It’s February, which means that we’re getting close to that one magical day of the year where women are able to judge how much their significant others love them based on arbitrary and poorly defined criteria. (Sadly, I gave my husband a pass on Valentine’s Day years ago, and now the only way I’m able to tell that he still loves me is that he keeps coming home after work.)

If you’re charged with planning a romantic Valentine’s Day for your sweetheart, you could go the expected route and get reservations at some crowded restaurant, buy some over-priced roses and pick up a box of those awful grocery store chocolates. Or you could do something awesome and plan a romantic archery date.

Archery? Romantic? That’s right. Think about it – Cupid isn’t flying around tossing flowers at people, is he? No, he’s got his hands on a bow and arrow. Archery is literally the sport of love.

I realize this may be a departure from your normal Valentine’s Day plans, so I’ll do my best to answer your questions below.

I don’t know anything about archery. How do I get started?

Your local archery pro shop may offer lessons and rental equipment. Find the pro shop closest to you by visiting Archery 360 and entering your zip code under “Find An Archery Shop.” You can even tailor your search and sort by services offered. If you’re new to archery, you’ll want professional instruction. Archery is a very safe sport, but you need to know some basic safety rules and use the proper equipment. Because if there’s anything less romantic than being packed like sardines into a restaurant, it’s a trip to the ER.

I’m confused. Why would I want to do an archery date night instead of dinner and a movie?

First, you’ll look super cool to your date. Planning an unexpected date shows the other person that you’re putting some major effort into impressing them. Second, trying a new activity together (or introducing your significant other to a new activity) can be a great way to bond and add a little excitement to your relationship. Third, it gives you an idea of how useful your significant other will be in the zombie apocalypse. You’re not going to get that information by sharing a plate of mozzarella sticks.

We already shoot together every day, so an archery date isn’t going to be all that special.

That’s awesome! Not really a question, but it’s awesome. If you’re already shooting, you could spice up your practice sessions by trying something new. My husband bought me a recurve once I’d mastered the compound. (Okay, that’s not true. He bought me a low-poundage recurve because I told him I wanted to start shooting in the basement and he was concerned that our homeowner’s insurance wouldn’t cover what I was capable of doing down there.) Or maybe you could try a crossbow. If an archery date doesn’t work for you, just tell everyone you know about how exciting an archery date on Valentine’s Day would be and maybe your local restaurants will be a little less crowded.

My girlfriend/wife hasn’t shot before and might not be into it. Can I just have her use my old bow to see if she likes it?

Sure you can. Just know that she will almost certainly not like it. Getting your first taste of archery with the wrong equipment is a great way to make archery miserable. Take her to a pro shop and rent a suitable bow. It will make for a much better experience for everyone involved.

My local archery shop isn’t open/isn’t offering lessons on Valentine’s Day. What do I do?

With Valentine’s Day on a Sunday this year, this is a very real possibility. You have a couple of options. You could celebrate Valentine’s Day on a different day, although some people are not really “cool with that.” You could also present your significant other with a coupon for an archery lesson as his or her Valentine’s Day gift. Unfortunately, this may mean that you still have to go out for dinner. But at least you could probably skip those chocolates.

What if I get stood up?

Oh, you weren’t really thinking about that, were you? Sorry. The good news is that getting stood up on the archery range is so much more fun than getting stood up at a mediocre restaurant. You can enjoy a night of archery and console yourself by thinking that the other person just couldn’t handle all your awesomeness.

This all sounds good, but maybe I could do paintball instead. That’s like archery, isn’t it?

No. Stop. It can’t be just any old activity. That wouldn’t make any sense. It has to be archery. You know – The Sport of Love™.


Related: 5 Reasons Hunting With Your Spouse Is Better Than Date Night