Instead of what you may ask?
Instead of seeing or reading Fifty Shades of Grey. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not go out to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Don’t even read the book or its sequels. Both of them are different forms of soft-core porn that promotes domestic abuse and violence in relationships. So here are 50 things you can do for Valentine’s Day instead, whether you are single or in a relationship.
10 Movies I Recommend
- The Princess Bride. A classic fantasy/comedy that stars Cary Elwes, the only actor I know so far who’s 100% JP2 approved. (Inconceivable, you say? Read this if you don’t believe me!) And even if you’ve seen the movie before, I highly recommend re-watching it.
- Casablanca. This is a classic movie that is both romantic and historically significant. I got introduced to the movie in history class and my teacher said outright that it was basically an allegory of what was going on during WWII, specifically, the call to get America involved in the war.
- Clueless. A classic teen chick flick. Before the days of Mean Girls, this was the go-to high school chick flick. The technology is a bit dated, but the fashion’s making a comeback. Besides that, where do you think the styles from that Iggy Azalea video came from?
- Mean Girls. Because why not? This and Clueless are suggestions for singles, but I think this movie can be funny enough for guys to enjoy.
- Any movie with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn (Holiday, Sylvia Scarlett, The Philadelphia Story, and Bringing Up Baby.)
- Any movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Or just any Meg Ryan movie. Most Hallmark movies wish they were Meg Ryan movies anyway. Just not that Meg Ryan movie with Nicholas Cage. A romantic lead, he is not.
- Fireproof. A movie about a couple struggling with their marriage and a firefighter struggling with his faith. I love this movie as a whole, even if some parts tended to bug me. Still, I think it’s a great movie to watch.
- Gimme Shelter. A movie about a foster child looking for a home. This isn’t a romantic movie, but shows that family can be found in a lot of places.
- Return to Me: A movie starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver. Another movie about finding love where you least expect it.
- If you have to go out to the movies on Valentine’s Day, I’d rather you see one of two movies: Old Fashioned or The Last Five Years. I’ll be posting reviews on both of these movies later this month, but I’d be lying if I’d be saying that I wasn’t looking forward to The Last Five Years more. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good musical.
10 TV Shows I Recommend
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Why would I want to watch some cheesy 90s show about vampires, you might ask? Because it kind of is and it kind of isn’t about vampires. Watch this video a fellow Buffy fan made and see if it intrigues you. For those who haven’t watched the show, I recommend that you start by watching “School Hard.” It’s not exactly a romantic episode, but it establishes a lot and has a lot of action. And there are some stuff dealing with relationships in that particular episode as well. For those who’ve watched the show and want a good episode to watch for Valentine’s Day, I recommend “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Lover’s Walk,” “The Prom,” “Once More With Feeling,” and “Tabula Rasa.” Full-on marathons of your favorite season or episodes are also recommended, but just remember you’ll probably be crying when you’re done.
- Doctor Who: This one kind of speaks for itself. Who doesn’t love a little wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey? If you haven’t watched the show, I recommend “Blink” or “The Eleventh Hour.” If you have watched the show, I recommend “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” two-parter, “School Reunion,” “The Girl in the Fireplace,” “The Shakespeare Code,” “Partners in Crime,” “Vampires of Venice,” “Amy’s Choice, “The Lodger,” “The Doctor’s Wife,” and “The Girl Who Waited.” Or just marathon your favorite season/Doctor.
- Firefly: This is for those who love sci-fi that kind of breaks out of the norms of the clean and lens-flarey stuff of Star Trek and Star Wars. While I’m a casual fan of the latter, I’m a bigger fan of the former. If you never watched the show, start with “The Train Job” or “Out of Gas” or the film Serenity. If you’re looking for a romantic episode, I highly recommend “Shindig” which is my personal favorite or “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” Marathoning this show is also easy enough, but will also likely leave you crying in the end.
- Pride and Prejudice. The classic 1995 BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle I also recommend most adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion.
- Death Comes to Pemberley: Based on a fan-created sequel to Pride and Prejudice, this mini-series combines a murder mystery and the romance of period dramas.
- The Bible mini-series. Might as well get started for Lent!
- The Office: A favorite of many of my friends. Emily Allen says “Even though they have sex outside of marriage, they are open to life/happily welcome a surprise baby, they get married, and seeing how they work through their issues is like hella inspiring. I actually wrote a persuasive essay on ways they embody Christian marriage on secular TV.” She recommends watching the Jim and Pam-centric episodes. Office fans, please do me a favor and comment an episode you’d recommend to non-fans.
- Gilmore Girls. This is mostly for the ladies. I grew up watching this show, so I honestly wouldn’t know what episode to recommend to non-fans. Just watch the first season on Netflix and see if you like it.
- RWBY. I recommend this show to fans of action-oriented animated shows. It centers on a group of female protagonists who fight monsters. There’s a lot of fairy tale/folklore themes and lots of fight scenes. Keep in mind, though, that this show was independently produced on a shoestring budget, so production values aren’t A-grade. But if you want a show with dynamic characters, I highly recommend it. It’s available on YouTube and Netflix.
- Youtube adaptations of literary classics. This has become the latest trend in online video. It’s also a great way to take a fresh perspective on classic literature. I personally recommend The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Autobiography of Jane Eyre, and A Tell Tale Vlog. There are other adaptations for works such as Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Much Ado About Nothing. Check them out if you’re interested.
10 Books to Read
- Anything by St. John Paul II, especially Love and Responsibility, Theology of the Body, and The Jeweler’s Shop
- The Beginner’s Guide to the Theology of the Body by Christopher West. It helped me understand Theology of the Body a lot.
- The Bible: Specifically the book of Ruth, Song of Songs/Song of Solomon, the book of Tobit, the Gospel of John, 1 Corinthians, and any of John’s letters.
- The Four Loves by CS Lewis.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray. If you have to be with a Mister Grey, I would rather you learn the story of this tragic figure whose narcissism led to his own undoing. I think the themes of this book still apply today.
- The Five Love Languages.
- Anything from Jane Austen. In particular: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion. I also have a soft spot for Mansfield Park, but I’ll go into why I don’t recommend it in a later post.
- Anything by Jason and Crystalina Evert. Especially How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, St. John Paul the Great: His Five Loves, Purity 365
- Chastity is For Lovers by Arleen Spenceley. See previous posts as to why.
- Woman In Love by Katie Hartfiel. See previous posts as to why.
- Prayer. Go to Adoration. Go to Daily Mass. Pray the Rosary.
- Spend $50 on something other than the books or the movies or anything relating to Fifty Shades of Grey. Donate to a battered women’s shelter or give that money to a homeless person.
- Carve something out of soap
- Learn calligraphy
- A Metropolitan Opera version of The Marriage of Figaro, even if you think you hate opera.
- Write an actual letter to someone you haven’t seen in a long time.
- Play. Play in the snow if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line and have snow in your area. Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart. Play board games. Play card games. Play dominos.
- Go to Half-Price Books.
- Spend an evening doing photo shoots with your friends or your significant other. “Doesn’t have to be sexy unless you want it to be, but it’s a good way of slowing down and taking a good, slow look at the person you’ve gotten used to living with, and it makes the photo subject feel really special.” -Simcha Fischer
- Use a Saint Randomizer to find a saint and read/learn about them. Pray for their intercession.
- Dig out old photo albums/diaries and look at the pictures/read the entries.
- Go to a national park. Admission is free from Feb. 14-16th for President’s Day Weekend.
- Make a Valentine’s day basket (candy, cards, cheap gift) and give it to someone in person. Give it to a homeless person.
- Send flowers to someone for no reason. Hand roses out to people on the street
- Look into various religious orders/vocations.
- “Couple of months ago, we went out to a noisy, beery pool hall for a date. SO MUCH FUN. So different from an evening at home with the kids and the dog. It was like the best parts of being in college again, without all the existential angst.”- Simcha Fischer
- Trampoline dodgeball
- Zip lining
- Horseback riding
- Spend your day doing random acts of kindness like paying for someone else’s coffee or meal, taking over someone else’s chores for the day, baking cookies for someone. I can make a list of 50 random acts of kindness to do. In fact, that’s probably what I’ll be posting on Monday.