Every year on Valentine’s Day, butterflies flutter in the stomachs of lovebirds as they anticipate the activities planned for that evening. Typically, this includes filet mignon, a nice bottle of wine, and, of course, chocolate-dipped strawberries.
This won’t be the case for most Catholics in 2018, when the most romantic day of the year also falls on the one of the most well-attended Mass days of the year, Ash Wednesday.
Not only will romantic hopefuls go on dates with ashes on their foreheads, but they’ll also need to fast all day long. That means one full meal and two half-meals that, when combined, equal one full meal.
Oh yeah, don’t forget that a filet mignon is off limits, too, since on Ash Wednesday, Catholics also refrain from eating meat.
Before any hopeless romantics have a crisis of faith, take a deep breath. The fact that Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that the evening can’t still evoke butterflies. It just means that this year it’s going to take a little creativity to keep up the romance without a candlelit dinner.
It’s much cheaper to see a movie
Typically, in order to go to dinner and a movie, it’s going to cost you some serious coin. In fact, Cinema Blend cites it as one of the main reasons people aren’t going to the movies anymore, and according to a study done on WGN.TV, today it costs about $90 for dinner and a movie for two people.
While that may not be in the budget every week, going to a movie is a heck of a lot cheaper when you’re fasting. There won’t be dinner beforehand, and no one will have to pay for a soda or an overpriced bucket of popcorn, which Cinema Blend says is, on average, marked up 800% above wholesale costs.
When you go to a movie this Valentine’s Day, you just have to focus on watching the movie with your date and enjoying the fact that when you avoid snacking and carbonated beverages, you’re significantly less likely to miss a portion of the film for a bathroom break.
Check out that museum you’ve put off visiting for years
It may sound kind of lame, but museums can actually make a great date. Their exhibits provide interesting topics to discuss and give you and your date plenty of time to walk around and get to know each other. Most towns and cities have at least one or two museums that are of local significance.
Just be careful what exhibits you go to. Art is beautiful, but some pieces like a still life of the perfect Thanksgiving feast might leave your stomach rumbling. Don’t forget about your local history museum, or check out your local Black History Museum in honor of Black History Month.
Get “half-off” at a fancy restaurant
The beauty of fasting on Valentine’s Day is that it’s financially reasonable to take that special someone to an expensive restaurant because the two of you can split one meal; so, in a way, your food is essentially half-price. This will allow you to try a dish you’ve always wanted, while also helping you to meet your fasting goals.
If you take advantage of this date idea, remember to plan what meal you and your date will be splitting beforehand. It won’t go over well if you show up to a fancy restaurant only to learn that you and your date can’t decide on a meal. Get that out of the way ahead of time, so all that’s left to do is enjoy the evening.
It’s a reasonable time to Netflix and Chill
Once fatigue sets in after a day of avoiding large meals and snacks, all you and your date may want to do is “Netflix and Chill.” While this activity has received some pushback recently, this is actually a perfect excuse to just sit back on the couch and conserve energy.
Some romantic recommendations include, Valentine’s Day, You’ve Got Mail, The Proposal, or any Ryan Gosling movie.
Have a “fat” Valentine’s Day
At the end of the day, if you just can’t have a romantic Valentine’s Day without a juicy steak dinner, then why not celebrate it the day before on Fat Tuesday and really indulge yourself. Fat Tuesday, or “Mardis Gras,” is the day that many Catholics enjoy a hearty and tasty meal, since they will be fasting the next day. This also gives you and your date a great opportunity to discuss what you’ll be giving up during Lent.
Hopefully, a few of these ideas will help keep Valentine’s Day magical, but if none of them seem right, it doesn’t mean you and your romantic interest can’t have a great night.
The purpose of Valentine’s Day isn’t to have filet and lobster; it’s to spend time with someone special. As long as you dedicate part of your evening to them, you’re still likely to have a great Valentine’s Day.