09 February, 2011

How to [actually] enjoy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is upon us. And I just happen to blog about sex and relationships. Faaantastic. I suppose I’m required to either present a list of romancing tips destined to cause unrealistic expectations, or something akin to the single-girl-rants-about-the-commercialism-of-greeting-card-holidays post.
We all know these have both been done time and time before, and I assure you, Coming Up Rose readers, that you will NOT have to endure either of these now.
What I present to you are some tips and secrets on how to – actually – enjoy this infamous holiday whether you’re single or attached.
For all those of you that are attached, this next part is for you.
First of all, let’s talk about expectations. Lower them.  Ladies, do not expect to be presented with something that is small, expensive and sparkly. Full stop. Put it right out of your mind. Is it out yet? Okay good. Chances are, he hasn’t actually been lying about playing pool with his buddies and instead been secretly shopping around for jewelry with your BFF who is faithfully keeping his secret. If you just realize this simple fact, your expectations will not be crushed when NOT presented with that little velveteen box, you then WON’T passive-aggressively think that he did something wrong (which he didn’t), and you can actually have a good day. Besides, aren’t gifts – big or small – better received when they are not expected? I think so. Same thing goes for the sex. Why on Earth people think that the sex on V-day is going to all of a sudden be so much better than it is on every other day is completely beyond me.  Gentlemen, your lovely lady is not all of a sudden going to lose her gag reflex, or gain the flexibility of a Russian gymnast. Fact.
Secondly, let’s address the pressure (self-imposed or otherwise) that we’re all under. Take it Easy! Men, we actually realize that you are no more stallion-esque than you were last Tuesday, and in turn we hope that you understand that the lacy teddy we bought for the occasion does not effectively hide the dimples on the back of our thighs. Just make a promise to yourself that you realize that February 14th, despite of what Hallmark says, really IS JUST ANOTHER DAY.
Thirdly, communication. Step it up a notch people! If you really do want flowers and chocolates, ladies, JUST ASK FOR THEM. I’m assuming that your man cares about you, and I’m assuming that in the age where the fine line between chivalry and women's rights is an often dangerous one to tread, he probably doesn’t KNOW what you want. So just ask.
Next, let’s talk about the dinner at a nice restaurant. Just say no. Having myself and many of my friends been in the service industry for years, I can let you on some dirty little secrets. Restaurants considered suitable for a romantic dinner for two quite often employ the same tactics on Valentine’s Day.
  •      If possible, they change the seating plan in order to maximize the amounts of couples they can cram in, including having tables near the front door or the bathrooms that you should feel “lucky” to sit at.
    •      Next, they often have multiple seatings of couples which results in either waiting for a table to clear up or being hurried out after your meal so they can set the table again. In other words, your culinary experience is on THEIR time, not yours.
    •      And the service generally sucks. Your server does not want to serve you. If he/she is attached, they would rather be with their sweetheart. If single, they would rather vomit in the food of every cozy couple they see. They just want your money, and then they want you gone.
    •      Usually, there is a set menu with three courses, and ordering off the a la carte menu is either discouraged or outright forbidden. This set menu is designed specifically to be easily reproducible, minimize food cost, fast to make, serve and eat, and is most often a smaller portion for a higher price than most of their regular offerings.  In other words, you’re getting ripped off.
    So just stay at home and make dinner. It’s more fun, interactive, and team building. (And you don’t have to tip.) Buy a bottle or six-pack of what you already know and love, make something that is easy to digest (or keep some pepto-bismol and gas-x on hand), relax, and you won’t even make it to dessert.
    Now, for all you singletons out there, you’re in luck! Valentine’s Day this year falls on a Monday. So unless your typical Monday evening routine involves dining at a fancy restaurant or expecting a diamond solitaire, you can pretty much do whatever it is you normally do, and successfully avoid the V-day bombardment.
    However, if you’re looking for something apart from your routine, try getting together with some other single friends and throw an anti-Valentine’s Day party. Or, try dropping-in to a gym or a yoga class. I can almost guarantee that you will not see a couple on adjacent treadmills holding hands or smooching during downward dog. It’s also a great opportunity to check out that obscure indie movie that no one else wants to see with you at the local “artsy” theatre. 
    Whatever it is you decide to do this day of love, though, be sure you tell the people you care about how you feel. This is important everyday of the year, yes, but let this day serve as an easy excuse.
    If you’re still looking for ideas, make sure to check out the Coming Up Around Calgary tab for ideas on things to do (for couples AND singles) around Valentine’s Day…



    1. Good advice! I will totally just ask Ben for chocolate this year!

    2. Solid! And I think ours worked out alright!