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
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
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
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
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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.