A word to the wise: Make Valentine’s Day memorable, because chances are, it will be remembered. Whether it’s your first Valentine’s together or your sixth, casually dating or totally single, here’s some advice on how to handle the day of love.
My attitude towards Valentine’s Day constantly changes
Last year, my fiancé and I decided to ignore it, as we rebelled against the consumerist day and strategically saved money ahead of our wedding. The year before that, however, we fully embraced it and went on a romantic cinema date. This year, I’m totally into it, planning a special surprise for George (see number 2 below, and George, stop reading.) Every year since we got together, George has couriered a gigantic bouquet of flowers about the size of a small child to my office.
You Don’t Forget Your First
Back in my University years, I once threw an Anti-Valentine’s Day party, which only my single male friends showed up to. Awkward. No really, it was super awkward. But I will always remember my “first” Valentine’s Day. (Here we go, my friends call these Lara Stories.)
I was 13 years old and opened up my school locker that morning to find some roses, a box of chocolates and a card from “Hot Boy”, a secret admirer who had been e-mailing me for several weeks. When he continued to refuse to reveal his identity, he said it was best we cut our communications, and deleted his email address.
Years passed and still nobody admitted to being Hot Boy. Then one day when recounting the story, I suddenly had this horrible realisation that maybe it wasn’t a boy at all. It could have been one of my teachers, one in particular, who used to watch me strangely when I practiced ballet in his classroom. He had heard me tell my friends my new e-mail address, and it also explained how he could have gotten into my locker…
Oh yes, we all have Valentine’s Day stories. Some romantic ones, others more cringe-worthy. So tell me, dear reader, how are you going to spend Valentine’s Day this year?
Specific Advice for General Situations
1. The First Valentine’s Together
This is probably the most important Valentine’s Day. If you get this one right, it could work for you for years to come. Talking to the lads here now. This is the one where you make a huge effort, win the girl, and reap the rewards for life. I’ve made it easy-peasy in three simple steps I like to call, The George.
Step 1. The Gift. This is simple. Buy her jewellery. Go to Swarovski, ask them what special designer collections they have, and buy a pair of matching earrings and a necklace. A few sparkly alternatives are Carat, Monica Vinader and Links of London.
Step 2. The Flowers. Be creative, be different. A dozen roses is so cliché. Ask the florist to create something stunning, a magnificent bouquet with reds, pinks and purples.
Step 3. The Restaurant. Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden is THE place to go. Voted the World’s Most Romantic Restaurant, this is a no-brainer. Make sure you book well in advance (like a year in advance) and ask to be seated in the conservatory. If you can’t get a table (because you didn’t book a year ahead), any other fancy restaurant will do. And dude, pick up the tab (yes all of it).
2. Couples that have already spent Valentine’s Together
If you’ve already completed The First Valentine’s Together in similar fashion as described above, then the pressure is off. Nobody expects you to do that every year. A bouquet of flowers and a nice dinner in or out will do perfectly. Maybe one of you likes to cook. Maybe you have something special you do together every year, like see a movie or go to the same local restaurant? That’s very cute. Or maybe, speaking to the ladies now, you can surprise him this year?
Book a table at the restaurant where you had your first date. If your first date didn’t include dinner, think of the first restaurant you went together, or the first one that was special. Book a table there and why not pick up the tab (this will also help grant you immunity for the upcoming Steak and BJ Day).
3. Not yet a Couple but going for a date on Valentine’s?
Whoa, I hope you know what you’re doing there buddy! All pretense aside, this is getting serious and expectations may be high. This could be that date that turns your relationship from casual to official. But keep it cool.
I suggest a cinema date at Everyman Cinemas Maida Vale or another Everyman, as they have comfortable sofas that seat couples, perfect for a date. You can order pizza and wine to your seat, and continue the date at a speakeasy – such as the Experimental Cocktail Club or Opium, both in Chinatown – before going back to your place. Besides, if you make it official, you’ll need to save money for next year’s First Proper Valentines (see number 1 above!)
4. Totally Single and FML it’s Valentine’s
I hear ya, why even bother? Whatever you do, though, please don’t do it alone. Gather your single friends and either plan a night in with Bridget Jones and wine (girls) or Mission Impossible and whisky (guys) – I’m kidding, obviously – or meet up after work in a pub or somewhere for a few drinks before heading home.