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Re-Defining the Valentine

Valentine’s Day seems to be fast losing its traditional essence of splurging on your significant other.

“It’s more about spending time with each other,” Shayna Greenough says, “I don’t care about a gift. I’d rather get a cute note and a kiss.”

This is a common theme among my peers, as I ask each of my friends both in and out of relationships and/or romantically involved, and majority ruled that V-day isn’t as important and it used to be.

Greenoughsays that while it’s nice to treat your partner to a special night once in a while, it’s not about giving gifts or treating your significant other to a lavish outing — it’s about the attention you give.

She says that for Valentine’s Day this year, her and her boyfriend John* Foreman, aren’t “technically” doing anything for the holiday.

A month ago, Foreman bought them tickets to a fight on Feb. 19, the weekend after Valentine’s Day. He said he didn’t really think of it that way, it was just the earliest available fight that was available for both of them.

Greenough did say that she will be giving him a gift though.

“It’s more of a belated Christmas gift turned into a Valentines gift,” she says.

She has wanted to do an all-film boudoir shoot for him for months and has never found the time, but has committed to a V-day deadline inspired by his surprise tickets to the fight.

Both Bate and Greenough admit they don’t give too much thought to the holiday, but they still do enjoy using it as an excuse to express some affection when sometimes in a long-term relationship you can start to slack off on the courting side of the relationship.

So, what other kind of Valentines can you give?

In 2016, Greenough chose her family to be her Valentine despite having a partner at the time.

“I see him all the time, we spend time together all the time, but I don’t have a weekend off to surprise my family for Valentine’s Day,” she says. “I think it’s really just about finding ways to spread love, regardless of what kind of love.”

So, what are some other Valentine’s you can give this year?

  • Charity Valentine: Choose a charity of you or your partner’s choice and donate in their name rather than spending that money on another night out or cheesy card. (Check out our actionables page at to donate towards supporting our Muslim community or find out how to support in other ways.)
  • Practical Valentine: Is there something they could actually use? A  transit pass? Or maybe a new pair of mitts after they left theirs in the Killam one night.
  • To-do list Valentine: Check of an item on your own or your Valentine’s to-do list. A small gesture you can give to yourself and or to a significant other, putting in real effort to doing their laundry properly or finally fixing your dresser drawer can go a long way.
  • Pay It Forward Valentine: Do something kind for your neighbour, friend, sibling or stranger without expecting anything in return. Make the world your Valentine.
  • Be your own Valentine: Venus Envy Education Coordinator Christine Ollier advocates for making masturbation less about “the end goal of getting off,” and says exploring what makes you feel good and enjoying yourself is the key to masturbation . An orgasm is the added benefit.
  • Valentine Volunteer: Find a local organization in the HRM or a society on campus that you feel strongly about and donate some of your time towards something productive.
  • Quality Valentine: Get outdoors and go for a walk around the city or to Point Pleasant Park for some quality time with your Valentine, some possible dog sightings, and a healthy cardio pump.

 *Names changed for privacy


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