Why Valentine’s Day is the Worst Date Night of the Year

There are 365 nights in a year, so why is Valentine’s Day the absolute worst date night of them all? Before I get into my reasons, I’ll start with a story.

One of my favourite Valentine’s Day memories was when this guy I met asked me to be his Valentine. Ignoring the fact that this was a totally cheesy move – I was legitimately excited. We had met a few weeks earlier and hit it off quickly which had taken me by surprise. Up until that day, I had never been asked to be someone’s Valentine before, so I didn’t know how to react or what to expect.

As it turned out, the guy cooked me jambalaya and pralines. He realized as I arrived that he needed to go on a mad rush to buy a corkscrew for a bottle of wine. When he got back, he served our dinner on a pop-up Rubbermaid table that he bought especially for that date. Later on, we went for a blisteringly cold walk under the stars.

If I had imagined what modern society promotes as the perfect Valentine’s Date Night, I probably would’ve been disappointed. But because I had no expectations and was open to trying something new, I was pleasantly surprised.

  • Was it messy? Yes.
  • Was it romantic? Yes.
  • Was it everything Hallmark tells you it should be? Absolutely not.
  • What did I do for him? Carved his Valentine into a banana (he won that round).

That guy is now my husband.

Excuse the fingers, but this is the actual banana Valentine of 2014.

Before this happy memory, I’d been alone on many a Valentine’s Day. While I made an effort to bake cookies and give cute cards to my friends and colleagues, I often felt lonely and sad on February 14th.

Maybe it’s because I’m an easy target for advertisers.

The gift-driven holiday is designed to make people believe that most people in the world are in love, so that you can look forward to expressing your love with the “perfect” gift for your future soulmate. But these gifts are just superficial tokens with inflated price tags.

The town of Singleton always feels like a population of 1.

The reality is that it’s closer in size to a metropolis. A large portion of the world is now living independently. According to 2016 Canadian census data published in the Globe and Mail, “the number of one-person households… surpassed all other types of living situations“. If you’re single and living in your own place, you definitely aren’t alone.

Valentine’s Day seems more like an item on a to-do list than an act of love.

Love can be dirty and downright confusing. The Hallmark kind is just fine sometimes, but it doesn’t capture the actual feelings you have for someone. Love – true love – isn’t about the amount you spend on a date. It’s so much more than a box of candies, or a swanky dinner over candlelight. It can’t be contained in a heart-shaped box, or within the limits of a bank account.

The more intimate love, the kind that wakes up at night to check on you when you’re sick, the kind that encourages you to speak when every part of you wants to remain quiet, the kind that makes you laugh until you cry… is the kind of love that can only creep into your day when you least expect it. And odds are good (about 364 : 1) that day won’t be Valentine’s Day.

The need to continue Valentine’s Day for “tradition’s” sake.

Here’s the thing: traditions start as brand new ideas. You and I get to decide whether or not they’re worth doing again.

I mean, we go on regular date nights the rest of the year. We purchase gifts for each other just because. Should we wait around for one day to pay a premium for things we do all. the. time? (Here’s a hint: date nights make great everyday acts of love with lower price tags and expectations!)

If singles feel isolation like I did on Valentine’s Day, and couples just want to check off a box to satisfy their relational duties – then what is the actual point of keeping Valentine’s Day around for another year?

What if more of us let go of the idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day and welcomed messy memories? That’s what I want this tradition to symbolize for you this February 14th.

6 of the Latest Do Sask Book Club Reads in Photos

A.K.A. Six Potential Titles to Add to Your 2019 Stack

Most people interested in joining the Do Sask Book Club ask what titles we’ve read recently. To be honest, we read a wide variety of genres depending on who submits their #1 book to the draw. This keeps the club on its toes and exposes us to a number of different viewpoints.

Curious to know about the latest titles read by the Do Sask Book Club? Today, you’re in luck! And you don’t even have to leave the house.

See also

At the end of every book club meeting, we have a tradition of rating each title out of five. Those who haven’t finished the book keep their fists closed. This post will give you a photo of the ratings each book was given at the time of the meeting. Most book club members like to remain anonymous, so no faces are shown.

6 of the Latest Reads from The Do Sask Book Club Shelves

Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Some didn’t finish reading, but the majority who did gave it a 3. It takes a long time to get into the story, but the ending makes it worthwhile.

Grunt by Mary Roach (Got Distracted by Cake – No Rating)

“Roach … can take any scientific topic and make it clear, human, and even funny. In this case, she tackles the science of war, but not in the way you might think. On the weird and winding path she takes, she never loses sight of the sad reality and humanity of soldiers and war. ” – Member Ashleigh

The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky by Jana Casale

This one made us laugh and cry. It was almost bittersweet how real and relatable it was to all of us. Highly recommend 4/5.

Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer

“There are lots of great pop culture references, and I applaud her for trying to change the way society frames women’s friendships, but … I found her making sweeping generalizations based on her personal experiences. Even as she’s fighting against stereotypes…, she’s using them to back her own arguments.” – Member Ashleigh

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

We liked the clear, simple language used to explain complex topics like climate change, poverty/class, migration, and world population.
It gives science-oriented hope for the future.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The 1st Anniversary of Do Sask Book Club also had the most readers out to date. 
Michelle’s story is oddly relatable, considering the extraordinary life of America’s first black first lady. We highly recommend it for your stack this year.

At the February Do Sask Book Club meeting, we’ll discuss Educated by Tara Westover (seats currently sold out – join the waitlist). Check out the event listing for details on subsequent meetings. 

2019 is ripe for reading! Fill it with friends, a few drinks, and some literature at the Do Sask Book Club. Please contact me if you’d like more information about upcoming meetings. 

Updates to Do Sask’s Blog Policy

New Do Sask Blog Policy

Do Sask values transparency – and you! So, I want to let you know about the new Blog Policy that’s been released this month.

You can read the policy by clicking the link above. I’ve outlined some of the highlights below:

New Blog Policy

  • Audience Insights: Traffic data is collected by Google and Facebook. 
  • Advertising: Paid display advertising is available. 
  • Sponsorship: Sponsored posts include a statement of disclosure.
  • Comments: Blog comments are currently shut off to manage spam. 
  • Contests: Prize providers take full responsibility for delivering items to contest winners.

Thanks for being a Do Sask reader. 

January 30 is #BellLetsTalk. This is my mental health story.

10 years ago, I started seeing a counselor after I was laid off from my job. Prior to that moment, I had only been taken to counselling for a short time as a child. I didn’t know how to open up as an eight year old girl, so it didn’t lead to any results.

My first regular adult counsellor took the time to understand what was going on. As it turned out, there was more to unpack than the feelings associated with job loss after the economic crash of 2008.

Since then, counselling has become a regular part of my life. Just like seeing the dentist, doctor, or RMT. It has given me the skills and ability to change my perspective of the world and to catch my thoughts before they start slipping into darker territory.

I tell people: without counselling, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That job I lost was a gift because it’s the reason I started doing it at 21 years old instead of waiting until it was too late.

I may not have been diagnosed with chronic mental illness, but I understand that being proactive about my own thoughts can help reduce my chances of acquiring one in the future.

On a serious note, I’ve personally witnessed what depression can do to someone if left unchecked. It can contribute to much more serious diseases such as dimentia/altzheimers and psychosis.

When my thoughts spin and I ruminate, I know it’s a good time to reach out for a hand to help me out of it. It’s also a good idea to have an annual mental health checkup to catch things you may not have even been aware of before it’s too late.

Mental therapy is a form of self love. It’s meant to help you when you can’t help yourself.

This story doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s taken a lot of nerve to write this post, when it should be as banal as telling someone you went to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned. That’s why I need to share. For the people who are suffering silently.

End the stigma.

Edit: I want to add that counselling would not have been financially feasible for me at the time (2009) without support of the employer who laid me off and the counselor herself.

Even though I was working full-time, I barely made enough to cover my essentials. My severance package covered 8 sessions and I was able to add a few extra at no charge. Another centre I used in Calgary offered hourly sessions on a sliding scale based on annual wage.

Counselling is a service everyone with a provincial health card has equal access to in Saskatoon. I wasn’t aware of this at the time I began my counselling journey.

Free counselling resources in Saskatoon:

This post was originally published to the Do SASK Facebook page on January 30, 2019.

Not a football fan? Here are a few ways to make Super Bowl 2019 entertaining

Super Bowl 2019 Party Entertainment

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Around our house, today is like the third best holiday next to Halloween and Christmas (hubby Chris is a huuuge sports nerd). And I’m not even a sports fan. The Super Bowl is still fun to watch because it’s the perfect excuse to hang out, have a drink or two, eat comfort food, and stay warm n’ cozy with friends.

As an advertising writer, I love watching the commercials. However Canada gets a weird assortment that isn’t exactly what the folks down south see. I still like to weigh in on the selection that we do get, ranking them from best to worst.

This year, the big game features the Los Angeles Rams versus the New England Patriots. If you feel like you’ve heard that before, it’s because the New England Patriots have played in the Super Bowl for the past three years back-to-back. Tom Brady is some kind of super-human athlete – consistently coming out on top very late in his career.

So how do you make Super Bowl 2019 entertaining when you aren’t a football fan, don’t like ads, avoid munchies, and could care less about Maroon 5? Two words: Prop bets. According to SBNation, a prop bet is defined as “a bet on a specific action happening”. For example, you can bet on how long it will take Gladys Knight to sing the national anthem.

Here are a few bets that make Super Bowl 2019 entertaining if you’re not a football fan:

  1. How long will it take for Gladys Knight to sing the US National Anthem? Over/Under 2 minutes.
  2. Gladys Knight’s Attire During the National Anthem Dress/Pants
  3. Will Gladys Knight Kneel During National Anthem? Yes/No
  4. What colour will Adam Levine’s shoes be when he begins his Halftime show performance? White/Black/Brown/Blue/Red/etc.
  5. How many Maroon 5 songs will they sing at Halftime? Over/Under 4 Songs
  6. How many times will Giselle Bundchen (Tom Brady’s wife) be shown on TV during broadcast? Over/Under 2
  7. Will someone streak during the game? Yes/No
  8. What colour of Gatorade will be poured on the game winning coach?
  9. Which commercial will win the Super Bowl of Ads? Doritos/Budweiser/Etc.