For many women, Valentine’s Day turns into a huge disappointment. If we’re single, the day often brings up feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. Commercials, ads and the preponderance of images of smiling, happy couples can be depressing. Even if we’re in a relationship, the pressures of this contrived holiday can shake us. We’ll spend far too much time planning for something that will ultimately let us down. And nine times out of ten, the fault lies within ourselves. Because let’s face it, ladies. We think about Valentine’s Day way more than men do. We can’t help it. We’ve been socialized that way. We’re told fairy tales as little girls where there’s always a happily ever after and then are fed a steady diet of corny, rom-com movies that reinforce those themes as tweens, teens and young adults.
By the time we reach the full bloom of womanhood, many of us suffer from an odd neurosis resulting from decades of having our romantic lives fall way short of the unrealistic expectations set by the fairy tales of our childhoods. In other words, we finally get that our Prince Charming is neither a prince nor very charming, even as we love him wholeheartedly.
I mean, look at your Boo. Yes, you think he’s all that and a bag of chips, and you should. He’s your man. But when you’re brutally honest with yourself, you know he doesn’t measure up to the male protagonists of our favorite chick flicks. Yeah he’s sweet and good to you, but he doesn’t do the over-the-top kinds of romantic gestures you see in the movies. He’s not standing outside your bedroom window, holding a boom box, blasting a love ballad. He’s doesn’t march up to your job, whisk you up into his arms and carry you out while your co-workers applaud. He isn’t the one who will show up at your door (while you’re entertaining all your girlfriends at your house) and proclaim his love for you in a long, poetic soliloquy.
That’s just not your guy! And that’s okay because if he did do all of those things he’d probably be a stalker.
My point is that you shouldn’t let these Hollywood images of romance diminish the great thing you got going on with your Boo. Don’t believe the hype because that shit ain’t real!
Is your man good to you? Is he honest? Does he support your dreams and aspirations? Does he make you laugh? Are you a good fit? Do you share the same values? Do you want the same things out of life? Does he still make you blush, giggle, even tingle at times?
If you answered yes, then you’ve got yourself a wonderful man! Be thankful!
But I know you, though. We’re a lot alike, so I know what you’re thinking. Those fairy tale images lurking deep within our psyches would have us believe that our lives are wanting, that our own love stories are dull and colorless. And the industries that profit the most from holidays like Valentine’s Day (I’m talking about you, Hallmark and FTD) only reinforce these notions, further feeding our neurotic thinking.
But I’m here to tell you, that despite the fact your Boo isn’t the Prince Charming of your fairytales, he’s probably still a great guy. And while he won’t be sweeping you off your feet on some mid-February day with canary diamonds and spontaneous trips to Paris, you can and should celebrate the man he is and the love you have.
So here are my tips for avoiding a Disappointing Valentine’s Day (for the already Boo’d up):
- TELL HIM WHAT YOU WANT: Don’t assume your man knows what you want your Valentine’s Day to be. He doesn’t. No, really … he doesn’t. Instead of expecting him to understand how much this holiday means to you, tell him what you want. Men aren’t mind readers, no matter how well they know you. And if this stuff means more to you than him, you need to give him his marching orders for that day. Be clear, concise and specific. If you want flowers at work, tell him. If you want a romantic dinner date that night, tell him. It doesn’t take the romance out of it, trust me. Consider it training for future years. And the right guy won’t mind. In fact, he’ll just be happy to know exactly what you want. IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t wait until the last minute, either! Start talking about this at least a week in advance, and keep reminding him.
- REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Even with specific instructions, be careful to manage your own expectations. Know his limits. Your man isn’t going to magically transform into something he’s not. If he’s not usually the romantic gesture type of guy, understand that he’s making an exception for you on this day. So appreciate his efforts for what they are: gestures of love. And react accordingly. If he is a romantic gesture type of guy, then sit back and trust him to handle things. Still manage your expectations, though.
- PLAN ACCORDING TO BOTH YOUR PERSONALITIES: So you’ve finally gotten him on board for some kind of Valentine’s Day celebration, but he leaves the bulk of the planning to you. Now is not the time to introduce new kink or anything radically different to your relationship. I’m not saying don’t make it special. On the contrary. I’m just telling you to keep the surprises to a minimum. Stick with what you know he likes and build on that. Remember who you’re dealing with and make it something you’ll both enjoy. Also, keep it simple. Don’t over plan. You can’t expect to do cocktails at a jazz club, dinner at your favorite restaurant, a show, dancing, AND some head-banging sex. That’s doing way too much.
- FEEL BEAUTIFUL: Lingerie companies also profit heavily from Valentine’s Day. With women trying to spice things up with a little sexy number and men bringing home silky gifts to their wives and girlfriends, places like Victoria’s Secret will see huge sales increases. But what’s often lost is the notion that while the lingerie must intrigue and arouse the man, it also has to make the woman feel beautiful. If you plan to splurge on new lingerie for Valentine’s Day, consult a knowledgeable sales associate about what fits you and your body type best. Buy something that accentuates your assets, but that also feels comfortable and fits well. If it doesn’t make you feel beautiful, don’t buy it. Because if you feel beautiful, you’ll be confident. And your confidence will be sexier to him that any piece of silk or lace money can buy.
- RELAX AND ENJOY: Don’t let your plans ruin your day. If everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan, don’t sweat it! Go with the flow. The important thing is that you and your guy enjoy a day and night where you celebrate your love. It doesn’t matter if the dinner you cook isn’t perfect. Who cares if your flowers die too soon or you forget the champagne? So what if he’s a little late. You’re with the man you love and he’s at least made an effort to make this day special for you. So sit back, relax and let it flow.
Happy Valentine’s Day, loves! Enjoy!