By Seth Strickland
This Valentine's Day is a great time to step it up, deliberate dudes. It's clear that the cascade of hearts and pink champagne and chocolates is the face of this holiday, but it's easy to let it be all of the holiday. Too many guys buy a big heart box and hand it in like some sort of half-forgotten homework. This Valentine's Day, put a little more deliberation into your celebration. You're seeking to live deliberately, so here's a chance to show it. A few ideas for those in relationships:
If you're in a new relationship, or not yet at the place where you feel comfortable uttering the word 'relationship' out loud, here are a few ideas based around getting to know each other:
Play your favorite record for her & have her play hers for you. Challenge each other to see who can find the sappiest song. It's a fun activity that can help you get to know each other, set the mood, and potentially help you find "your song."
Take her to your favorite local BYOB restaurant and have her bring her favorite wine.
Go on an adventure. Ask her what her favorite sort of shop or activity is, and find a nearby unexplored spot & get to know it.
If you've been in a relationship for a little while (or a long, long while), take this year to refresh a memory. Think back to one of your first great dates or memories, and build your activity on that. Even a dud the first time around can brighten with a second visit. A few suggestions:
See if any of your favorite bands are playing in your area or check out the lineup at your favorite venue to find something new.
If you are musically inclined, learn your partner's favorite song & sing/play it for them – everyone loves a little creative effort even if the end result isn't perfect. Too cheesy? Check out a comedy show for some good laughs.
Revisit a restaurant dear to both of you but which you haven't visited in a while. Alternatively, hit up a farmers' market & cook an old favorite.
Go on an adventure. No reason not to. Make a new tradition; try something for the first time.
For ye single dudes, celebrate the love of friendship. Most of the dearest people in the world are simply your close friends. Take Valentine's Day to have some killer bro time. As Michelle wrote, love is selfless. Don't take Valentine's as an excuse to go on a self-pity bender – give something to someone else. Give time, give effort, give words of encouragement. Invite a group of friends over for a movie or board games – or take all your single girl friends out for ice cream. Give the gift of a good example: it's vital to act in a way those young guys who look up to you can emulate.
So, in the face of gushing romcoms and be-hearted teddy bears the size of, well, bears, take this Valentine's Day to be a man. February 14th is more than a Friday this year; it's more than a girly chocolate holiday: it's an opportunity to give something meaningful to someone very close to you. Take that opportunity by the horns, and give deliberately. Give love.