Some guys hate Valentine’s Day. They hate that they have to hang up the jeans and football jersey for a nice pair of slacks and a button down. They hate the whole ordeal of picking their lady up at eight o’clock sharp only to find she still has half an hour before she’s ready to go. They hate buying flowers and having to cart them around all day until they see her. Some guys are embarrassed, disliking the fact that they’re allowed – and yes, encouraged – to show affection in public. Other guys are lazy, and hate the whole rigmarole of booking the right place for dinner, finding the right gift, and adhering to proper etiquette that accompanies this oft complained-about holiday. Basically, a lot of guys just don’t see the need for a holiday where they’re supposed to celebrate loving someone else, and a lot cop out behind the “I don’t need a day to show that I love my girlfriend/boyfriend. I do that every day.” True, but are you really trying to tell me that you pull out all the stops for your significant other, every single day?

I am not one of those guys. Valentine’s Day is, for me, a chance to show my girlfriend that she’s with the right guy, that even though I can be lazy and sloppy and sometimes (cough often) annoying, no amount of personal shortcomings are going to stop me from doing everything that I can to make this day special for her. I want her to have one of those “Wow. I’m definitely with the right person” moments on Valentine’s Day. I want her to feel it from head to toe. I mean, honestly guys, it’s one day out of the year; is it really asking that much for us to be on our best behavior, just this once?

But don’t think that lets girls off the hook. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about guys pulling out all the stops for girls. Its about reciprocated love, about each person showing the other how much they care, and it’s the one day out of the year that you can do it in public. I’m a firm believer in both sides making an effort, in girls going just as far – or at least nearly as far – as the guy to make sure he knows he’s cared for, too. That way, no one loses. No one comes away from the day feeling short-changed, or feeling like they owe someone or are owed something. I’m not saying, girls, that you have to pay for dinner, or even go Dutch; but it is nice when you offer.

Another tip for both guys and girls on Valentine’s Day: be careful not to talk it up too much. Last year, my girlfriend and I were getting ready to spend our first Valentine’s Day together – the year before, she had been studying abroad in Italy. We kept talking about how great it was going to be, us being together for the first time, going out to dinner, being in public and not being self-conscious about showing that we cared about each other. But then, when a few things went wrong and the day wasn’t perfect (the florist cancelled my rose order and didn’t tell me until that evening, dinner was so expensive it was stressful for both of us, etc.), it made it that much worse. What I’m saying is that you can do everything right, but things might still go wrong, and the day might not be “perfect” in a traditional sense of the word. But what you should focus on instead is the fact that you’re together, that you’re able to spend a special day with someone who’s special to you. And that’s what Valentine’s Day is really all about.


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