That curious day is almost upon us – the square in the calendar when florists and card sellers collect their annual bonus. Those twenty four, rose-scented hours, when we’re expected to become the unashamed embodiment of romance and masculinity.
Yes, like or hate it, Valentine’s Day is coming to a wallet near you.
Whether yours will be date #1 or 100, here are a few Valentine’s Day dos and don’ts to get you through the ordeal.
This one’s more for the long-term relationships and those who, to quote Beyoncé, “put a ring on it.” Our fathers could be excused for forgetting (although my Dad rarely was), but we can’t. We’re surrounded by tools to help us remember stuff like this. Use your office Outlook calendar. Set alarms on your phone. Do whatever it takes. Get a tattoo for God’s sake! Believe me; the wrath you’ll experience will be worse than any tattooist’s needle.
Do be honest
The version that you present of yourself on Valentine’s Day will hinge on how long you’ve known your date. Like your CV, Date #1 tends to involve a bit of embellishment. We show up waving our deluxe model. Long-term partners, on the other hand, get the stripped-down version. You could liken it to an Audi and Skoda. Essentially the same model but one has better extras and styling. But don’t overdo it. She could turn out to be the one, and if you’ve talked about your investment property in New York, she’ll probably want to see it at some point.
Don’t talk about your ex
This one’s pretty straightforward. You’re there to invest a little quality-time in the one you love, or want to know (in the biblical sense). This isn’t a therapy session. If your brain is generating stuff like “Your hand reminds me of Anne’s,” or “You’ve ordered honey lamb! That was Anne’s favourite,” you probably aren’t quite ready to be dating.
Do leave the phone alone
That seemingly indispensable device, connecting us to people and events miles away, inherently removes us from those in our real-life sphere. Wow, that sounds heavy! Basically, leave the social media alone for the evening and you’re less likely to be distracted from good stuff, like face-to-face conversation. But bring it anyway, just in case you need to live-tweet your date from hell.
Don’t order food cooked with garlic
My mother has the skin, fitness and overall health of a woman half her age. She puts a lot of that down to her daily intake of garlic. And although we can’t dismiss the proven health benefits of that little onion-esque root veg, there’s one thing garlic isn’t good for: pleasant smelling breath. Want your intimate conversation to develop into something else? Leave the garlic bread for another day.
Do pay attention to the details of your appearance
Give your shoes a polish. Get your grooming right: your facial hair, those fingernails. Select the right outfit. Regardless of what date you’re on, getting these finer details on point will always work in your favour. First-timers, trained to spot the cracks in your facade, will believe in your authenticity – and buy into Brand You. Long-termers will simply be blown away by the effort.
Don’t make it about you
This covers everything for your Valentine’s Day date; from the conversation, to the itinerary. Maybe leave that new action movie for another time. The best way to show them you care is to sacrifice your preferences in exchange for theirs.
All of the above Valentine’s Day dos and don’ts could be paraphrased: First impressions last. Make sure yours are good. Put your date first. Be relaxed, attentive and enjoy yourself. And from one man to another; good luck my friend!