Now, I’d like to start by saying that I don’t really approve of Valentine’s day. There is something mean-spirited about setting only one day aside per annum for romance. Better to spread the love across the year, non? Also, it’s tacky. I mean, so’s Christmas, but at least that doesn’t have a pulsing undercurrent of sexual desperation.
That said, I know that some of you will be obliged to venture into the world of Valentine gifting (that word should never have become a verb), so I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. Nice and early, so that you’ve got plenty of time not to screw it up.
Gentlemen, I’m looking at you.
1. Let’s start with the basics. Flowers. They are nice things. Everybody likes them. Inexplicably, however, only women can discern between those bought in a petrol station and those bought from a proper florist. Guess which kind goes down better? Yup: the ones that require a small amount of foresight on your part. Sorry about that. If by some quirk of fate you are forced to purchase the forecourt variety, pick the carnations out and take them out of the plastic. They will stil look awful.
2. Lingerie. My heart sinks just thinking about it. It IS NOT a compliment to buy your partner size 10 knickers when she’s a size 16. Similarly, a DD bra will not make a B-cup swell with pride. Check the size. Don’t buy anything in a red/black colourway, it’s not nice. Nylon gives us thrush. This is not the moment to introduce us to thongs; trust us, we’ve tried them already and thought better of it. And ladies, can I make a plea against comedy men’s undergarments? Please?
3. Booze. Not Lambrini. In my case, a bottle of Hendrick’s, some ice and a crystal martini glass. I must remember to email this post to Herbert.
4. Restaurants. Hell, no. Any other night of the year except Valentine’s night. There is nothing more dispiriting then sharing a room with a handful of love-lorn waiters and a group of couples who have not ventured out in each other’s company for at least the last twelve months. Stay home (see below).
5. Cooking dinner for your partner is a lovely idea. Keep it simple though, eh? A wily cook will assemble a feast from gorgeous items bought from that chi-chi local deli. An idiot (i.e. Herbert, two years ago) will arrive home with a pair of duck legs in a carrier bag, and then proceed to cook them with a black cloud hanging over his head, shouting whenever his partner enters the kitchen. He was forced to buy me a good dinner the following night by way of apology.
6. It’s cold outside in February. Whatever it is you’re planning, you will die of exposure. Don’t.
7. The card. If you harbour a talent for writing elegant, sincere messages in the damned things, well bully for you. A single question mark is not enigmatic, it’s cheating. You will just have to suck it up and say something sincere. Believe me, I find this every bit as painful as you do.
8. Only attempt breakfast in bed on a weekend. It’s not useful on a Monday morning.
9. If you’re planning on giving a gift that casts aside all that tacky Valentine’s convention and demonstrates your ability to think laterally: consider carefully. No woman is romanced by a Soda Stream (Herbert again). If it has been bought from a garden centre, she probably doesn’t want it. Unless she really, really loves gardening.
10. If your partner complains that you’ve not spent enough on their Valentine’s gift, dump them. Seriously. It will save you trouble in the long run. However, bear in mind that, when you partner shreiks, ‘What the fuck is this?’ on opening her gift, you may have bought the kind of thing mentioned in #9.
11. You shaving off your pubic hair does not count as a Valentine’s gift. Just so you know.
There! I expect outbreaks of marital harmony to flourish across the nation. No, really, don’t thank me.
Win a gorgeous Valentine’s Gift
Just in case you’re really stumped for ideas (or simply fancy a treat), Fair Squared, purveyors of ethical loveliness, have donated two of their fab gift sets in Love (rose) and Sleep (lavender). I have opened the box for a sniff, and they smell wonderful. Each set contains a scented candle, bath soak, soap and body oil, all wrapped up in a stylish box.
For a chance to win one of these, all you have to do is be on our mailing list – click here for the (very short) entry form. Existing list members can just add a comment at the bottom of the page to be entered. I will pick the winner at random, and then contact them via the email address provided, asking for a mailing address. The competition closes on Tuesday 8th February 2011, at 12pm.
Do check out Fair Squared’s website for other lovely treats – such as their Fair Trade condoms.