Attention Dudes: Valentine's Day is less than three weeks away. Which means that 99% of you haven't even started thinking about it yet, and most of you probably won't, for at least two more weeks.
Because, as we all know, if it were up to men, February 14th would be just another day.
But since it's not, and because your girlfriends and wives are already wondering what you're going to do (and because the majority of you are lacking the Romantic Gene), here are a few suggestions that, in my humble opinion, could really make someone's Valentine's Day special.
1. Dads: If you have a daughter who's in college and living in a dorm, send her flowers. I can still remember being a freshman and coming home from class on Valentine's Day to find tons of flowers waiting for my fellow dorm residents. Of course, none of those flowers had my name on them, and I was soooo envious of the other girls. The next year, when I was still living in a dorm, I mentioned something to my dad, and sure enough, when I got home from class on Valentine's Day, there were a dozen beautiful red roses waiting for me at the front desk. And the card said something ambiguous like, "From an admirer." Everyone on my floor commented on my gorgeous flowers, and I didn't have to tell anyone that they were from my dad! So, whether you surprise her or conspire with her in advance, send your college-aged daughter some flowers!
2. And while I'm on the topic of flowers, I'm going to sound like a total gold-digger when I say this, but flowers alone aren't going to sweep your honey off her feet. One year, I was dating a guy, and for Valentine's Day he cooked me dinner (which was great) and got me a single rose (yes, ONE effing rose). He was so proud of himself, it was like he wanted a frigging medal or something! I was (understandably) disappointed. Now, I'm not saying that you have to spend a lot of money to make a girl happy, but I think I speak for most girls when I say that we like to get something that we can keep. For longer than a week. So, if you're tight on cash, skip the expensive roses (maybe go with daisies), and spend what you've saved on a lil' gift.
3. Women. Love. Jewelry. (Period.) I think that where men get tripped up is that they think that the jewelry they buy has to be expensive. Honestly, though, even though diamond earrings are nice (okay, more than nice), we're also thrilled to get a pretty beaded necklace or bracelet, just as long as we think that you picked it out. (And not at 5:15 p.m. on Valentine's Day.) The best part is, these days, you don't even have to leave the house to go shopping! This is my favorite place to shop for jewelry, and for the most part, it's pretty inexpensive. Remember, though, if you're going to order something online, you better do it soon! There's nothing worse (okay, maybe there are worse things) than having to tell your girlfriend/wife that the gift that you ordered for her hasn't arrived yet.
4. Of course, you don't have to buy your girlfriend (wife) jewelry; you could get her a nice piece of artwork, or maybe a book that you think she'd like. However, there are some gifts that you should stay away from, like Valentine's Day-themed stuffed animals, generic boxes of candy, or pretty much anything else from the Valentine's Day aisle at Walgreens. Trust me when I say that she'll be a tad disappointed. (Unless, of course, you get her a "real" gift and a teddy bear that's holding a heart that says "Bear Hug." I would approve of this.)
5. Spa services are another popular gift idea, and even though I said that girls like to get something we can keep, we also really like to be pampered. However, if you're buying her a visit to the salon or spa, stick to massages, facials (which are fabulous, by the way), or other "pamper-y" things. I once heard about a girl whose boyfriend bought her a bikini wax for Valentine's Day. Not only is that SELFISH, but it's also kind of insulting!
6. Have you started thinking about what you're going to do for dinner yet? I'm sure The Melting Pot is already booked. And Regas probably is too. Here's the thing about going out to dinner for Valentine's Day: Sure, it's feels romantic to be out among all those other couples, but you also have to keep in mind that the kitchen staff and servers are slammed, so you might not get the best service that night. If you're a decent cook, then by all means, make her a candlelight dinner at home. Pasta dishes are always good, and if you can't cook, then order a pizza and have champagne with it. Also, and this is kind of a no-brainer...it's crucial that you have some kind of dessert. Here's one idea: Buy a box of white or chocolate cake mix, some pink frosting, and cupcake liners, and make her some Valentine's Day cupcakes.
7. If you know that your better half really has her heart set on The Melting Pot or another popular Valentine's Day spot, see if she would mind going on the 13th or the 15th. One year I had a test on February 15th (cruel, cruel professor), and I absolutely could not do anything on the night of the 14th, so my boyfriend and I celebrated on the 13th. Honestly, I didn't mind it at all, and I actually felt kind of smug the next day, having already had a great "Valentine's Day."
8. Sometimes the most fun Valentine's Days are the nontraditional ones. Personally, I'm not a big fan of this holiday, because, shouldn't we be showing our loved ones how much we care about them every day? Riiiiiiiight. Seriously, though, my favorite Valentine's Day was actually a year that I was single, and my roommate and I had a keg party for all of our other single friends. The party turned out to be a blast, probably the best one I've ever had, and I highly recommend having one yourself. However, if you are in a relationship, and you feel like all this romantic stuff just isn't you, then hell, go bowling or something. Invite another couple over for tacos and Trivial Pursuit. Or, boycott the whole damn thing.
Just, whatever you do, think about it before February 13th, mmmk?
And girls: You're welcome.