Toronto: Last-Minute Valentine’s

Few relationship tests are so fraught with peril as Valentine’s Day. Everything you do, wear and especially buy is loaded with signification. Where is your relationship at? Where you do you see it going? Are you keeping it casual or settling in for a long commitment? All questions many men would rather walk into traffic than have to answer. But Valentine’s Day pretty much forces you to take a position. That’s not easy to do on a day’s notice, not to mention without having purchased a gift to mark the occasion. Here are some suggestions to help with that latter part; you’re on your own for the former.

A Bouquet from Toronto’s Flower Row
Some experts will advise men to avoid giving flowers on Valentine’s Day — an obvious choice that displays nothing other than lack of imagination. Well that may be true, but flowers are standard for a reason. They’re often a showy, gaudy spectacle, but Valentine’s Day is a holiday built upon showy, gaudy spectacles. Decry their cliché commercialism all you want, but flowers are the one gift you can get away with at any level or stage of relationship. Avoid the corner store and make a run to Avenue Davenport, a.k.a. Flower Row — where at least five flower shops offer bouquets in over 70 varieties. Hooray for societal pressure! Avenue Road and Davenport Avenue

MoRoCo Chocolat’s Seasonal Collection [pictured]
Chocolates are another no-brainer, but if you think that’s a reason to avoid them then we refer you to the above flower apology. Sidestep cliché by avoiding the boilerplate Pot Of Gold collection you’ll find at any drug store and instead head to Yorkville’s MoRoCo, a local high-end chocolate shop/café. There’s a whole seasonal Valentine’s collection, from Toffee Bark to “Sweethearts,” so you’ve got some options. If you’re going to go traditional, might as well keep it local. 99 Yorkville Ave., 416-961-2202

“Tasteful” Lingerie from Nearly Naked
Thinking of giving her lingerie for Valentine’s Day? Repeat these three words. Don’t. Do. It. When it comes to the naughty stuff, she knows it’s a gift for you, not her. Trust us, she’ll see right through you. Still dead set? Okay, head to Nearly Naked at Queen and Shaw and ask for something “tasteful.” Most likely that’s going to mean avoiding the sheer, see-through and barely there – i.e. most of what gives the store it’s name — but instead opting for something more on the elegant side, like a piece from their celebrated sleepwear line. 920 Queen St. W., 416-588-7090

Concert Tickets
If you want to show her you’ve actually been paying attention to her tastes and preferences — because we all know that’s what really matters — you can’t go wrong with a pair of tickets for an upcoming concert. Of course, picking the right concert requires actually having paid attention to her tastes and preferences, not to mention some fortuitous timing, so here’s a hopefully widely-applicable suggestion: Sharon Van Etten at Lee’s Palace on February 21. A singer-songwriter from New Jersey, Van Etten’s songs are mostly about breakups, sure, but the vulnerable intimacy of her music is the perfect date atmosphere. 529 Bloor St. W., 416-532-1598

Image courtesy of anna_debenham.

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