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Valentine’s Day Under the Dome

Analise Lipari | Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Despite the chill of subzero weather and ever-increasing amounts of snow on the ground, February does bring Notre Dame students a figurative (if not literal) oasis from the drudgery of South Bend’s perma-cloud oppression – Valentine’s Day. In this culture of steady couples and “Ring by Spring,” it might seem to the casual observer that the art of dating, even on a day like February 14th, would be lost. However, and surprisingly enough, creative and romance-conscious Domers over the years have come up with an impressive variety of date-like activities that you and your sweetie can enjoy this Valentine’s Day on campus.

Given the holiday in question, one would hope that the romantic-minded student would opt to begin their evening with an offering of flowers or a similar token of affection. Luckily for the sweatpants-clad, ball cap-wearing Domer guy or gal, LaFortune can meet all of your last minute date needs. The basement’s Irish Gardens offers a variety of flower arrangements, and formulating a unique mix of your date’s favorite candies at the Huddle can make even the laziest among us look thoughtful and considerate.

When asked the question “What would you do on a typical date?” most young adults would spring to the default option of dinner and a movie. At Notre Dame, the possibilities of enjoying a romantic evening with these options are nearly endless.

The default dining location would be one of the two dining halls, and indeed, the token “dining hall date” is a popular option for many of Notre Dame’s young couples. Whether you opt for the tradition-laden oak panels of South or the more modern and contemporary North, the dining halls allow for maximum food selection with minimum immediate impact on your wallet.

Those with slightly more sophisticated tastes might think of heading to one of several on-campus restaurants, including Legends, Greenfields or even Reckers. Legends is perfect for those with more sports-influenced tastes, and Greenfield’s offers a different selection with a slightly more international flair. Nothing says “romance” like a date funded by Flex Points, kids.

The more financially well-endowed among us may even opt to venture off-campus for a Valentine’s Day dinner, and South Bend and its surrounding towns provide nothing short of a virtual Mecca of both well-known chains and smaller restaurants. Popular choices for students often include the Olive Garden, the Irish pub Fiddler’s Hearth and the ever-classy Chocolate Café in downtown South Bend.

When it comes to entertainment, most weekends provide students with a usually lengthy list of activities for under $10. Plays, dorm events and SUB movies are always viable options, with recent events including PEMCo’s “Ragtime” and last weekend’s SUB movie “Flags of Our Fathers.” For those wishing to walk as few extra yards as possible in recent temperatures, renting a romantic comedy from the Huddle’s film selection takes nothing more than a student ID.

What makes a Notre Dame date truly unique, however, are the little touches that only Domers would know and understand. Walking around Saint Joe’s and Saint Mary’s lakes, for example, may be cliché for those with a Notre Dame background, but even when the temperature is below freezing, it’s still a default and timeless way to spend some time with that special someone.

Capping off the stroll with a trip to the Grotto is also another ND classic, with most students stopping to say a prayer and light one of the area’s many candles. And with Mary atop the Dome lending an ever-watchful eye, the Notre Dame tradition is sure to add a special sparkle to the Day.

Contact Analise Lipari at alipari@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.