Men’s magazines have a propensity for publishing lists of all the romantic things you can — nay, should — do on Valentine’s Day. Don’t get caught empty-handed, they warn ominously, before pushing an agenda of weekend getaways, decadent meals and over-the-top gestures that have all been price-gouged to the moon and back.
But here’s the truth: Valentine’s Day is bullshit. Yes, I realize I sound like a romance-industrial complex truther who blames Big Hallmark for impressing upon us a fear of never doing enough on a made-up holiday. After years of gritting my teeth and suffering through it, though, I refuse to get back on the train to romantic — not to mention actual — bankruptcy. And I’m urging you to join me. Feel free to direct any and all spousal complaints my way.
You can prove your unwavering love or get laid on any other night of the year with far less trouble.
When you really boil it down, Valentine’s Day is a lot like New Year’s Eve: a weird race to get the most out of a night that inevitably ends in disappointment. Each year brings a tidal wave of pressure to find something “meaningful” to do, and yet somehow you’ll still wind up battling a frustrated hoard of couples for the chance to overpay for a mediocre steak and a couple glasses of prosecco. And for what? To prove your unwavering love? For a shower of Instagram likes? To get laid? You can hit those goals on any other night of the year with far less trouble.
As a woman, I understand the pressure that my kind puts on you gents this time of year. But not all of us insist upon roses, fireworks and everything in between. Let’s look at this objectively, shall we? Flowers die because that’s life, and fake flowers are a harder slap across the face than no flowers at all. Chocolates almost always go uneaten, because those drugstore candies you bought last minute are gross and don’t even taste like chocolate. Sexy lingerie gets worn once because it’s a bitch to clean. Cards are essentially the equivalent of burning money. You might as well refer to yourself and your date as Harry and Lloyd.
Stay in, order in, and watch a movie you illegally downloaded. Trust me, it’s more romantic than it sounds.
My advice? Switch things up with a relatively low-key night. Stay in, order in (or cook, you sly devil) and watch a movie you illegally downloaded (let’s not lie to each other). No jewellery, no flowers, no cards. Instead, make the argument that spending meaningful time together is worth far more than the hundreds of dollars you’d blow on all the worthless trinkets and subpar set menus awaiting you out there. Trust me, it’s more romantic than it sounds. And if your lady has a problem with it — well, maybe she’s the problem.
Better yet, agree to celebrate your own romantic night out on any night other than Valentine’s Day. Spend the 14th by yourself, and take Tom Haverford’s advice: Treat yo’ self.