It's pretty convenient and popular to say "I hate Valentine's Day", or "It's just a stupid Hallmark holiday." But guess what -- it's here to stay, and instead of dreading the day, I'd like to give you a few tips to survive and even learn to like (I'm not a miracle worker, so I won't say LOVE) Valentine's Day.
Where/What do we eat? Most of the restaurants are jam packed. If you haven't made a reservation by now, you're screwed. You want to do something special and most people would recommend making a romantic dinner together, but dirty dishes are not romantic, and someone's going to have to clean them. Order pizza. Doesn't sound romantic? Of course it is - Lou Malnati's has heart shaped pizzas. Tell your significant other you're bringing dinner and what first starts with disappointment upon seeing the pizza box, will bring at the very least a snicker when they see the heart shaped pizza.
Cards: How do you find the best one? You don't. Although you might have spent hours trying to find just the right words, the bottom line is someone else wrote them, and this same exact card is going to other people. We may save the card, but only because of what you wrote at the bottom, even if it's just Love, Bob. Take a little time and write your own thoughts.
High Expectations: Just like most of the major holidays (New Years, Christmas, Halloween), everyone asks what you're doing. Single people hate to answer, and even married people hate it because they think it will never be like it was when they were dating. Here's where you need to redirect your focus. Don't focus on your significant other and what you're doing with them. Focus on children. Spend the weekend making an elaborate Valentine's box. Get Valentine hearts with candy inside to put on their bed so when they wake up that morning, that's the first thing they see. If you don't have kids, send a Valentine to a niece or nephew with candy attached - even if they're in college. What giver and receiver wouldn't love that?
Heart Clothing/Products everywhere: Save your money. Unless you're a 6-year-old girl, you won't want anything with hearts on it after February 14th.
Presents: I'm all for equal rights, but let's face it, the pressure here is on men. Women don't want chocolate, roses or teddy bears - with a couple of exceptions. We'll take a small amount of incredibly dark, rich chocolate - not in a cardboard heart, or with unknown filling inside. Roses are only good if you send them to her office and it's filled with catty, gossipy women. The more evolved, sincere purchase involves something to do together. Think of something you wouldn't normally do, such as lakefront segway tour, bike rentals or even a kayaking Chicago river outing. If you give her a certificate stating you prepaid for an adventure to take place in June, it says you want to spend time with her, and you plan on this relationship lasting a while.
Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy the day a little more. And if you're single and depressed because you don't have anyone for the big day.... Don't worry, it's just a stupid Hallmark holiday.