Being Single/Date Ideas/Dating/Holy Dating/My Relationships/Sex and Chastity Be Epic: A Dude’s Guide to Valentine’s Day by Joel Stepanek This weekend, your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook is probably going to be a steady steam of the following: Pictures of girls you are friends with posting about “galentine’s day” Friends complaining about being single Couples posting about their incredible, undying love for each other At least one of your guy friends complaining about being friend zoned Yes, my brothers – Valentine’s Day is here. As a man, Valentine’s day comes with expectations that horrify me every year. Exactly how much is reasonable to spend on flowers that are – let’s be honest – just going to die and smell eventually? As a single guy, it was much worse. Do I reject the holiday? Do I feel bad about it? Do I pull the cliché, “It’s just a hallmark holiday” and spend the rest of the weekend playing every Call of Duty game I own? Nay, my brothers – I submit to you a better way. After all, as Christian men we don’t need a day to fight for and stand up in support of true love – but since the world has given us one anyway, we should make the most of it. Whether you are single, dating, engaged to be engaged, or planning a video game marathon this weekend – here is your bro approved guide to Valentine’s Day: For the Single Man Flowers don’t phase you, cards aren’t even in the forefront of your mind. Conversation hearts? What does that even mean? Look – as a single guy on Valentine’s day you can either be #LeftShark and awkwardly go about your day, moping and going through the motions… or you can be Liam Neisen. You can be a man of action. Make it Epic: Serve others on Valentine’s Day. Volunteer time at a warming shelter or food pantry. Send some of your best friends affirming texts – as men we often tear each other down more than we build each other up. Buy your mom or a mother-figure in your life flowers and tell her you love her. Make today about what it means to love selflessly by loving your neighbors, family, and friends in a radical way. Get together with your guy friends and have a bro night – and start it off with a holy hour. Don’t Be Lame: Ranting about how much Valentine’s Day sucks on social media is a pathetic way to spend the holiday. Complaining about being “friend zoned” is even more ridiculous. Are you about to Instagram a sad bathroom selfie with #ForeverAlone? Put the phone down, take a deep breath, and remember that you are loved greatly by the God that made you. For the Dating Man So you have a girlfriend but don’t have the money for a fancy dinner? Looking for something awesome that will demonstrate your affection but protect her dignity? Look no further, there are plenty of ways to make things epic: Make it Epic: If you just started dating someone, or want to ask someone out on a date Valentine’s Day can carry a lot of heavy expectations. Keep things light – go on a group date to a movie (Pro Tip: Don’t see any movies this weekend that involve shades of anything. Grab some fro-yo. If you are blessed with warm weather, go out to a park together and have a large picnic together. Being in a group sparks a lot of conversation, which prevents things from getting awkward and silent. If you have been dating someone for a while and want to experience real intimacy together — go to Eucharistic Adoration together, hit up a Saturday evening vigil Mass, pray a Rosary. Those are great places to have some one on one time with each other and with Christ; then find a couple of good friends and go on a double date. Don’t Be Lame: A couple of tips, fellas: A great date does not involve your bedroom, backseat, or any other secluded place where temptation is great and your will may be weak. Use Valentine’s day to show your girlfriend that you love her as a daughter of Christ and respect her dignity, rather than a time to try to re-enact lyrics to a Daft Punk song. Seriously, nothing is more cliché and boring than sexual sin on Valentine’s Day. Don’t be that guy. For Every Man I don’t know if anyone has told you this lately, so I will remind you (or let you know for the first time): You are called to defend and promote true love. If you want to know what that looks like, check out 1 Corinthians 13. Read through it – now replace the word “love” with the name “Jesus.” Now – read through it again, but replace the word “love” with your name. Feel like things don’t match up as well? Then you know where to start. The world needs men that embody what self-giving, Christ-like love means. This Valentine’s Day, there will be plenty of guys whining about being single and too many other guys trying to push boundaries with their significant other. You don’t need to be either one – you can be the guy that respects your girlfriend and gives her a cheesy, handmade card that makes her laugh rather than the guy that makes her feel worthless and used when the night is over. You can be the single guy that doesn’t waste his time whining about not “being in love,” and you can be the guy that goes out into your community to “be love.” Because honestly – that is what women are looking for out of you. In short – be epic this Valentine’s Day. God created you – you have no excuse to be lame. If you want to dive even deeper into the epic-ness that is Catholic manhood, consider joining us for the Life Teen Men’s Retreat March 16-18 in Dahlonega, GA.