Long before it was immortalized as a sub-par romantic comedy, Valentine’s Day has been infamous for anxiety. There’s nothing like an evening of high expectations and commercialized intimacy to make us wish February 14th was just the day in 1912 when Arizona was admitted as the 48th state (look it up). But there’s no escaping the rose petals, romantic greeting cards and spike in chocolate sales—so here’s how to make it through. For your own sake, please don’t…
1. Bring a Friend
No matter how much you want your crush to meet Amanda or hit it off with Lauren, leave the crew at home. “But they’re so fun!” Nope. They’re probably not. Even a double date is two too many. Sorry, but regardless of whether the thought of spending an extended amount of time alone with your date is a huge relief or provokes a nervous rash, this one is all you.
2. Reference Next Year’s Valentine’s Day
Nothing says, “I just went from having a good time to having premature anticipatory anxiety about the longevity of our relationship” like referencing a date that’s a year away. If an event is too far in advance to ask a friend what you should wear to it, you shouldn’t bring it up on V-Day.
3. Buy Him a Car
When a present escalates from a kind gesture to an uncomfortably outlandish statement of extravagance, everyone feels ill at ease. Especially the salesperson he’s about to hunt down for convincing him that a teddy bear makes a perfectly fine gift.
4. Forget to Shave Your Legs
This is a common courtesy. I hope no explanation is necessary.
5. Make Elaborate, Inflexible Plans
Valentine’s Day is the New Year’s Eve of romance: it’s a night you wait all year for which, inevitably, leads to disappointment when things don’t go exactly as you dreamed (or scheduled meticulously in the shower). Don’t plan a night that will crash and burn if you’re fifteen minutes late to dinner or get a little bit lost on the way to the romantic view you’ve been scouting for sunset. Because if my own life is any indication, things will not go exactly as planned.
6. Pre-Game Dinner
No matter how nervous you are, don’t take a shot to loosen up. No matter how convincingly a friend urges you to grab a cocktail before the date, just say no. No matter how exciting the party down the hall sounds, don’t indulge in a pre-dinner drink (or three). Oh, and don’t overdo it on the wine at the restaurant, either.
7. Ask for Extra Garlic on Your Mashed Potatoes
Garlic is a flavor much better enjoyed the first time around. No need to order plain toast or pasta with olive oil, hold the Parmesan, but take it easy on the garlic butter prawns.
Of laughter, of sadness, of frustration, of anger, of happiness, of surprise or of joy. Please… just don’t cry.
9. Suggest a Bad Movie
What’s that you say, you’re no longer attracted to me after seeing the 7:30 showing of Paddington or Jupiter Ascending? Don’t out yourself as a bad date by turning a romantic evening into an evening of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
10. Talk About The Past
You can reference the distant past (“Hey, speaking of Abraham Lincoln…” or “Remember when Pokemon cards were cool?”) but steer clear of all not-so-distant history, like exes and, specifically, last year’s Valentine’s Day. That is, unless you’re lucky enough to be sitting with the same guy.