Face it, guys: Valentine’s Day isn’t about you. Conventional wisdom (a.k.a. commercialism and consumerism) tells you it’s all about the special lady in your life. Really, the only winners on V-Day are florists, shitty chocolate purveyors, manufacturers of oversized pink-and-red teddy bears clutching tiny felt roses, and lingerie stores who want to stripper-ize your girlfriend (I know—you’re not complaining about that one). But like most silly contemporary holidays, we buy into it, which includes you surprising your sweetheart with that stupid teddy bear at your regular table for two at Swiss Chalet.
Don’t do that.
And don’t ask Hallmark or Shopper’s Drug Mart about what you should do for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, either; you should be asking her. I mean, it is our holiday after all, right?
I know, I know. You want to be all suave and keep your Valentine’s Day plans a surprise—oh wait. I’ve called out your big Swiss Chalet date and now you don’t have a game plan for the big day? That’s okay. I’ll be the woman in your life (but just this once) and help orchestrate with you an unforgettable evening for your full-time, or part-time, lover.
The Situation: You want to seriously impress the woman you’ve just started dating
If you’re really digging this gal, you have to give her a reason to stick around. You don’t want to get too serious too soon (and scare both of you away), so it’s best to show her your creative side on V-Day rather than your mushy one (there’ll be time for that later on—provided everything goes well, of course). Going on three mini-dates will not only knock her socks off, but will also offer her the opportunity to witness your awesome self in an array of situations. Try ice skating earlier on in the evening to work up an appetite for the dinner you’ve reserved at the Mexican joint she’s been raving about. Then afterwards, go for drinks at a swanky cocktail bar. And if you really want to get her attention, gift her with two tickets to the upcoming comedy show she wants to see. That way she’ll know for certain you definitely want to see her again.
The Situation: You want to reignite the spark with your steady girlfriend
You’re in that comfortable I-can-wear-sweatpants-all-the-time phase with your GF and it’s great and all—who doesn’t like wearing sweatpants?—but you long for those I-want-to-be-near-you-all-the-time days when you liked to share the same booth at a restaurant and when kitchen sex was a regular occurrence. Reignite that flame by reenacting your first date right down to the music and the food. Was Lil’ Wayne crooning “How to Love” on the radio while you drove to the sushi spot where it was love at first bite? Then set that tune to loop on your way there and maybe get some backseat action before dinner. Later, surprise with a gift connected to your first date, like a Bento Box filled of trinkets she’d love, and get ready for round two.
The Situation: You want to score with your wife . . . without annoying her
Your better half is onto you already at this point. No need to go all out and be a romantic hero a la Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love because she’ll likely ask you why you’re acting like such a doofus. You may not need to impress her anymore—you did put a ring on it—but showing her how much you do care will definitely put you in the Good Husband books. Planning a cozy evening chez yours is the kind of gesture she’ll enjoy and appreciate. So, get a sitter for the kids—or throw some cat nip at your furry rug rats—cook up her favourite meal and pop open that nice bottle of wine you’ve been saving. Afterwards, cuddle up on the couch and catch up on Netflix (and don’t protest if she wants to watch The Good Wife). It’s the kind of thoughtful Valentine’s Day treat that will get you a fun treat later in bed.
The Situation: You want to pull the plug on your relationship
Well, you’re pretty much a selfish bastard for choosing this holiday to break up with her. At least an ex-boyfriend of mine waited three whole days after Valentine’s Day to phase me out. Even so, I must admit the post-V-Day breakup still tainted the pink Valentine cupcakes we had baked together; the same cupcakes I retrieved from the garbage and smashed into my mouth like a crazy person because I was so heartbroken. I’ve never really looked at Valentine’s Day the same way afterwards. Moral of the story? Don’t be a dink. Break up with her now. Now!
The Situation: You’re single.
A lot of peeps get bummed out about their single status on Valentine’s Day, but that’s just letting big business win! You should be thankful that you can just relax like Frankie this year. So call up your buds, play some pool, and have a few drinks. You’ll be buying oversized teddy bears in no time, anyway.
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan
Photo courtesy of Wendy Copley.