Valentine’s Day: to hookup or hang out?

ValentineâÄôs Day is usually an excuse to spend money on some materialistic pink and red crap, jewelry or an expensive dinner. However, for a young culture that is known for being uncommitted and going on less stereotypical dates, there needs to be an entirely new approach to this slightly superficial holiday. According to a 2005-2007 survey on âÄúhooking upâÄù by Paula England, from Stanford University, 50 percent of students who had hooked up at least once reported that their last hook up was with someone they had not previously been with. Even more striking is that only 10 percent of undergraduates that had hooked up with someone once were intimate with that same person again. The study also showed that among college students, only 20 percent of individuals were intimately committed to the same person for their last 10 hook ups. For undergraduate students, between balancing studies, work, exercise and social lives, there is not a lot of room for serious relationships. And when the majority of college hook ups occur in party settings where alcohol is a detrimental factor, these encounters typically skip the dating period almost entirely and jump directly to the physical realm. The consequence of these kinds of behaviors is that they do not develop a very deep connection, thus typically cutting these relationships short. Even for those in committed relationships, what is generally referred to as dating, has become a thing of the past. It is more likely for college students to hang out, study together, attend a party or go to a bar. So if dating has become more relaxed, why should the typical ValentineâÄôs date be what is expected for couples who generally find themselves on more friendly and laid back terms? It shouldnâÄôt. So for those of you ruminating about how to spend your Saturday, why donâÄôt you cancel those over-priced diner reservations, save the lets âÄìpretend-to-be classy citizens routine and do something more meaningful. ItâÄôs not often that you have the entire Saturday as an excuse to spend time together, so really make the most of it. If youâÄôve been together for a long time, you could revive some of the fun times you had at the beginning of your relationship, like that silly day you spent at Chucky Cheese, or that month you got into rock climbing, or those afternoons you used to spend rummaging through vintage stores. Go out and do that thing youâÄôve always talked about doing together but never did, like hitting the ski slopes, or meditation class or a photography lesson. Try to bring back that excitement of adventure throughout the afternoon and when youâÄôre ready to settle down and grab a bite, head to the grocery store and find something to cook together. Get a bottle of wine and an old movie, and spend the night in. Revive the sparks that you might have begun to take for granted. For those of you who are single, youâÄôre likely going out on the town, to a concert or to hit up some anti-Valentine’s day party, but try not to have the âÄúhook upâÄù as your only goal of the night. ValentineâÄôs Day is always a good excuse to ask someone you might have had your eye on out for some pizza and a little get to know you conversation. Or say screw it to the whole romance thing and invite a few close friends over for dinner. Go out to a comedy club, a poetry slam, a hip-hop show, or get your techno dance groove on at First AvenueâÄôs Too Much Love. ThereâÄôs no need to drink away your sorrows or seek out an intoxicated bed buddy. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy the day and have some fun. Ashley Goetz welcomes comments at [email protected]