Not everyone is into Valentine's Day's commercialized schtick.
Who needs the candy, the gifts, the super expensive dinners with all the gimmicks? When videos of overcompensating boyfriends filling rooms with rose petals hit Twitter, the first few comments are always from naysayers asking, "Who's cleaning all of that?"
As the Christmas lights come down at the start of January, it can feel like Valentine's Day is being shoved down our throats. Who can really live up to its unrealistic expectations? Some people try to avoid the life-sized teddy bears altogether, but what happens when one person isn't into Valentine's Day but their significant others are totally expecting a celebration?
Fortunately, there is a way to show your partner you love them on this special day without feeding into the propaganda of it all. There are still ways to do V-day without getting caught up in cheesy and dramatized symbols of romance. Here are just a few ideas.
Shoot Rounds Together
Even though gun ranges are loud and not the best places to sit and chat, they're still great places to bond. An instructor will show you the ropes and you can go head-to-head at target practice. Who doesn't love friendly competition on a date? Plus, firing ranges have a few internal health benefits; they can release adrenaline, improve hand-eye coordination, help with good eyesight, boost confidence, and reduce stress. After a few rounds, you'll be ready for other adrenaline-releasing activities.
Choose a charitable event and donate your time
Most people get their charity work in during Thanksgiving and Christmastime, but there's really no bad time to give back. The holidays are stuffed with people trying to get their last brownie points at the end of the year; but there are still thousands of people who can use the help the other 10 months of the year. Volunteering avoids investing in capitalism while also doing something great with your time. You and your mate can go visit a nursing home and sit with someone else's grandparents, feed the homeless, donate and separate clothes at a local Salvation Army, or volunteer to read to a group of kids at an after school program. This is not only a great bonding experience—it'll leave your heart warm and bursting from doing good.
Bounce around an empty arcade
We all need a moment of nostalgia every now and then. A few rounds of Mortal Combat or Dance Dance Revolution are great alternatives to spending hundreds of dollars on expensive presents, fancy dinners and romantic comedies (with plots so obvious you immediately know how they're going to end). You can jump from game to game with your date in the middle of the day without running into any kids or teens because they'll still be in school and hopefully have better things to do. Plus you're only spending a few quarters at each game, so how much are you really losing? You can crank up the fun if you find a barcade so the drinks can flow, ensuring that things will get a little more interesting.
Jump all over each other at a horror flick
This is a bit of a cheat—a lot of people go to the movies on Valentine's Day, but we all know that the romantic comedies and dramas are going to be packed with couples getting all over each other, wrapped up in the rom-com feels. How about jumping all over each other thanks to bad suspense scores and jump-scare tactics? You're more likely to grab a seat at the latest horror movie than at the tear-jerker with the sappy ending. If you're both not easily frightened, it can turn into a funny movie experience, especially thanks to a few badly executed scares and cheesy one-liners.
Old-Fashioned Netflix & Chill
Instead of going out, you can also simply... do nothing. In the world where every streaming service we could possibly imagine is at our fingertips, a classic Netflix and chill date is vintage enjoyment with bae. Load up the movies and work your way through that to-watch list (that you probably weren't going to watch anyways). You can also binge-watch a Netflix original, since you know the majority of them only last one season. That'll provide you with eight to ten hours of pure binge-worthy content, which will give you plenty of season two theories to discuss. With this kind of date, the night can only be improved with your fave snacks, pajamas (or none, no judgement), all with little to no money spent.