Girl Next Door: How to Survive Valentine’s Day

By Amber LaFrance

This one’s for the fellas. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner- do you have a game plan? I have been the unfortunate recipient of many terrible V-Day gifts, or no gift at all, and have had my fair share of awkward dates on this very special day. I’m here to help make your life easier this year and in return put a smile on your face, and your lady’s.

Things you shouldn’t do:

  • Forget it’s V-Day.
  • Decide you’re going to protest against it because it’s a “capitalist holiday”. No matter how you rationalize it, it’s not going away.
  • Express your love through the words of Hallmark employees.
  • Surprise her with an oversized teddy bear holding a red heart that says “I Love You”.
  • Buy her a heart-shaped box of chocolates from the grocery store.

For the love of God, don’t buy her a blender or a pair of running shoes. One year I swear I got a copy of My Cousin Vinny on DVD…I had never heard of or seen the movie in my life. I guess he was just a really big Joe Pesci fan.

Things you should do:

  • Go handmade – Make your own card. The more it looks like a third grader made it, the more she’ll love it.
  • Go handwritten – reference an inside joke and finish it off with “I’m so glad I met you” or “I Love You”.
  • Buy her flowers – Don’t buy her red roses and baby’s breath. Visit your local florist or pick some up cheap from the grocery store. Have the florist suggest an arrangement or go for tulips, lilies, irises or daises.

Obviously, the date is the most important part of the evening. If this is a blind date or you haven’t been dating that long, don’t go over the top. Choose something that’s fun and unique. Take her miniature golfing if it’s during the day or grab some Cajun food at The Free Man. What could be better than cocktails, fried gator tail and free live jazz music? If you’re willing to take a risk and break the ice, challenge Timmy’s 8 year old birthday party to a game of laser tag or hit up the hole-in the-wall karaoke bar and show her what you’re made of (my favorite is The Goat). If you choose a playful date, take her out to dinner (somewhere like Vickery Park or Fireside Pies) and drinks afterwards so you can get to know each other better. Ask her questions about herself. I love to talk about myself, all girls do. Even if we’re rambling about our pet bunny or complaining about how much our feet hurt, just smile and act like you’re listening.

If she already has a key to your apartment, then give her an excuse to wear a dress and heels. Impress her with dinner at: The French Room ($80 per person) and Hotel St. Germain ($85 fixed price per person) offer Valentine’s specials for decadent three-course meals. If you’re on a slightly tighter budget, try somewhere tasty and new, like Oak, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen or Samar (more tapas!). Drop a little more cash on your lady if you’ve been together for a while. I went on a date last week to The Wine Therapist and ended up sitting at the bar chatting for hours over a glass of red wine. Okay, maybe I had three glasses. Take her there or somewhere equally cute and intimate afterwards.

Now that you know not to show up at her doorstep with a teddy bear the size of a Mini-Cooper, or surprise her with the best thing you could find at the gas station down the street – you’ve set yourself up for a successful evening. Here a few more of my favorite V-Day ideas:

Where to shop:

How to satisfy her sweet tooth:

  •  Chocolate Secrets – Offering 4 desserts, live jazz, a gift and a bottle of champagne February 14th, 15th and 16th (Call 214-252-9801 to make a reservation).
  • Dallas by Chocolate – Evening of chocolate and wine with a private bus chauffer ($40 per person)
  • Edible Arrangements – I honestly wish someone would just buy me one of these! Choose the “Chocolate Indulgence Strawberries Box” for $45 or the “Lovely Berries Box” for $39)

Where to take her after dinner:

  • Blood, Chainsaw and Valentines – Moxley Manor’s Valentine’s Day Massacre ($15 per person).
  • Galaxy Drive-In Movie Theater ($6 per feature)
  • The XX (soft indie rock) at the Granada Theater or Sundown next door (offers free live music nightly)

If you’ve been the victim (or the culprit) of a Valentine’s Day disaster, I would love to hear about it! Please tweet me @AmberLaFrance with #MyCousinVinny. I’ll give a shout out to my favorite disaster. If you’re still scratching your head after reading this, reach out to me for more V-Day ideas via Twitter.

You’re welcome,