Every year, right before spring’s rescuing warmth, attached men find themselves scrambling to solve one of the worst catch-22s facing the American male: how to impress their girlfriend without falling into the million Valentine’s Day pitfalls.
Sure, every guy knows the standard Valentine’s Day gift list: Chocolate, Wine, Dinner, Flowers. But what should the card say? What kind of flowers? Is the steakhouse ok, or do I have to drop $200 in the rotating skyline restaurant? Jewelry? How much is too much? And, more importantly, how much is too little?
Media and traditions have built Valentine’s Day into a minefield for boyfriends everywhere, especially in the early stages of a relationship when both parties are still deciding about the L-word and intimacy levels. This year, to really impress her, step outside the regular heart-shaped boxes for something she’ll always remember, without feeling trapped into promising more than you planned.
Allow yourself some time in a quality card store to find one that really says what you mean. Want to stay light and casual, but still sweet? There are plenty of cards that tell her you think she’s beautiful without promising a ring too. Don’t latch onto the first suitable one you pick up either, Take an extra minute to find the one that really makes you think of her. Maybe the photo looks like her cat or the punch line references a private joke. If you do this right, the rest is cake.
Remember: it’s the personal touches that show her how much you’ve been paying attention. Never overspend on Valentine’s flowers. It’s not necessary. Most women love flowers and aren’t picky about what kind. Bonus points if you happen to find out her favorite flower, but if not, just pick something out you think she would like. She will. Also, remember, a massive bouquet is nice, but not necessary. The florist at your local grocer can help you pick a few stems and some garnishes in a nice vase for a low price.
Dump the overrated cheap truffles and fill the box with Skittles, Peachy O’s, or nothing but green M&Ms….whatever she likes best. Instead of a teddy bear, get a stuffed elephant or a hermit crab with a personalized shell. Hand-make a photo frame with your favorite snapshot of the two of you. Use lightweight cardboard and cut out words from magazines that describe her or your relationship.
Instead of going out for dinner and movie with every other couple in town, dress up anyway, but stay in. Lock her in the bathroom with a basket of bath gels and lotions while you whip up a quick meal. Most Italian recipes are elegant and impressive, but quick and cheap. Pick up a few classic romance movies, like Casablanca and When Harry Met Sally and a modern classic, like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. You won’t watch them all, but she’ll be thrilled at the choices.
Find a recipe for a mixed drink with the same alcohol as her favorite cocktail. Make a show of mixing your new recipe up in front of her, twirl the shaker, juggle the bottle and garnish with fruit and a tacky themed umbrella. When she asks what it is – name it after her.
Remember, make the night all about her. Then just try to relax, enjoy her company and make a memory. That’s what it’s supposed to be all about anyway.