Some Valentine’s Day tips for both men and women

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Speaking from the experience of almost 18 years (granted, not always on my best behavior) of marriage, I would like to offer guys getting ready for the Day of Hearts (or Valentine’s Day) some advice for how to make it memorable, fun and, if you really have a great relationship, passionate as can be.

For the sake of editorial expediency, I will use the common “him” and “her,” but feel free to infer for same-sex couples as well.

Buying a massage is great, but offer to give one of your own.  There is nothing more intimate, more bonding, than the feeling of the hands of one’s lover along your body.  The relaxation this generates is beyond comparison.  The massage need not be powerful, not the sort of deep tissue massage offered by professionals.  A simple gentle touch gets the job done with the same effectiveness.  Enhance the mood with massage oils or body lotions, and candles help too!

If you can’t cook, ordering out is acceptable, but make a nice place setting.  Not everyone has an inner chef screaming to burst forth.  Some people can genuinely burn water.  Still, don’t let that dissuade you from creating at least the illusion of “home cooked” meal.  If you have to order out, do it, but set a nice place setting.  Believe it or not, a simple dinner of mac and cheese with a nice glass of wine and swanky place setting sometimes beats a dinner at a five-star restaurant.

Face it – you aren’t Christian Grey, so don’t bother trying.  Just be yourself.  Trying to be a billionaire wannabe, or a celebrity impersonator, only works if your beloved wants to try out some crazy fantasy.  Rather than trying to make yourself look like Donald Trump or Oprah, just be you.  Dress nice, dress simple, and be classy.  Manners are everything.

Jewelry is all about taste – know the recipient.  Guessing is dangerous, assuming more so.  Don’t guess on your lover’s tastes in jewelry, accessories, etc.  If they have a particular designer they love, aim that way.  If they have particular style which catches their fancy, keep your eyes focused there.  Ask them what they want – you might be surprised how much listening means more than any shiny trinket.

Valentine Day proposals can be the stuff of presentation, as well as breakup, legends.  Yes, Valentine’s Day is romantic, emotional, and fun.  It can be a wild whirlwind for new love, and that alone is the number one reason who it’s the worst possible day to pop the question.  A great day to pop the question is Monday in the evening.  Why?  Simple – Monday is usually the lousiest day of the week for anyone.  If they say “yes” on Monday, it’s likely to last because you asked at the worst possible time.  Valentine’s Day, by comparison, is the day where if your lover says “no,” they look a coldhearted, heartbreaking douche.

If you can’t afford the do anything for Valentine’s Day, keep it simple.  So many couples spend hundreds, even thousands, on a perfect Valentine’s Day.  This is usually followed by fights over money, who spent what, who didn’t think ahead with an eye to the future, etc.  Don’t break the bank showing you love someone.  If that is what’s needed to win the heart, it may be a relationship worth reconsidering.  Nobody should have to buy anyone’s affections.

And finally, one tip which I keep close to my heart every year…

The most romantic things really are free.  A quiet walk, singing together in the shower, playing together with pets, cooking together, and even balancing your checkbook can be fun and romantic if you really want to make them so.  Nobody ever said a relationship is automatic; it takes a lot of dedication and work, and even more listening (we men need a remedial on that one).  If you want to demonstrate affection for your beloved, consider doing something which doesn’t cost, but instead pays off with a feeling of closeness and trust in one another.

I’m not expert, nor am I a saint or guru.  What I am is a very flawed man, whose hope is this can be of help to some people with no idea how to pull off a memorable Valentine’s Day.   So, the flowers are a nice touch, so are the chocolates, but what our lovers really want is simple – an ear to bend, loving eyes to see, and the touch of someone they trust who loves then unconditionally.  After all, unconditional love is the greatest gift we can give each other on this Day of Hearts.

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