By Tara Gary
Brace yourselves, the day (you know the one) that many of us dread is nearly upon us. A day of expectations, heightened awareness for singles, false admiration for the over indulged high maintenance co-worker who is the recipient of the most thoughtful Valentine’s gifts ever, cheesy balloons and giant teddy bears that will end up in the attic because they are too big to fit anywhere else. I was told I wasn’t the most qualified individual to give advice for Valentine’s Day. It’s true. I prefer not to recognize it in the generic, mushy card, expensive flowers kind of way. I personally would be delighted to stay at home and grill steak on the Big Green Egg and a super thoughtful addition to the steak dinner would be a variety six pack of craft beer from my significant other. I know, that’s not what most women want thus the reluctancy by the publisher for me to share my advice for Valentine’s Day.
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m so excited about Valentine’s Day!” Nope, never. I completely get it. If you’re a guy with a significant other you’re stuck in a catch 22. If you ask, “what would you like for Valentine’s Day?” you’ll most likely get a response of “oh, nothing really.”
Personally, my opinion is not to ask. If you’re in a relationship you should know what she is interested in and what she might be expecting. If you don’t know, you may not be in the best relationship but then again who am I to say?
Either way I’d just like to share a few ideas and give some hopefully helpful advice.
Please do not buy those preassembled bouquets full of carnations at your local grocery store. It’s cringe worthy to see a man show up with a bouquet wrapped in that awful plastic and those large price stickers still attached on the side. It screams, “I knew I needed to get you flowers but I put absolutely zero thought into it.” And while I’m on a roll, “Here. I grabbed a cheesy heart-shaped box of chocolates that taste like the cardboard they are wrapped in.” You know what I’m talking about. The chocolates that haven’t changed since the early 70s. The ones that you bite into and spit out only to find the one or two that you will actually consider eating.
Instead of the thoughtless last-minute grocery store grab, consider this. Trader Joe’s or The Fresh Market. Yes, I know they are grocery stores, but their flowers are significantly nicer and last longer. Purchase a bouquet with some greenery, like eucalyptus, take off the plastic wrapping and rubber bands and wrap them in a piece of tissue paper. It’s a little more time consuming than the alternative, but the presentation will suggest that you took the effort to buy her a thoughtful bouquet and you didn’t break the bank either by ordering flowers on the biggest flower-giving day of the year when the prices are inflated. Trust me, if you are gifting a level-headed individual, they will appreciate your price consciousness as well. If not, you may want to reconsider your partner. My opinion, just saying.
As for the chocolates. Say no to the cardboard box. Again, “thoughtless” comes to mind. Find a specialty store for sweets. I discovered Kilwins located in the Alpharetta City Square on my way to my weekly cornhole game last week. As I was walking by the store, I noticed a former college fraternity brother (I was a little sister). We laughed and reminisced as Todd eagerly shared samples of his hand-crafted chocolates, fudge, confections, and ice cream. Consider purchasing a mix of goodies or one of the Valentine boxes of chocolate. I can assure you the recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness and the chocolates won’t end up in next week’s garbage pick up like the box the guy picked up in the grocery store.
Find something out of the ordinary realm of what you typically do as a couple. Most of us tend to entertain ourselves with Netflix and other cable options so how about going to a special showing of The Notebook? Ha, I know I just lost the majority of male readers but trust me, it really is a great movie. Can you imagine the gratitude you might receive for being so thoughtful?! Aurora Cineplex in Roswell will be showing The Notebook Thursday Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. and Saturday Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. The ticket price is $9 and includes a flower and Aurora Bakery Treat, which I can tell you from experience is absolutely delectable. If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you bring tissues. You may think you’re tough enough to avoid shedding a tear, but I dare anyone to watch that movie in its entirety and make it through the last ten minutes without having you’re “eyes water” because you “accidentally” got salt in them from the popcorn.
If you feel the need to eat out, please make a reservation before the 14th. Nothing is worse than endlessly waiting for an overpriced dinner and then being told there’s nothing available because you forgot to make a reservation. If you decide to stay in, which I do, make a nice dinner, hire a baby sitter if you have kids, and give your loved one the night off. Put down the electronics, cuddle up and spend time together. Sadly, this should happen on a regular basis, not just one day of the year. Which leads me to this piece of advice. If you are the fortunate recipient of considerate efforts and gifts, RECIPROCATE! Valentine’s Day should not be one-sided. If it’s about “love” then MAKE it about “LOVE”. ❍
When not writing, Roswell resident Tara Gary is busy making industrial furniture, charcuterie boards, and local art. Most nights she can be found with her friends at local breweries and pubs drinking craft beer.