Tag Archives: holidays

The 5 Worst Things You Could Possibly Do For Valentine’s Day.

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The endless media coverage surrounding the otherwise useless day of February the 14th is designed solely for news shows to fill air-time with pointless questionnaires, asking every passing dope what romantic piece of crap he’s planning on getting his sadly undeserving girlfriend. Cue the anchor making a few jokes about chocolates and candle-lit dinners and bewildered, bumbling guys screwing up, and there you have it: Valentine’s Day.

Nah, it’s not just an invented holiday designed to sell greeting cards or fill restaurants, although it is all of those things and more; no, Valentine’s Day is something ubiquitous, annoying, and unavoidable—a kick in the ass if you’ve been slacking off in the romance department, a reminder to every sadly-single person that other people sleep in beds, together, day in and day out, and so on. But it doesn’t have to be any of these things if you’re careful, which is where we come in.

Just in case you find yourself falling into those familiar Valentine’s Day traps—feeling guilty and obligated to do things, or acting fake-romantic and confused as you over-do it—we’re here with a guide of the Top Five Worst Things you Could Possibly Do for Valentine’s Day. Some are silly, some are depressingly familiar, but all are important and avoidable, unless you want to screw stuff up. Read on, fellow men, and go towards the 14th of this month with confidence. Or wanton disregard for your own well-being. Either way.

#5:Get Blind While She Doesn’t

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What This Involves: Heading out for a romantic evening with a secret plan to get wasted hidden in your back pocket. Working on a light buzz during appetizers but trying to keep things level, steady, smooth. It’s hard when the wine goes down so good with the food. When your second course comes around, you’ve failed any known sobriety test, and the waiter’s question about dessert sharing is met with a slurred “I ain’t splittin’ shit” from you.

Once you and your lovely girlfriend hit a bar “for drinks” after dinner (a course of action that took 20 minutes—and you walking off in the direction of the nearest bar—to enact) you’re having mild vision problems and big couple problems. The night ends (for you) when you spend 15 minutes sleeping in a public bathroom and your girlfriend, after much struggling, puts you in a cab alone. Bravo!

Why This is Worth Avoiding: They just don’t fit together, Valentine’s Day and drunkenness. Rather than saving this kind of behaviour for an obvious choice like St. Patrick’s Day, why not bust it out when it’s both unique and strangely fitting—the Summer Solstice, for example. That way, when someone asks you why the hell you’re celebrating so hard, you can drool out a sentence like “the pagans took my god damn sun” and everyone’ll be happier.

#4: Celebrate the ‘Holiday’ Only out of a Sense of Romantic Obligation

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What This Involves: You ironically mentioning that it’s close to Valentine’s Day, an ambiguous response from your girlfriend, followed by a half-panicked attempt to do something, anything to cover your ass. You buy some chocolates at a drug store and some flowers at a cheap supermarket, two actions driven entirely by resentment and barely concealed contempt. Confused about how to present these sub-par gifts, you strive for a sense of uncaring lightness combined with an undercurrent of legitimate romance nestled somewhere in there, if you could only find it. Despite your best (worst) efforts, you come off looking insecure and insincere. Congratulations! What is left of your relationship ends days later.

Why This is Worth Avoiding: Although the embarassing inadequacy of being romantic only when called upon by greeting-card makers and cheap chocolate factories should be obvious to everyone, it’s always helpful to re-state it. If this is the only time you can be a man, well, it’s been nice knowing you, friend. Your report card on those 364 other days of the year in which you did nothing will be arriving shortly, in the form of an SMS from your girlfriend saying, simply, “f**k this i’m out“.

#3: Eat at a Hellishly-Decorated Restaurant and Will Yourself into Feeling Sexy

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What This Involves: There’s a scene in the Sex and the City Movie (yeah.) where two of the characters have a Valentine’s Day dinner in what has to be the worst-decorated, most oppressive restaurant environment of all time. If we could find a picture, it’d be here, but a description will suffice: picture sickening streamers of every colour suspended from the ceiling and an already-cold interior made even worse by the ugly shininess of everything. What does this have to do with you? Well, that’s easy: you got lazy, and through your last-minute reservations ended up at a restaurant that is willing to decorate itself like the aforementioned monstrosity.

Why This is Worth Avoiding: There are plenty of good restaurants that are already romantic, and if you’ve taken the leap and decided that yes, indeed, a romantic dinner for two is going to be your Valentine’s Day celebration, the least you can do is seek out one of these places and take advantage of its natural charm. Any restaurant that puts up a bunch of red stuff all over the walls and hangs silver things from the ceiling in a vain attempt to convey sexiness is going to leave you—and more importantly, your girlfriend—feeling anything but.

#2: Acknowledge the Holiday in Any Way, Shape, or Form if You Are Single

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What This Involves: Three basic activities here. If you find yourself doing any of these, please stop, take a deep breath, and move on. It’s not worth it. In order of depressing obnoxiousness:

  1. Using the holiday to embark on a long meditation about your own singlehood, observing every other couple around you and immediately inscribing romantic bliss onto their relationships, and barren, desolate loneliness onto your future.
  2. Taking way too much time to explain to others—especially those in relationships—why Valentine’s Day is overly commercial and a waste of time (hmmm, kinda like this article).
  3. Perversely celebrating Valentine’s Day on your own by regaling yourself with chocolates or other indulgences you’d otherwise avoid.

Why These are Worth Avoiding: Because there are 400 other, better things you could be out doing as a single guy (or girl) on Valentine’s Day. Wait until you’re actually down or depressed to agonize over your relationship or lack thereof; don’t do it just because society is apparently ‘shoving it in your face’ for one day a year. It’s not society’s fault. Watch an enticing video and feel better.

#1: Over-Celebrate the Damn Thing.

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What This Involves: Full-on immersion in every bad cliche this propped-up ‘holiday’ has to offer. Chocolates, roses, chocolates made out of old roses, puppies, overly expensive dinners no one really enjoys, vomit-inducing greeting cards: it’s all out there, if you’re willing to embrace it.

Why This is Worth Avoiding: Have you seen some of the stuff young, creative people do these days, just for fun? It blows any tired old red-coloured, love-themed holiday celebration out of the water. So here’s what you do instead: choose 5 random days of the year. Mark them on your calendar with some sort of symbol known only to you, and setup a little reminder system so you know when they’re coming (Google Calendar is great for this). On each of those days, do something romantic yet creative (the two are the exact opposite of mutually exclusive), get your girlfriend something sexy, take her out for an amazing dinner, whatever. Any or all of these are equivalent to a large missile being launched at the empty spectacle that is Valentine’s Day, and any or all of these will make you a better man.

So: this February 14th, re-read this article and choose wisely. We’re behind you all the way.

Top 5 Last Minute Classic-Guy Ways to Save Christmas For Your Woman.


I’m loath to lump you all into a big pot and suggest none of you have finished your shopping–the most important shopping, the shopping you need to finish in order to do right by your woman this Christmas. And I’m also plenty reluctant to suggest that even the most well-chosen gift can help out your relationship if you haven’t been keeping up your end throughout the year. But you have been keeping up your part, right?

Sure you have. The fact that you don’t have anything good save a cheap scarf and a pair of re-gifted earrings doesn’t mean you aren’t still planning on using these last two days before the holiday to get that undoubtedly perfect, personalized, incredible gift your girl deserves. You’re just doing it late, is all, and there’s nothing wrong with showing a little grace under pressure.

And so, because you’re in control of the situation, thank you very much, this list isn’t necessary. Nevertheless, why don’t we go ahead and throw out a few sure-fire options that could seriously save your ass on Christmas morning, would your proverbial ass somehow be in a position to require said saving. Just for reference’s sake.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lincolnian/5) A Spa Visit.

If this is cliche, then all gifts are cliche. Go all out and get her a deluxe spa treatment that lasts half the day, or get a 2/3 hour treatment for your girl and a friend. Then she’ll have someone to go with, to indulge with, to relax with, and since the idea of heading off to a spa alone just doesn’t seem as fun as doing it with a friend, you’ll seem more thoughtful as a man. And that’s because you are more thoughtful, because you thought of things.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/franciscoantunes/4) Promise a Specific Vacation.

This one is easy. Figure out what you can afford, do some basic research (look at a few Rough Guides in a bookstore for an hour or two), and most importantly, pick a spot.  And choose something good. Go spend a week in Brazil or Argentina. Rent a cabin in rural Quebec for a weekend. Find a cheap flight to London and then hop over to Portugal for a week.

All these things will need to be sorted out with you and your significant other later, but the whole point is that you choose something, you get a kick-ass card, and you write something like “You and me. Week in the south of Spain. Great tapas, even better wine, and flamenco until the early morning. This April. All I need from you is a yes.”

It’s a more romantic way to do a vacation than just plain old ‘planning’ one together, and adds a certain special something to the trip. Plus it allows your girl to say “so-and-so’s flying me off to Spain,” like it’s something you, international playboy that you are, would do at the drop of a hat, instead of the more routine “we have planned and are going on a joint trip to Spain at some to-be-determined point in the future.” Nah.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonmelsa/3) Food.

Here’s an easy rule that has served me well: Good food is always good. There are tons of luxury Italian delis and French cheese shops and Parisian Chocolateries in every major city in the world. Go in there with an open mind and the confidence to ask lots of questions.

Start asking about good olive oils or balsamic vinegars or strong, aged cheeses, or amazing truffles. And try some samples–good shops will have them available on demand without a problem.

Put together your own series of 5 or 6 items, but make sure you get the backstory. Then, when you present the gift, you can explain where this or that product is from, why it’s kick-ass, and why she’ll love it. Sure, you’re just repeating what the dude at the shop told you, but use a little charm.

Don’t say “the crazy Italian guy at the deli said this was good” when you can say “this balsamic vinegar was made in Modena, its only true Italian home, and then aged for 4 long years, which gives it a completely different taste and texture that’s like nothing else, which is why your salad tonight will probably be the best you’ve ever had.” See?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/giovannijl-s_photohut/2) A Very Specific Card Promise.

Just like the vacation, but for something a little smaller-scale. Get a really beautiful card and write a few drafts of a solid message. Promise your girlfriend a dinner, made by you, 4 days from now. Explain exactly what you’re going to make.

While you’re out rushing around for other gifts on the 24th, take a look at the menu of any good nearby restaurant (you gotta be downtown for this, not wandering around a mall, but you know that already, right?).

Find a few of those descriptions on the menu that make the food sound amazing, and lift them. Do up your own version. A salad, a first course, a second course, and a dessert, and make the card up just like a menu. You’re the serious-but-playful chef for the night, and she’s overjoyed.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/newpiano/1) Stay at Home and Get Creative.

Take 5 hours (yeah, it’ll probably take that long) and write a story for your girlfriend. Write a fake news article a la Onion about how why your girl is ridiculously gorgeous (an ‘Area Girl Melts Several Eyes’ sort of thing).

Spend a few hours putting together a whole bunch of your best photos and find a printer shop on the 24th that’ll do a poster for you. Creativity is key. Put the work in on something cool, not on walking from store to store, wasting your mental energy trying to decide between one arbitrary product and another that you know nothing about, something you’re relying entirely on a salesperson to pitch for you. It’s not worth it.

Do something strange but good: stay at home on what would normally be a big shopping day and try something wholly original. It beats a half-baked purchase any time.

Have any other killer, no-fail, incredible last minute gifts you’ve got in the past or are giving this year, amazing ones you know are going to make your girl’s Christmas? Tell us in the comments!