What does Valentine’s mean to you?

People, there is a monster lurking around this campus. Unlike his compatriots he does not have superhuman strength or the ability to breathe fire. This particular villain comes in the form of a winged baby armed with passion – inducing arrows.

Wherever you go, Valentine’s Day is forcing itself on you; pink flyers in the newspaper, diamond ads during prime-time and that ever romantic gesture, gas station roses. But what is Valentine’s Day really about?

Saint Valentine was a martyr in ancient Rome who performed marriages during a time when it was illegal. His death happened to coincide with the heathen feast of Lupercalia during which Roman boys and girls were randomly paired and often ended up marrying.

This little history lesson gives a clear picture of the roots of some of our V-day customs today. You know, randomly choosing a person of the opposite sex to join you on any number of heathen activities.

There is an urgency surrounding Valentine’s Day. You flip the page on your calendar and there in middle of the month is an ugly red heart. The countdown begins. You have exactly 14 days to begin a new relationship or rekindle an old one. If you are lucky enough to be over that hurdle you begin the next phase of stress – what meal, confection or floral display appropriately displays your affection?

If you are in the beginning of a relationship you bear the burden of being too serious but if you have already passed the serious mile mark how do you translate that onto a 5 x 7 card?

Julia Pratt, junior nursing major, shrugs her shoulders at these supposed worries. “I think Valentine’s Day is stupid. It’s designed to make people spend money. It makes (my boyfriend) stressed out but I don’t care much about it.”

Doesn’t anyone love Valentine’s Day? Local businesses such as Geri D’s florist and Big Fish Bistro are already feeling the rush of next Saturday. Simply commercial or not, many people celebrate the ides of February each year by doing anything from going out to dinner to getting engaged. Even the most cynical seem to accept this just as part of being in a relationship.

Maybe all this bitterness about Valentine’s Day is left over from not having the most of those little Valentine cards in elementary school. We have been trained to judge our love life success by the number of New Year’s Eves with a kiss, proms with dates and Valentine’s Days with Valentines.

Most of this lamenting is light-hearted but some serious side effects can occur from V-day blues. The Samaritans “Youth Matters Campaign” reports that “Young people who attempt suicide say relationship difficulty is a major factor in their wish to die. A survey of people who have called The Samaritans shows that relationship problems cause more stress, worry or depression than any other factor in people’s lives,” (Samaritans.org).

No matter what your romantic stage of involvement you can prepare to be under some stress no thanks to St. Valentine. So what’s a 20-something to do?

There is the ever popular alternate route: the girls/guys night out and I find it to be a viable solution. Gina Favro, freshman special education major, says that she generally doesn’t do anything romantic for Valentine’s Day. She admits that she might feel differently if she had a Valentine but she also feels that she could show her love everyday, not just on Feb. 14.

You could even go out on a non-date with a friend of the opposite sex to fool everyone, send yourself candy if your not above that or just do something sweet like send your mom flowers at work. Whatever you do, remember the don’ts. Don’t call your ex. Don’t use the “alone again on Valentine’s Day .” pick-up line and don’t beat yourself up about being single.

As for me, I will be celebrating any one of the many other fine Feb. 14 holidays such as Jimmy Hoffa’s birthday, Arizona admission day or the anniversary of the release of “Tarzan of the Apes.”