year-old Columbia entrepreneur named Joe tells the story of a bad date with his now-wife. After planning an elaborate evening at a Spanish restaurant, the couple could not agree on anything.
“It was supposed to be sort of romantic and everything, but it just got off on the wrong foot,” Joe says. “We were sort of snipping at each other the whole night and ended up having an argument. We both went home separately.”
Even though the couple shared a bad Valentine’s Day date, Joe and his wife are now happily married, although they choose to ignore the holiday.
“Ever since then, we tend not to do very much for Valentine’s Day,” Joe says. “It’s not a bad holiday, but I don’t think you should go into it with too high expectations.”
With the bad date experiences now in the past, MOVE asked the participants to describe their ideal date.
Freshman Katie Williams suggests a sushi date.
“Sushi’s special because it’s kind of expensive but also not horrendously overpriced,” she says. “It’s college-appropriate.”
Westberg says she doesn’t need any fancy plans.
“Nothing extravagant,” she says. “Just chill. We could watch ‘Friends.’”
Russell says he would surprise his date with something she had mentioned earlier in their relationship.
“I don’t know how you could have a relationship without paying attention to someone,” he says. “Otherwise it’s fake, there’s nothing real.”