By Elspeth Quinn
For some of us, February 14th isn’t always a day filled with heart-shaped chocolates and floral-scented teddy bears. It is perhaps more likely that you’ll be sat on your sofa by 7pm with good old Ben, Jerry and maybe a few single friends who have all come to the mutual agreement that this is definitely the most productive way to spend the evening.
However, with Britain spending £880 million on Valentine’s gifts and cards last year, it’s clearly a day for indulgence and one which, for many, will be full of loving memories. But what happens when these loving memories are replaced by incidents that are far from romantic? When the perfect date turns into the perfect nightmare and you begin to regret ever leaving that faithful sofa?
Sinead*, a 21-year old fashion student from Herriot Watt University, had a memorable Valentine’s date that she would be more than happy to forget.
“My date took me for tapas and after drinking a jug of sangria in half an hour, I could tell he had overdone it,” she explains. “By the time we got to the cinema he was so drunk that he couldn’t sit still. I was so embarrassed when he started drunkenly shouting during the film that I said I needed the toilet, and never went back!”
With dinner dates being a popular choice for Valentine’s Day, there are a considerable number of questions to answer before you even go on the date. Whose job is it to choose the restaurant? Who should pay for dinner? Amongst these age-old dating dilemmas lies the issue of the food itself. Alison, a marketing student at Stirling Uni, reflects on a Valentine’s dinner that left her far from satisfied.
“My date asked me to go to a new restaurant in town,” she begins. “It wasn’t the first time we’d been for dinner, so when the waiter asked what we wanted he took it upon himself to order for me, asking for the cream and mushroom pasta. I just didn’t have the heart to tell him that I can’t stand mushrooms!
“Even though I tried to force them down, the texture made me feel ill, and when he went to the bathroom I actually had to pick them out from my food. My mum was very surprised when I turned up at home with a napkin full of mushrooms… I didn’t hold it against him, but lets just say he was never allowed to order for me again.”
With so much pressure to create an extra-romantic vibe, it can often be difficult to get everything just right. As well as thinking about the food and drink, perhaps the most important thing is how to make this date stand out from all the others. Sports science student Paul describes how his attempt to plan a Valentines date with a twist became a lot more tangled than he’d hoped…
“I work at a rock climbing centre, so thought I’d impress my date by bringing her climbing with me for something a bit different,” says Paul. “Unfortunately it turned out that she was terrified of heights, but chose not to mention this until she was clinging on to the wall fifteen feet above the ground, sobbing her eyes out. I think I’ll stick to a restaurant next time.”
Alas, this fateful day will not go away. So despite these unfortunate stories, remember that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be perfect, whether it be a night in with friends or a night on the town. And for those of you planning to spend it with that special someone, don’t worry about getting it right. They say love is a battlefield… so sometimes it’s got to get a bit messy.
*Names changed to protect the guilty. Taken from the February issue of Scotcampus, out now.