I’m a soldier of love, and I believe in its celebration every single day, but I’m seriously thinking of breaking up with Valentine’s Day. In the age of social media, all of our greatest moments have to be photographed, updated and shared. On days like V-Day, the way we show our love for one another somehow becomes a competition and a spectacle. We unfairly compare our relationships to those of couples we barely know and only scroll past on Instagram. And when we haven’t found a romantic love of our own, we focus on that instead of appreciating the love we receive from others who aren’t our romantic partners, and even the love we have for ourselves.
For a day that’s supposed to center on the positive aspect of love and relationships, V-Day can certainly represent the opposite—sadness, envy and anxiety.
For instance, I was reading a post at EHarmony that suggested Valentine’s Day is women’s Super Bowl. Like, let that simile sink in for a minute. According to the author, “…both men and women put all of their emotional energies into these two bigger-than-life events.” Not to mention the fact that 25 percent of men say they buy gifts and make plans on Valentine’s Day because they feel obligated to. I’d argue more than 25 percent of men do so, but didn’t say as much when polled.
It’s what I heard most while talking with male friends, both single and in long-term relationships, about the exceptionally commercialized (thus drenched in capitalism) supposed holiday of love. Most of them spoke about their plans as if they were chores, and others checked off a list of events for V-Day night that didn’t seem to include their interests at all.
So I asked the fellas what their idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day date night would look like, if the women in their lives flipped the script and planned it just for them.
Here’s what they said:
Many men opted for cologne, fresh kicks or tech gadgets as gifts, but a few guys admitted that they’d enjoy receiving traditional flowers and candies. It’s okay to make a fuss over him every once in a while, right? I found the most amazing chocolatier in my city, Cacao and Cardamom, who offer gorgeous gourmet chocolates. They even plan events focused on their decadent eats and cocktails. (A tequila and chocolate soiree? Yes, please.) If he enjoys a good hard drink, this black whiskey stone gift set is quite sexy. Blogger Kait Smith found research that revealed, “32 percent of men say they’d be happy fooling around in bed all day, and 57 percent would enjoy a special massage.”
My friend Wil said he’d love to go out of town for the weekend, but would settle for a quiet evening at home with the massage and bed rumbling suggested by Smith. I asked if he’d be open to trying something other than dinner at a massively overcrowded restaurant; he said he’d be down.
It seems as though most of the men I talked to rarely dated women that went through the process of planning a date on a night like V-Day. If anything, women would make suggestions or agree to winging it or doing nothing at all. Plan to take your man to nice cigar shop or lounge on date night if he enjoys a nice smoke. A cooking class might be interesting, or even a sporting event. And if a traditional V-Day dinner is the move, opt for reservations at a restaurant he’ll really enjoy. Remember, the focus is on him, so give him the same kind of adoration and attention you’d want to receive.
And when the day is done, and night time is the right time, plan an evening so full of exquisite loving that you’ll both be sleeping in on Sunday. Since the boudoir is an area where you both can spoil each other, start out wearing something sexy on the night out and something even sexier when get back home. (Or ask the driver to roll up the partition, Yoncé style.) These looks from Fashion Bomb Daily should do the job of making him skip desert and ask for the check quickly.
And don’t forget: as my friend Huny pointed out in a recent post about sexual self-care, wearing lingerie is just as much about making you hot and bothered as it is about him drooling over how amazing you look in it. I’m in love with this mesh and lace babydoll. My girlfriend sent me a link to these “tie me up” panties as a gift she’s giving her husband on Saturday.
To add spice to the date night from start to finish, make sure you order a We Vibe 4+, a bedroom toy designed specifically for couples. As a matter of fact, it comes with a remote control and an installable app, which means he can give you pleasure from across the room—or across the country! There’s also plenty play for both of you when you bring the We Vibe into the bedroom.
Hope your day of love is the ultimate!
Josie Pickens is an educator, culture critic and soldier of love. Send her your love + relationship questions here. Also, follow her on Twitter @jonubian.