February fourteenth sneaks up on all of us every year with little regard for anyone’s relationship status. If you are among those who cringe shortly after the Christmas holidays when retailers begin building eye-catching displays of red and pink hearts, plushy stuffed animals, and all manner of things chocolate, you are not alone.
HINTS FOR THE GUYS
Both sexes would agree that women make the bigger deal over sweetheart day, and men feel the pressure of meeting all those mysterious and sometimes vague female expectations. If you are settled in a long term relationship, you’re one of the lucky ones because your mission is easy as long as what you buy or plan qualifies as romantic. It doesn’t have to be overly expensive, but if you’re thinking of shopping for anything resembling a kitchen appliance, think again. Unless you have a deep seated wish to end the relationship, you might consider such customary gifts items as jewelry, girly sleepwear, seasonally decorated chocolates and of course, flowers, preferably roses.
If the relationship is just getting established, you are in a more tenuous position. Unfair as it may seem, rest assured that your status as a potential main squeeze may depend on how you handle this day. Assuming you want to maintain the status quo, there are options. If you are not sure where you two are going as a couple, stick with something neutral like a cutesy bear, bunny, or bumblebee sporting a noncommittal sentiment like “Be My Valentine” or “Happy Valentine’s Day” along with something chocolate or a single rose. This will be seen as woefully unimaginative, but it should get you off the hook. The same applies if you have been dating steadily for several months, but if your plan is to gain momentum as a suitor, the sentiment can read “Be Mine” or something a little more daring.
Avoid resorting to gift cards since this will translate into you to being thoughtless and her not worth making any fuss over. On the other hand, if you are willing to go the extra mile, you will get lots of sensitivity points by doing something that shows effort and creativity such as baking brownies or writing her a love song. This will move you far along on the desirability scale, especially if there is competition out there for her affections.
One rule applies to all relationship stages. Even if she has specifically told you she does not “want” or “need” anything, it’s best not to let the day go by without some kind of gesture even if it’s just a romantic text or a frilly card you mail to her office or attach to her windshield.
A FEW NOTES FOR THE GIRLS
Women find themselves in a different but equally troublesome quandary on Valentines Day. Since feminism has left its mark on the dating scene, it’s no longer just something the guys have to fret over. The biggest worries are what the gentleman in question is planning to do and how to handle it if he fails the test. Then there’s the issue of whether or not to get him something and how it will affect the relationship. Men are easier to please and many are downright skittish about accepting gifts, but the trick is not to scare him away by over doing it or worse getting him something that trumps his romantic efforts. Again, if this is a new relationship, getting him something that does not scream commitment is a safe bet. If you’re really unsure as to whether he will measure up, keep it hidden in your purse or the glove compartment to avoid the inevitable awkward moment if he has nothing for you.
Ladies who are confident of being part of an official couple can go ahead and buy those loud but adorable boxers printed with red hearts of kissing lips or give him that photo album you made of all the things you’ve experienced together so far. Romantic dinners are sweet, but keep in mind that this is one of the busiest days for restaurants of all kinds, so if he hates crowds or is low on cash, then suggesting dinner at home can be a more stress free experience whether you plan a gourmet meal or pick up his favorite take out. Chivalry may be almost dead, but that old cliché about the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach still holds some water. This will also eliminate any residual issues about who pays the check.
FOR THOSE GOING SOLO
If you are caught in between relationships, then first of all be grateful that this year you don’t have to resolve the dilemmas of those listed above. Valentines Day is about love, and this is a perfect opportunity to do something loving for you. Spending the evening pouring desperately over the dating websites or having a pity party with you, Ben and Jerry is not the way to go. This will only result in waking up the next day even more depressed and disgusted. Instead, plan ahead by treating yourself to some heart healthy, organic dark chocolate or cocoa, take a luxurious bubble bath or invigorating shower and settle in with one of your favorite romantic novels or videos. And don’t forget to end the celebration with a few positive intentions of finding yourself in a better romantic situation next year.