A Bloke’s Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day

Emily Smart

Emily Smart is nearly 42, vertically challenged and clearly was the kid who ate all the pies. When not drinking pints down the boozer, Emily is co-director of Story Marketing & Communications www.storymarketing.co.nz and a regular contributor to NZ publications.  She also has a blog with two friends at www.verbalberbal.comIn her spare time Emily is raising three unruly children who claim to be hers.

A Bloke’s Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day (written by a woman of course)

Once a year, on the 14th February, people across the western world are encouraged to demonstrate their love to their significant other. Sounds good in theory, but here’s a word of warning: watch out, it’s a bloody minefield!

I’ve never really given much thought to Valentine’s Day over the last few years. When you’re in a long term relationship, you’ve got kids, a mortgage, assorted pets, bills, not much spare time and an overwhelming desire to sleep whenever your feet aren’t in contact with the ground, your partner’s lucky to get a shag, never mind a padded card and a novelty present. Now I’m not saying we’re a typical couple, but this is the conversation in our house every 13th February without fail:

Other half: “You know I haven’t got you anything for Valentine’s Day don’t you?”

Me: “Me neither.”

Other half: “No seriously, I haven’t got you anything for Valentine’s Day.”

Me: “Seriously, me neither, now shut up I’m watching the telly.”

Don’t be alarmed, that counts as foreplay in my house!

I spend the next day hovering by the front door awaiting a dozen over-priced and slightly wilted roses to be delivered. When they don’t materialise, this is the conversation in our house every evening of 14th February:

Me: “Some flowers would have been nice.”

Other half: “But you said...”

To any other halves reading this, you need to know that what women say they want and what they actually want are two completely different things, and if you haven’t got a degree in mind reading, I suggest you get one fairly pronto. This will save you years of headaches, heartaches and mouthache throughout your relationship. If in doubt, say nothing. And if you’re in any doubt as to how fickle women are, if my other half does ever send the dozen red roses, I’ll want to know why and the Spanish Inquisition will start from the moment the flowers cross the front door step.

Having had a chat with several friends asking them, ‘Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?’ it would appear that all ‘celebration’ days are a nightmare when it comes to gifts, and I feel particularly sorry for you blokes. One mate said that, on the occasion of her parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, she sent flowers, only for her dad to come home and remark how nice they were and enquire as to why they had been received; then for all the colour to drain from his face as he realised his mistake. He rushed out to buy something to make amends and with only the local dairy open, returned with a chocolate Paddle Pop. Nothing says I love you more than a chocolate Paddle Pop. I can only imagine where she told him to shove it.

My favourite Valentine’s story came from Angela who has been married to Hugh for nearly 40 years. One year she awoke on 14th February to a card (“I didn’t actually like it, bit fussy for me”) that said the following:

To Angela,

Best wishes


So I thought it might be helpful to give you my top 5 do’s and don’ts for this forthcoming Valentine’s Day, and you never know, you might get lucky or at least avoid a night in the spare room:

1. Buy a card.

2. Don’t put best wishes, kind regards or yours sincerely. Try I love you.

3. Don’t put your name on it – if she likes the card, own up, if it’s mistimed, deny all knowledge.

4. Suggest a meal out rather than buying something that will be greeted with ‘Have you got the receipt?’

5. General things to avoid on Valentine’s Day:

 - Burger King: horse burger, strip lighting and dirty toilets do not make for a romantic night out.

 - Any sport: no woman wants to come second to Ritchie McCaw.

 - References to other women no matter who they are e.g. ‘Julia Roberts was quite fit in that film we watched last night’.

 - Criticising your better half’s choice of outfit, hand bag, make up, restaurant (insert endless list here).

 - Bad breath, wind (Dutch ovens are not funny) or saying ‘Can you just iron my shirt for the morning’ before the nocturnal naughties begin.

Happy Valentine’s Day and best wishes to men and women everywhere.

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