Ah, the popular Valentine’s Day, the day of love. From flowers and chocolates to truck tires, scratch tickets and beer.

Wait, WHAT?!

Though the exact origin of Valentine’s Day isn’t known, there’s more to it than just a lovey-dovey holiday giving some people an excuse for elaborate public displays of affection.

Looking into it, there’s much more to the holiday than I realized.

While the holiday has evolved to being known for love and romance, it has theories about imprisonment, martyrdom, relationships selected by lottery style and secret marriages. There is belief to have been three Saint Valentines’, the underlying common factor among them is the sacrifice for love.

One theory of the holiday’s origin is from the third century. Emperor Gothicus of the Roman Empire had problems getting men to sign up for the military and had forbidden marriages and engagements, believing that men would be more willing to become soldiers if they did not have to leave behind a wife or family.

Disgusted by this practice, a priest named Valentine secretly began to marry soldiers before they left for war.

When the emperor found out, Valentine was taken to prison and sentenced to death. As he sat in prison, nearing his fate, he fell in love with a girl who could possibly have been the jailor’s daughter. On the evening of his execution, he used the ink he squeezed from violets to write her a poem, signing it “your Valentine.”

Centuries after his death, Valentine’s sacrifice to love was honored in Rome with granting of sainthood and a feast in his honor held on February 14th, our current Valentine’s Day holiday.

The holiday is known to be a holiday not only full of love, but romantic dates, dinners, chocolate, flowers, jewelry, and suggestive TV commercials starting right after Christmas.

Though it’s seen to be a holiday catered to women, let’s not forget about the other half. What does your guy want for Valentine’s Day? Dinner? Romance? Truck tires? Perhaps nothing at all?

I talked with several men ranging from their 20’s to their 60’s about what the meaning of Valentine’s Day holds for them. Their range of thoughts was just about as broad as the age range of the group.

A few of the interviewees showed distaste for the holiday, explaining that it’s dumb, over-commercialized and female centered. They believe that love should be shown every day, not just stressed during one day of the year, and Valentine’s day is just like any other day.

“My thought is, treat your lady like a queen every day. Then you don’t need a special day to make her feel special. So, for me, all I want is her attention.”

Some don’t want anything but do like to spend the holiday doting on their wife. “I usually don’t want/need anything. I think it’s a terrible corporate holiday. I do, however, spoil my wife. If I were to ask for anything, it would be something small and useful. Something golf or tool related maybe.”

A few desired that the lovely lady plan the holiday event. “Honestly, it’d be nice if the lady got reservations and took care of plans for the night. Doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day but it’d be a pleasant surprise if the lady said, ‘Honey, I have everything planned for the night.’”

For some, the holiday is simply celebrated, a quiet evening of togetherness over a nice meal at a favorite restaurant; a popular meal among the group included steak. A walk at the lake or flower garden to follow.

“Being older and retired, I really don’t need gifts. I would rather have a nice evening out with fine dining and a card. I would rather spend it doing something we both enjoy rather than gifts.”

The night doesn’t have to include an evening outside the home. “I would say put the kids to bed early. Or get a sitter and stay in. Maybe get a good steak dinner at the house type deal. Not crazy about going out. A Valentine’s Day cruise is always fun if the weather is good.”

Some holiday traditions hold up for years. “For every year for the last 30+ years, it’s been a nice bottle of wine and a nice steak and whatever else happens.”

Some wanted time away from the house to explore new opportunities, from ice fishing to a trip to a cozy cabin in the hills. “Just a fun day of adventure with my boo. Do something new. Go to a new place. Could be a road trip. Off-roading to a nice dinner. Or a little hike somewhere new. Just as long as it gets away from the routine of the day to day.”

There were some gift ideas if you’re looking to give your guy something he would love, whether something including a bit of a challenge, “A great steak and a good night sleep with no leg cramps or getting up to go to the bathroom.”

Or something more attainable:

Scratch tickets


Beef jerky

A new hat

Something for a Corvette

Anything hunting or fishing related

New toolbox

New tires

And a suggestion made that I hadn’t thought of:

“This brings to mind the age-old question; what do you give the man who has absolutely everything?”

“Answer: A family-pack of penicillin.”