Getting Valentine’s day right isn’t hard – it just takes a little bit of forethought and planning to ensure that the 14th February is a properly romantic affair rather than a tacky experiment.
Rules for Men
Good old-fashioned chivalry may well be becoming a thing of the past, and some would argue it’s long dead and buried, but its survival has not been helped by feminism – which has caught men between a rock and a hard place over how they should treat the opposite sex. Yet, men are also to blame somewhat for letting it become so much of a tightrope.
It’s fair to say that even though there are some women who would recoil if a gentleman held a door open for her, in 2011, a lot of ladies have realized that they actually do like a bit of chivalry, even if they won’t necessarily admit it out-loud.
So if you are in the market for a bit of courtly love, here are the basics!
- Have an umbrella handy so you can shield your date from the rain, if needs be
- Hold doors open for women and let them go through first. (There is an etiquette for revolving doors, which, I think is a little long-winded: the man enters the revolving door first, pushes it round for the woman but emerges after her, thus going round twice!)
- Offer your coat if it gets cold
- The gentleman always pays the bill on the first date
That’ll be the dahlia
Giving flowers can be something of a minefield. People have definite opinions about flowers – some hate chrysanthemums, others think carnations are cheap. Whichever bloom you choose, it’s probably best to find out before which flowers your loved one actually likes, and stick to that.
When buying flowers, do remember the following.
- Make sure your chose a good florist – ideally once you choose your florist you should stay with them as this will ensure a relationship is built up and they will learn what suits you best
- The cost of the bouquet will vary on how generous you feel and how deeply you are in love. £40 is the average a typical man would spend on flowers for Valentine’s Day, but remember that a beautiful hand-tired posy may mean just as much as a grand, no-expense-spared display
- If your lover is at work, it would be thoughtful to send them to her place of work – others will spy her carrying the bunch and she’ll get the chance to show off how much she’s loved by her admirer
- If you sent flowers last year, make sure you match your previous gift this year – if the bunch looks cheaper than last time then brace yourself for a bumpy ride
- For all things floral, The English Manner suggests Pulbrook and Gould in central London, or Judith Blacklock Flower Designs. For those out of town, take a look at John Lewis and M&S – always great value and innovative designs.
No one wants to be courted by someone with bad breath or dirty nails – your image and persona is vital for success. You don’t have to be dressed from top to toe in Savile Row, but cleanliness and style will pay dividends. When dressing yourself, remember there are sartorial rules for a reason. Break them at your peril!
Food of Love
Going out for a romantic meal for two, however unimaginative, is also a good step. There are plenty of excellent restaurants but eating out will mean that you share your special moments with the other diners.
It’s worth remembering that 14th February is one of the busiest nights of the year for the restaurant trade; make sure you get a good table by booking in advance at a restaurant she likes and be prepared for two sittings and indifferent service.
However delicious food in a high-class restaurant may be, nothing will impress your date more than a home-cooked meal. It speaks volumes if you can cook and take the time to make something special.
Rules for Ladies
The most important thing to remember is that men are different from women. Give men some space so they can reflect on what a catch you are. Relationships where you spend every second together don’t tend to last. In general, men may be more laid back whilst the girls have a tendency to worry. Celebrate the differences rather then fretting over them.
Remember to keep in mind what your dress says about your intentions – people can dress to reflection their mood subconsciously (i.e. – a black low-cut neck means you’re interested; a black nun’s habit means anything but!).
If your partner starts to flirt with another woman – let him! You’ll look better for not reacting to it and he’ll probably realize you’re more attractive. A lot of men (and women) like to hear compliments about themselves; it makes us feel good.
If your partner does over-step the mark with another lady then don’t make a scene in public. Arguing about anything for all to see is the height of bad form. Have your argument behind closed doors – don’t ruin other people’s night.
Dress to Impress
When going out with your partner, whether it be to an event or just out-and-about, try to co-ordinate what you’re wearing. The earring rule is generally short earrings during the day, and longer at night.
One final point to remember is that the man’s dress should never out-shine the woman’s.
Tutor, The English Manner