Valentine's Day Candy Getty Images News/Scott Olson
By James L. Knobloch

…and not as I do.

As a charter member of the perpetually single club, you might not be surprised to learn that Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday. But fear not, this won’t be one of those bitter (even though I might be), cynical (definitely am), “Valentine’s-Day-was-created-by-the-greeting-card-industry” (not entirely untrue) articles, spouting the typical anti-romance propaganda (well, maybe a little).

Instead, I’m going to do something equally preposterous: offer up my unsolicited Valentine’s Day dating advice.

 

Do: Plan Ahead

There are many times where spontaneity and spur of the moment excursions are desirable; a romantic Valentine’s dinner for two is not one of them. If you plan to take your special someone out for a candle lit dinner – even if it’s at a White Castle – then plan to make your reservation early, especially when V-Day falls on a Saturday (like it does this year). Don’t expect to get laid if you end up having to take your date to the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo on 8th Avenue because every place else is booked…unless you’re planning to ask out yours truly.

Don’t: Become Someone Else

Sure, Valentine’s Day can be a time for grand, romantic gestures and putting in the extra effort. But at the end of the day, you shouldn’t go so big that you aren’t being yourself. Be the person that your significant other fell for in the first place – if perhaps a slightly more polished version. Ninety percent of the time, reality and all its imperfections is better than a fantasy; that’s what 50 Shades of Grey is for.

Don’t: Be Generic

If it’s the thought that counts (and frankly, it’s more than just the thought, but I digress), then put a little thought into it! Be original and think outside the box (of chocolates). Make the card yourself or plan an unexpected outing; any schmuck can stop at a Duane Reade after work to pick up a stuffed something or other, a lame card, and a dozen half-dead carnations. And for the love of God, if you do pull a “corner store special,” at least have the foresight to ditch the receipt before seeing your someone…you know, the receipt with the date and time…that indicates you purchased your tokens of affection 27 minutes earlier…as well as a conspicuously missing Snickers bar, fatty.

Do: Know Your Audience

Now, since we’ve agreed not to be generic, make sure your efforts are tailored to your “audience,” aka, the person that puts up with your quirks and still wants to see you naked. Attention to detail is the name of the game. Knowing how to cook their favorite meal, while they sip their favorite wine, after you’ve brought home their favorite flowers shows far greater care and devotion than a cookie cutter romantic comedy attempt. Speaking of which, I think we’ve all really had enough of the Love Actually silent-proclamation-of-love-on-poster-board-set-to-music-thing. Unless, of course, their favorite movie happens to be Love Actually, in which case, have at it. With gusto.

Don’t: Hide Gifts in Food

I just don’t understand when this became an acceptable practice. Not only is it a potential choking hazard, but who really wants a pawn shop ring at the bottom of their glass of Champagne? It’s a gourmet meal, not a gumball machine. “Surprise! I bought you a lovely piece of jewelry! Now you get to try and remove tiramisu from its every nook and cranny.”

 

I can only hope that someday, someone will want to surprise me with a shiny symbol of his love. And frankly, if he knows me well enough, he’ll know better than to ruin a perfectly good slice of cheesecake when he does it.

Now that’s love.

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