Valentine’s Day, for better or for worse

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February 14th. Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day, whatever you want to call it. For some, it’s a day of red roses and love notes, and to others, it’s simply the worst day of the year. There’s no guessing where Cupid’s arrow will hit — sometimes it’s dead on, and sometimes it’s clearly off the map.

My freshmen year I was 18, a little wild and living at good old King Henry. I like to think of this time in my life as a crisis period, because for some reason, I thought it was OK to be dating a 22-year-old guy who drank Monsters like water and drove an unnecessarily large Ford Ranger.

On Valentine’s Day morning, I woke up around noon and rolled over to check my Blackberry. I was expecting a lovely text message from my boyfriend, wishing me a happy Valentine’s Day and asking me to go to dinner with him somewhere especially fancy. Maybe Chef’s Table. Maybe The Treehouse in Park City. You know, the works.

You can imagine my horror, when instead of a romantic good morning, I received a picture message of his newly shaved mohawk and a text saying: “My buddy just shaved me a mohawk!!! You like it babe?”

No, I did not like it, babe. I decided we should be “just friends” right then and there.

Valentine’s Day isn’t all peaches and cream.┬áSometimes it’s disappointing, to say the least. Sometimes Cupid’s arrow misses, big time.

Marissa Hicken, 23, a grad-student from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., spoke about one of her most memorable Valentine’s Days.

“One time during my sophomore year of college, my mom sent me a Valentine’s Day package,” she said. “She knew I didn’t have a Valentine. Amongst the plethora of See’s candies was a dog book entitled ‘Lightweight Littermates.’ It was a collage of puppy photos. On the inside cover, my mom wrote a note that read, ‘Honey just know that we love you and anytime you get sad just take a look at this book to keep you company!'”

I’ll tell you this, I’d rather spend my Valentine’s Day with a dozen chocolate lab puppies than a boyfriend with a mohawk. Even if he is paying for Tucanos.

Having a significant other doesn’t always guarantee a successful Valentine’s holiday.

Alex Sorensen Steele, a photography major from Laguna Niguel, Calif., had a rather tumultuous first Valentine’s Day with her now-husband, Nate.

Steele dropped Nate off on campus for his afternoon class, and went home to get ready for their date together. But as she left her apartment, ready to celebrate the holiday with her man, she ran into a bit of car trouble. Literally.

“I smacked into the column in the front and totally dented and scraped the front bumper,” she said. “I was sure I ruined Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t want to miss our reservation, so I went straight to pick him up. I burst into tears when I told him what happened.”

Luckily for her, Nate laughed off the fender-bender and they enjoyed the rest of their Valentine’s Day evening.

“He made fun of me a little,” she said. “Dinner was great and we still haven’t gotten around to getting the bumper fixed.”

It doesn’t take 12 dozen long-stemmed roses or a Tiffany box to make Valentine’s Day special. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the holiday.

Sara Hall, 21, a public relations major from Wisconsin, was surprised when her then-boyfriend set up a romantic dinner for her.

“We had only been dating about a week, so it was a surprise,” she said. “He made steak and shrimp. It was really sweet.”

Hall said her favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day. Cupid’s arrow has been kind to her, and it’s been kind to others.

Corey McClanahan, 21, a business major from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., spoke about his dream date. Although he doesn’t have a special someone to call his own this year, he dreams about the day when he can sweep the future Mrs. McClanahan off her feet every Feb. 14.

“If I had a girlfriend, or a wife, I would blindfold her and surprise her with a date in my Lamborghini,” he said. “Then I would carry her to a rose-petal-covered picnic on a secluded beach at sunset.”

Always a romantic, after considering his picnic food options and beach of preference, McClanahan then made a correction to his dream date.

“Actually, make that a 55 Chevrolet Bel Air,” he said.

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