By Josey Vogels
I’m sorry, I don't care that modern Valentine's Day has turned romance into a marketing strategy, if he doesn't buy me a romantic gift or make some kind of romantic gesture on Valentine's Day, he’s toast. There I said it.
Yes, there's got to be at least a sappy card, a rose or two, maybe a few lines of bad poetry, or I'd have to seriously reconsider..
"It's bogus that one day a year you're supposed to come up with proof of your love. It's so forced," a new mother I ran into recently told me. "Of course, he'd be in big trouble if he didn't get me anything." Yes, just when you're getting over the trauma of picking the right Christmas gift for your honey, along comes an even more brutal test in your relationship - Valentine's Day. Or, more specifically, the Valentine's Day gift - the ultimate symbol of your entire relationship. The pressure is on. Get out your pencils, boys and girls - you might want to take notes.
Let's start with chocolates, a Valentine's tradition. Simple, right? A nice gesture, not too loaded with meaning? Shows you care without going overboard? Ah, but what does it really say? That you don't have an original bone in your body? That you think she's a traditional girl? That she doesn't inspire your imagination? Or, "I like you, I hope you get fat?"
Then there are the variables: White or regular? Dark or milk? Imported of tacky drugstore variety - complete with heart-shaped box and pink frills? Pot o' Gold or Godiva?
How about novelty chocolate? Do you want to keep seeing someone who gives you chocolate genitalia for Valentine's?
Next up - flowers. Unless love has been expressed outright, red roses might blow your cover. Yellow roses will make her think you "just want to be friends." Groan. Carnations, too boring. In fact, anything besides roses is kinda pointless.
Then again, fresh flowers don't last. What are you saying about the relationship? Roses, at least, can be dried. Come to think of it, dried flowers might not be a bad idea.
Lingerie is tempting, I know - the gift that keeps on giving. But you have to be a brave man to go there. Is your relationship established enough to withstand the test? Too trashy and she'll think you've got no clue what's sexy. Too frilly and she'll think you harbour a secret desire to sleep with her little sister. Too ugly and she'll simply think you have no taste. Suggestion: Take her girlfriend with you if you must buy lingerie.
I do, however, encourage women to buy underwear for men on Valentine's Day, but that's my bias showing. Every man we convert from briefs to boxers or those nifty Calvin Klein-style boxer/brief thingies is another victory for womankind. It doesn't matter what it says about you.
How about jewelry? Romantic, personal, significant, perfect. Like lingerie, risky territory. You will be scored on personal taste and perception. Do you know what she likes? Is she a silver or a gold girl? Though, again, like underwear, get it right and you score big.
Buying jewellery for guys is even tougher. Come to think of it, guys have it much easier when it comes to Valentine's Day. Women have been programmed to think sappy. Toss us a chocolate or two (even if it's not our favorite) and we're reasonably touched. What do you get a guy for Valentine's that says he makes you feel all warm and mushy inside? A new watch?
On top of the risk that your loved one will suspect you don't like the way they smell is the risk of imposing what you would like them to smell like - their mother, for example.
Word of caution for men and women: while it may be tempting to give them something maybe an old lover wore that really turned you on, don't. If you want to go this route, and you haven't been specific guidelines on what to purchase, look on the dresser and buy what they already wear. They like it - that's why they wear it.
Depending on your table manners, taking someone to dinner or - even better - making them dinner (depending on your culinary skills, although even wieners and beans hav
On second thought....
A weekend getaway perhaps? Who doesn't like to get away from it all, especially with someone you care about. On the other hand, you could discover you can't stand to be around each other for more than eight hours at a time. To be safe, you might want to stick to an over-nighter not too far from home... with a bus back to town within walking distance.Then again, a week in the Bahamas in the middle of February would capture the heart of just about anyone.
How about a little precious time?
This is a good one - easy on the wallet, no trips to the mall and, since he or she is going out with you, you can safely presume they like to spend at least a little time with you. And, with everyone having so little of it these days, it can be considered a high-ticket item. "Time spent with the one I love, that's the best gift of all," a woman said to me. And it's one that's not out of place any day of the year.
Oh, and it goes without saying. Appliances are never a good idea, unless you want to see if toasters fly.
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