If you're not doing these things everyday, Valentine's Day is POINTLESS.
It's mostly the guy's job to do the planning and spending. (Note: Hetero-centric is my personal perspective. No offense/exclusion intended.) And if he plans well enough, and racks up the credit card debt, he's rewarded with fornication.
Perhaps that fornication comes with a bonus, but don't neglect the usual courtesies or you can forget about that ever happening again, even if it's Valentine's Day in Venice with an asteroid hurtling toward earth spelling doom for all.
Let's break this stupid day down:
Babysitter: Booked on February 15th of the previous year, 90 percent paid up-front. Cost? The regular rate times infinity. It's worthwhile having a deposit with a second babysitter to be on standby, because damn teenagers.
Flowers: If you even think about stopping by the grocery store for such a purchase, you'll have a month of Victorian-era nighties to look forward to. Book with the florist (who makes 97 percent of their annual revenue on Valentine's Day) two months in advance to have them shipped from the Himalayan rose farm via yak express in a hermetically sealed silk-lined container. Special Valentine's Day prices reflect additional shipping costs.
Card: This one you can get at the grocery store, but at least a month in advance or you'll be scratching out the word "grandma" and replacing it with "wife."
Bonus points if you write something saccharin and adoring inside: "You completely complete me with your completeness, and you're way hotter than a post-surgery Renée Zellweger," or "You're hotter than napalm dropped on North Vietnam," or "You're hotter than Paris Hilton seen through night vision while she's suffering from laryngitis."
Restaurant: Reservations should be made no later than the summer solstice, unless you're in the southern hemisphere, in which case, who cares what you do? Silly upside-down people. Bribe to the maître d' must be paid in cash and amount to no less than one car payment to ensure you're not seated next to the bathroom.
For a private corner, a window or a fireplace location, it's more like a mortgage payment. Don't forget to grovel to your creditors to ensure that the restaurant bill goes through on your Amex. Go to a place with small portions and share dessert, because if she pigs out she'll feel bloated and un-sexy.
Gift: Since you've already tapped out the first year of your kids' college fund, just go for the conflict diamonds from a morally bankrupt jeweler.
If all goes perfect then congratulations, you just bought yourself lip service with a Hugh Grant-sized price tag on it.
Beyond all the expensive bullsh*t, or that it's a made-up Hallmark holiday, or even the fact that it's based on some pervy ancient Roman goat sacrificing ritual that allegedly protected them against being eaten by wolves (or something), or that it also sucks for single people and it really sucked back in elementary school, the thing I hate most about Valentine's Day is the expectation that today is the day you shall be romantic, and woe to he who isn't.
Fail this day and you shall never be deemed a good boyfriend, lover or husband. Toil mightily in the quest for February fornication, or be shunned and forced to self-gratify in solitary bitterness forevermore. So, no pressure.
Crazy idea: Try being romantic year-round and screw this stupid day. The biggest things that couples fight about is money, sex, work, children and chores. Here are some "screw Valentine's Day" relationship tips for both genders:
1. Spend money on things that actually matter.
Fiscal responsibility is sexy, because it helps alleviate stress. Being broke is stressful and therefore kills libido. Work together as a team to budget effectively. Learn to gain happiness through your relationship instead of buying more and more useless crap. Who cares if your stupid iPhone doesn't talk when you have a real person to talk to while you're both naked?
2. Remember that experiences are more fulfilling than things.
Think about how you rather would have played a game with your family, rubbed your significant other's feet, or taken an extra day off here and there to hang out instead of spent more time slaving away over a spreadsheet in a cube farm.
3. Be on the same page when it comes to raising your kids.
And I'm not just talking about the conception part. You need to be on the same page in terms of how they're raised. Never try to win your child to your side against the other parent. The best style of parenting is us versus them. Give your kids a chance to divide and conquer, and they will conquer the sh*t out of you both. Bonus advice: women think dads playing with their children are sexy.
4. Don't use chores as a comparison.
You worked all day, but they probably did, too. Think of it as the path of least resistance. Scrubbing some things and dragging a vacuum around and throwing in a load of laundry or unloading the dishwasher is easier than constantly arguing or stressing out about what a pit you live in.
Comparing who did what is wasted effort that harms relationships. What's more, it helps if you consider the calories burned from the added workout of not living in a dumpster with a TV and a roof.
5. Show your partner you love them in ways other than sex.
More important is to consider your partner in a sexual light with regularity, and not just for five minutes at a time when you're horny. Show affection, write love notes/send love texts, rub her neck with no expectations, never pass up an opportunity for a quick touch or even a grope, shower together and cuddle often, don't pout if she's not in the mood, and don't make it seem like you just want sex. Let her know that what you really want is her; that your desire is born out of a love to be with her.
Boycott Valentine's Day by spreading it out with the cumulative effect of 365 days of smaller acts of love and romance, blowing February the stupid 14th out of the stupid water.
And what will I be doing this Valentine's Day for my wife? Some pretty romantic stuff, actually, including writing a love letter, giving her flowers, sending the kids off somewhere, and making her a nice dinner for just the two of us.
This is because we'll be celebrating the 21st anniversary of me offering her a sparkly little rock and asking her to put up with me until I'm on the wrong side of the dirt. The fact that it happens to be February 14th is purely coincidental.
This article was originally published at bodyforwife.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.