by 'one guy'
It's that time of the year again. Sat there on the couch, watching Arsenal lose, all of a sudden your buttocks clenches and you break out in a cold sweat. The thoughts you have carefully been ignoring flood your consciousness and you cannot stem the rising panic.
It’s the same every year. You try to ignore it, try to move on but it's impossible to escape the constant refrain playing in your mind: 'What am I going to get her for bloody Valentine's?!'
Like Christmas, like Mother's day, like her birthday (oh my god when is that?!), every year you have to rise to the occasion and pluck from thin air some quirky, imaginative present that is both original and personal and that alone lets her know you truly care. Never mind that every other bloke is just as busy doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. Never mind that pretty much everything has already been done. No you have to come up with something ‘unique’. You and all the countless other brow- beaten but ‘really happy I have found the love of my life’ gastons out there.
So what to do? No point sweating on the couch all day, Time to make a plan. What are the options?
There’s the traditional romantic route – this is tried and tested, an oldie but a goodie - nice dinner, flowers, a box of chocolate. It's safe and it's effective. The problem is, you did that last year.
Let's face it, the traditional romantic Valentine's is not something you can pull out every year. It's your go-to move in a clinch. Sure you can pull it the first year but after awhile it will soon get boring. Not to mention that she’ll soon figure out you are only going ‘all trad rom’ because you can’t think of something fresh and new. “You don’t even really love me. If you did, blah blah…” Nope, this is one that should be pulled out every 5 years or so just to show you really are a romantic gent.
So maybe you can go Neo-Trad Romantic. That’s traditional romantic- new-stylee. It's still dinner, flowers and chocolates but with a modern spin. Think, experimental gastronomy (no roses) but here is a bush, swap milk chocolate for 100% dark cocoa. Basically it’s the traditional romantic on steroids.
Many go this route, take an old idea and put their own spin on it. It's all good as long as it works, but does it work? She might smile but is she thinking you are a failed traditional romantic? This is definitely an option but proceed at your own peril.
Maybe go all out Avant garde. Why not try a whole new route, a whole new idea? This is the holy grail of Valentine's ideas. It's what you aspire to but seldom achieve. It is fraught with danger, too risky, too expensive, too 'out there'. Sometimes the risk outweighs the rewards.
But imagine if it works. Imagine her talking to her friends, telling them about this crazy thing you did for Valentine's day that no one else had thought of before. Future adherents will follow you, they will climb the route that you mapped out. You will no longer just be aspirant boyfriend, hubby, or lover. No you, my friend, are now a ‘pioneer’.
Take her on a getaway, indulge her with your attention. Tell her, “I am your slave for the day, darling. Command me as you wish”. (This gem came to me when I rucked up empty-handed one Mother’s day). Get a dance troupe to surprise her at work, whisk her off to Paris on your PJ (amen). Incidentally, this is more trad rom than avant garde but who cares I said ‘PJ’! (that’s private jet for you, uninitiated).
Finally, there’s the Nihilist route – you don’t believe in anything. Not Mother's Day, not Christmas, not birthdays, certainly not the over-commercialised expression on a pre defined day of the private sentiment that some equate to and describe as ‘love’ that is Valentine's Day.
It’s a strong route to take… my advice? Good luck with that! No doubt you have soft tissues by your bedside table, the better to wipe your red and swollen lonely eyes… such lonely eyes…
Whatever route you choose, remember the bottom line is the smile on ‘her’ face. That’s what it's all about. That, and of course the bragging rights. Let this be your compass, ask yourself, would she tell everyone about this? If the answer is a resounding yes!, then you are on to a winner unless the yes is preceded by incredulous outrage in which case get the hell out of there and purge the thought from your mind.
All in all, it's never that bad, just remember there is always next year – that’s right – THERE IS ALWAYS NEXT YEAR .
So go with your gut and pick what your heart says is right. Just don’t come complaining to me if she looks less than pleased when you hand her those match day tickets.
Happy Valentine's day.
Suddenly the music gets louder and all the waiters stop what they are doing and begin clapping...