Not unlike Clay’s sexuality, Valentine’s Day is extremely polarizing, meaning all of y’all have differing opinions on it. Some of you love it, some of you hate it, some of you think Clay is a gay Muslim. (Will there ever be a time when that line isn't absolutely perfect to weave into any story? God, I hope not.) No matter what your feelings may be, Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and we need to talk about it
Done correctly, Valentine’s Day can enhance the deep emotional, mental and physical bond between a man and a woman. Done incorrectly, it can ruin your life. What I’ve learned over the years is that most men just don’t get it*. Things that I previously thought of as complete common sense are actually things that I absolutely need to spell out for y’all. So, regardless of where you are in your romantic endeavors or what stage you’re at in your love life, I have a few essential tips to help any man, single or taken, survive February 14th.
(*It = GENERALLY ANYTHING/EVERYTHING)
1. Give her flowers.
If you do nothing else this Valentine’s Day, I repeat: Give. Her. Flowers. I cannot stress this one enough. Every girl wants flowers on Valentine’s Day, period. And if they’re delivered to her? As in, she gets to sign the dotted line on the delivery man’s clipboard while all of her less fortunate female co-workers stop mid-bite of their sad, frozen Lean Cuisines, hunched over at their desks staring at her in a jealous daze? EVEN BETTER. Bonus points for you for sure.
It’s so simple: every girl enjoys getting flowers addressed to her, because every girl enjoys feeling special. And sometimes we’ll take these flowers from wherever we can get them: our best girlfriends, our ex-boyfriends, even our parents (no one has to know that your mom sent you flowers to make sure you wouldn’t slit your wrists in the bathtub while blasting Melissa Etheridge songs). We girls don’t mind getting savvy when it comes to the sender, as long as we are the recipient.
Guys, it takes five minutes to order online or duck into the nearest grocery to grab some, so you really have no excuse. I’m not even demanding that you give her an actual present. Believe it or not, I’m of the mindset that Valentine’s Day isn’t about lavishing expensive gifts onto us. Just give me a bouquet of my favorite flowers and maybe a simple, handwritten note attached. If you make your words meaningful and romance me a little, that’s all I really need. Ladies reading this, if you disagree with that statement let me know. But I’d venture to say most women would be satisfied with just that if it comes from the heart. (DISCLAIMER: This lenient gifting policy does NOT apply to any other holiday: birthdays, Christmas, MLK Day—presents all around, pal.)
“But, but, she said she doesn’t want flowers…?” some pitiful chump out there reading this just said aloud to himself. And to that chump I would say: if she says she doesn’t care at all about getting flowers, know that this is a huge lie. And know that you are a huge idiot.
I have a friend who didn’t get flowers from her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day one year, when both of her two roommates did. Her house was filled with flowers that day, but none were for her. To say she was devastated would be a severe understatement. So, she did what any logical girl would do and immediately rushed out in a violent huff to buy herself a beautiful bouquet to put on display in her room. They’re married now, my friend and the man who likes to teeter on the edge of death. So he somehow redeemed himself, but you better believe it was a dark few days (weeks? months?) in that household.
2. Do not buy her a gift that is really for you.
In other words, do not buy her some painful, confusing, crotch-less contraption that you call “lingerie.” Because let’s be honest, this present is solely for you.
This might offend some guys out there, but I maintain that Valentine’s Day is 100% a girl’s holiday. If you have breasts, you shall be celebrated. But it’s hard to celebrate when you have a piece of leather dental floss uncomfortably lodged where your regular underwear is supposed to be. However, I need to stress the following: women DO like lingerie! Just not anything that involves pasties, sequins, fishnets, edible pieces or anything that requires instructions to put on. If it resembles Snooki’s favorite Halloween costume, put it back on the rack and walk away.
On Valentine’s Day we want to feel like this:
3. Leading up to Valentine’s Day, refrain from discussing Valentine’s Day around any females.
It’s just too risky, guys. You have no way of gauging how traumatic this holiday might be for her, so just play it safe.
The other day a guy at my office came up to ask me if I could babysit his kids next Thursday while he takes his wife out on a Valentine’s dinner date. I was immediately outraged that he simply assumed I would have no plans on the most romantic day of the year. But the anger soon subsided and was quickly replaced by pity for him and his naïve approach to women. Take note, guys: NEVER assume a girl doesn’t have Valentine’s Day plans, even if she’s extremely single. Don’t even insinuate it. Because it’s a lose-lose situation every time.
Think about it: If she DOES happen to have plans, you’re telling her loud and clear you don’t think she’s desirable enough for a man to take her out and romance her. If she DOESN’T have plans, you are just callously rubbing salt in her open wounds. And more importantly, if you ask her to spend her evening in sweat pants feeding your children frozen chicken fingers from Costco and wiping snot from their noses while you frolic on down to a fancy steakhouse and sip Chianti straight from Tuscany to celebrate your already-established love life, you are asking for her to kill you in your sleep. Like I said: you lose every time. So just err on the safe side and refrain from referencing Valentine’s Day in any capacity around any female until we are all safely into the month of March. Or maybe April.
4. If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, keep it that way.
If you’re single, do not frantically try to pick up any girls on February 14th or the few days leading up to it. Just don’t do it. Don’t hit on them at the gym, don’t “accidentally” bump into them in line at Subway on your lunch break, and don’t ask the single girl in your office whom you’ve always thought was mildly attractive when you squint really hard and cock your head to the left a little out on a date that night. No girl wants to be someone’s desperate attempt at salvaging Valentine’s Day. And we sure as hell don’t want to be pitied.
Moreover, it’s almost a given that any first date occurring on Valentine’s Day is going to be awkward, just out of sheer pressure to make it romantic. Why would you want to have an uncomfortable, forced dinner with someone you barely know, when you could be with your best friends bashing all the other happy couples you know? So guys, if we’re single, leave us alone with our other single girlfriends while we savagely pick apart every loving relationship our stable, domesticated friends are in. It’s okay, it’s how we want things. It works for us.
5. Lastly, do not propose on Valentine’s Day.
If you’re reading this right now with a ring burning a hole in your pocket, just let it burn, buddy. Because that ring ain’t comin’ outta there until at least February 15th. Trust me, you will be saving your girlfriend and EVERY OTHER HUMAN ON EARTH a huge eye roll and a huge headache from rigorously shaking our collective head at you. Also, you will be temporarily tricking everyone into thinking you’re actually not a boring, predictable, cliched cheeseball. Everyone wins!
Okay, there you have it, guys. I’ve done all I can do here. It’s every man for himself out there on Thursday. Godspeed.