Guys, just follow these V-Day edicts and thank us later.
I'll be damned, another Valentine's Day is all up on us. It has come to my attention that some dudes are perfectly helpless when it comes to V-Day (psst, it's on February 14th). It's OK, man, the holiday is only vaguely non-made-up by Hallmark and is sort of amateur's night for lovers (like April Fool's Day and bush league wiseasses). Despite all of this, it has become pretty important to women. It can save you a headache or two if you just play ball. Without much further ado, the ten commandments of Valentine's Day: Thou shalt:
1: Look your best. Honestly, what does it take to put on a decent shirt, shave and get a decent haircut? If you've been dating a while, that stuff has a tendency to slip, FIX IT! FYI: Lemondrop suggests some pretty dramatic things she can do to her lady region, so you can get rid of that unibrow.
2: Bring a gift. For dog, dog, dog's sake, bring a gift. Get creative, guy. She'll appreciate the sentiment. Bonus points if it's homemade. Don't go crazy, you may have to top this. Em & Lo have a wide range of suggestions of stuff she can get you, don't be Lamey Lamerson and show up empty-handed. Candy is totally optional.
3: Have a dinner planned. You don't have to go to the Four Seasons and eat caviar (in this economy, that would be crazy). But have plans, either a reservation somewhere you've never been or dinner at the homestead. Bonus points for showing that you do listen to her, as always. A few dinner ideas from iVillage.
4: Pack flower power. They're dead, they're pricey and this time of year really lets florists gouge you. No me importa, women really dig flowers. Here's an explanation. Also, sending them to her workplace is a slick deal because her coworkers will be quite jealous. That's the ticket, buckeroo.
5: Wine 'em up. A little wine goes a long, long way with most gals. There's something more romantic about a nice cabernet than a sixer of Bud tallboys (go figure). And these days ferment grape juice is pretty affordable. Wine Library TV's Gary Vaynerchuk explains the best wines for any couple at AMNY.
6: Pick a card, any card. Hallmark has taken you hostage, no doubt. But you still should bring a card, seriously. You can even make your own at home (I'm partial to preschool-style glitter and macaroni monstrosities). Par for the course, extra points are given for humor (tasteful is appreciated).
7: Keep it in your pants, lover boy. I mean that semi-literally, while there is something in the air in and around February 14th, it's not a carte blanche invitation to expose yourself to someone you've been sweating. One of our panelists on That's What He Said found out about that little wrinkle the hard way.
8: Make it intimate, keep it sexy. Not to contradict the above, but feel free to crank up the romance, dude. Ladies (especially after item 5: Wine) appreciate the sensual. This is not a go-ahead to morph into Leon Phelps (The Ladies Man), but try out some candles or scented oils with your full-time lady. Shine suggests a bath for two. That is intimate if you have a New York City bathtub.
9: Remember it's just one night. For realsies, it's one night; don't make other plans. Full, undivided attention is a commodity more valuable than light, sweet crude oil in the '09er; give it up. And don't be a dadgum baby about the whole thing. Dragging ass or pouting won't make you enjoy it more. If an issue comes up, agree to disagree (I, generally, don't agree to that).
10: Bring the tunes. I've always thought "Sexual Healing" and "Let's Get It On" (the whole Marvin Gaye seduction catalogue, it appears) to be a slightly cheeser. But to each his/ her own (AKA know thy lay). Crank the Seal up to a comfortable listening level and get a little bit crazy. Big bonus points for sentimentality.* Paste sort of endorses the new Ryan Adams album ("Anything For Love" is sadly missing).
Ignore these commandments at your own peril.
*Note: Avoid "Never Gonna Give You Up," she'll think she's been Rick-Rolled.