Dos and don’ts for winning at Valentine’s Day

February 6, 2018



It might just be another Wednesday to you, but your lady might have other ideas on February 14th.  Here’s one for the men in your life to read…


Don’t – forget

Let’s warm up with an easy one. Pick up your phone, go to the calendar, select February 14th and set an alarm. Even better, set one on the 7th to remind you to book something, buy something or ideally both.


Do – figure out her expectations

Spoiler alert: all women want to be ‘the cool one’. We’ll breezily say that these dates don’t matter, label others psychos when they make demands, and generally pretend that we’re down with nothing happening on this, the most allegedly romantic of days. This is a lie. And a trap.


Don’t – buy cheap flowers

They might all look the same to you, but women can literally sniff out a sad bunch of AED18 flowers at 50 paces. Check out new business for seriously stylish bouquets that can be ordered via Instagram, and don’t feel pressured into buying overpriced red roses – they might not be her thing anyway, so find out her favourites in advance. Peonies are a safe bet if you’re stuck.


Do – send them to her office

You know how we’re not ACTUALLY cool about getting nothing on Valentine’s Day? Bear that in mind when you plan to give your lady flowers in the evening – and she has spent all day watching her colleagues getting elaborate floral arrangements delivered to their office, then lovingly gazing at them all day, while her desk is conspicuously empty…


Do – act early

Breakfast in bed just isn’t feasible on a working day – and is pretty impractical at the best of times – but set the tone by bringing her coffee, opening cards before you head to work or sticking a love note to the bathroom mirror. And let her know if there are plans for later. We’re not that cool about surprises either, especially if you’ve been joking about not doing anything for ‘a fake day’ or have given her reason for doubt in the past.


Don’t – just sign your name

Another spoiler alert: women are sentimental, and most have a stash of all the Valentine’s cards we’ve ever received somewhere. We want to look back on them with fondness, and writing her name then your name underneath does not cut the mustard, unfortunately. We’re not asking for poetry (though a quote borrowed from someone wouldn’t hurt), but a couple of lines about her, your relationship or the future goes a long way. And if you can’t find a Valentine’s card that doesn’t make your stomach turn, buy a blank one and write your own message. Just choose one with an appropriate image on the front (yes, I’m referring to the now infamous elephant card I received last year).


Do – stay away from romcoms

You might think you’ll win points by offering to watch a romantic movie. Don’t do it. All you’ll end up doing is comparing your relationship (which is understandably lacklustre because it’s not fictional and you’re not Ryan Gosling) to the one on the big screen. Step away from The Notebook.


Don’t – go out for a Valentine’s menu

Heart-shaped desserts and restaurants full of couples trying to out-romance each other, while spending over the odds for the privilege? No thanks. If you’d like to do dinner, cook at home (wear something nice) or go to a firm favourite. Save the ‘special’ destination dining for birthdays.


Don’t – pick up your phone

Please, put your phone out of sight, on silent (even better – off) and ignore work. She’ll really appreciate it. And, of course, ask she does the same. Social media is a cruel mistress and we all rationally know this. But a filtered, posed photo with a saccharine caption might just be enough to make your date think that everyone is having a better time than her.



Do – get creative with your date spot

It doesn’t have to be traditionally romantic. Make some memories with a movie under the stars (try Vox at the Galleria Mall in Jumeirah or invest in a projector), go bowling, try crazy golf at Wafi, have a row at Hint Hunt…


Don’t – propose

Just. Don’t.


Don’t – let Valentine’s Day define your relationship

Things go wrong, you misread signals, bookings go awry, you buy a card with an elephant on it. You’ll get over it. She’ll get over it. If you’re in a happy relationship you’ll laugh, because at the end of the day, it’s just another day. And I almost mean that.


This article first appeared in the February issue of Men’s Health Middle East.

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