Love don’t cost a thing: cheap V-day dates

The days of chocolate boxes, balloons and dachshund stuffed animals wearing sweaters that say “I love you this much!” are over. This Valentine’s Day, shirk capitalist expectations and celebrate your love through chintziness. There are plenty of free places on campus that are thoughtful and romantic – just make sure your date doesn’t read the newspaper.

The Great Outdoors

February weather may not exactly be tropical, but don’t let that stop you from bundling up and taking your date to the typically secluded Old Hopkins Observatory in the Odd Quad during the evening to sit and look at the stars. The cold weather will give you an excuse to snuggle, and your feet dangling over the ledge is an excellent opportunity to play footsie.

Similarly, you could sit with your valentine on the bench behind Prospect basement. The location doesn’t have the same great view of the stars, but it’s still secluded, intimate and less out in the open than the Observatory.

But if sitting quietly just isn’t enough, and you know your valentine doesn’t mind a hike (note: I’m not into that kind of thing, but supposedly some people are), take him or her to the top of Stone Hill. You’ll get a gorgeous view of the whole campus blanketed in snow, even if it means you have to work for it.

For a shorter walk, go to the Green River. Just brush off a little snow from the picnic tables and chat it up. Admittedly, this idea works better in nicer weather, but don’t underestimate the fact that the river isn’t completely frozen, and if you really hit the jackpot you could end up taking a dip with your date.

Library Love

If you think you can pull it off, tell your date, “You and me. Schow Library roof. Sunset. Valentine’s Day.” It worked for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and while Schow roof may not be the top of the Empire State Building, Williamstown doesn’t really offer anything better. Love is all about compromises, right?

If low-key is more your thing, curl up indoors in Sawyer. There’s no cozier space than a monkey carrel, so get some takeout, a blanket and a copy of Either/Or by Kierkegaard to illustrate to your date how deep you are. Not interested in the father of existentialism? Grab a dinner box from Spice Root and go read Kama Sutra together on the beanbags instead. Experiment with other lascivious spaces where magic can happen: the stacks of government documents in the mezzanine of Sawyer basement and the tunnel from Stetson to Sawyer.

A Black, Black Heart

Cemeteries are often overlooked as great Valentine’s Day sites. Secluded? Certainly – everyone else is at least six feet away. Quiet? Silent to the bone, in fact. Cozy? Some would say so. If your valentine enjoys wearing black and listening to Slipknot, then luck, my friend, is on your side because odds are that you and your date will have the College Cemetery all to yourselves.

Haystack Monument

Just a hop and a skip away is the Haystack Monument. The little stretch of grass has plenty of benches, all the trees provide enough privacy for romance and its location makes it perfect for frosh couples who dare to date across the Mission and Frosh Quad border. Like the parents of Jessica Mahoney ’10, you too can share your first kiss at the Haystack Monument.

The Sound of Moosic

If you’re musically inclined, serenade your valentine in a practice room in Bernhard Music Center for a private concert. A word of caution: these rooms are not completely soundproof, and each door has a small window; be careful how you use them.

Don’t limit your musical ability, or inability, to the privacy of practice rooms. If you don’t have a valentine, tomorrow is the perfect time to tell that secret crush in front of all of his or her friends you’re in love – in song! And don’t worry if you can’t sing, it’s the thought that counts. In fact, the harder the song, the more your crush will realize how much you care. So brush up on your Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and pick an open, crowded space to show your crush how unabashed you are in your to-be-requited love. Remember, love can happen in the least expected of places – don’t forget that Driscoll Dining Hall was the site of a marriage proposal. Maybe with these suggestions, you, too, can be lucky in the ways of love tomorrow.