Love it or hate it, February 14th is upon us. With so much annual hype, it seems like the help of a professional is required to come up with any unique Valentine’s Day ideas. That’s why men and women across the country seek romantic advice from Thomas Edwards, a.k.a., The Professional Wingman.
Though he’s a year-round dating and lifestyle coach, February is always a busy time of year for Edwards. He chalks it up to a tendency among even the best of us to let the pressure of the holiday build up. His secret? “Remember that Valentine’s Day is highly commercialized,” Edwards says. “The history of why Valentine’s Day exists has nothing to do with love. So … keep it simple, but significant.”
So simple, in fact, that he’s got 5 Valentine’s Day ideas that anyone – single or monogamous, male or female – can easily follow this weekend, but also, make romantic.
1. Don’t go out for dinner.
Oh, look. Roses and a dinner reservation. That’s original. “There’s nothing less romantic than being at a crowded place, where everyone’s out there for Valentine’s Day, and you’re screaming over yourself trying to hear the other person,” Edwards says. Instead, he suggests doing something that will let your partner know that you’ve been paying enough attention to really know what he or she might enjoy. The best Valentine’s Day ideas, he says, involve a special interest or activity, such as a love-related museum exhibit, or getting drinks somewhere with a heated rooftop or fireplace.
“Just hang out,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s about spending time with each other and enjoying each other’s company.”
2. Keep your expectations in check.
In fact, Edwards believes its best to have none. “The more expectations you have, the more likely it is that you’re going to be heavily disappointed,” he says. At most, “just go in looking to have a good time.”
That advice is especially true of the dollars spent for Valentine’s Day, which can skyrocket with markups added by restaurants and retailers looking to cash in on the hype associated with it. In reality, Edwards says, “It doesn’t matter how much money you spend. Some of the best gifts people can give may not have any monetary value whatsoever.”
3. Valentine’s Day is for men, too.
Too often, it seems, men feel that the responsibility of making Valentine’s Day successful falls entirely on them, along with the bill that comes with it. To reverse that stereotype, says Edwards, ladies should heed the same advice to show that you’ve given the day some altruistic consideration.
The sad truth? “Guys just don’t expect it,” Edwards says. “Immediately, you win, once you show some level of thought into making it just as special for him as he would for you.” It could be as simple as buying a new game for your PS4 enthusiast, which while not necessarily romantic, does show a certain level of being in tune with what makes your partner happy.
“It seems ridiculous,” says Edwards, “but we’re guys. We’re very simple. Gifts can make us very, very happy.”
4. Take advantage of being single.
There’s a reason why Valentine’s Day has become analogous with “Singles Awareness Day”: The vast majority of Americans are single, and Valentine’s Day has grown to be the highest-rated day for them to hook up.
“It’s a great day to celebrate your singledom,” says Edwards. “It’s also a day where people are most aware of opportunities to find love. Take advantage of that.”
Believe it or not, the same can be said even of those in the tricky spot of being the only single person within their respective social circles. That’s a great moment, Edwards says, to take stock of your romantic situation and what you’d like to do about it. “The first thing you should do is create a secondary circle of friends who are single and also out looking to meet people,” he says. “You’re not necessarily throwing away your married friends, but you’re being more proactive in making sure that you have opportunities to go out.” Check out get-togethers on Meetup, Eventbrite, or just by going out solo with the intention of meeting new people.
5. Great gestures can be made from a distance.
Thank goodness for modern-day technology. Video interfaces have changed the way long-distance relationships work, especially on occasions like Valentine’s Day. “You can do really cool things with technology,” says Edwards, “like having dinner and drinks over Skype, while maybe even watching something on TV or Netflix together.” The ability to actually see each other, he adds, enhances a genuine date-like feel, encouraging couples, for example, to even dress up. Make it cute, though: Edwards suggests sending an email to your partner with a picture of flowers, as a way to preempt these virtual dates.
The bottom line, Edwards says, is effort. “At the end of the day, it’s just another day,” he says. “You should be showing love 365 days of the year. This just happens to be a day where it gets acknowledged a little bit more.”
For that reason, Valentine’s Day might even provide extra motivation to show appreciation and thoughtfulness toward loved ones at all times, no matter what the season. “Remember,” Edwards points out, “you’re doing this because you want to, not because you have to.”
To learn more about The Professional Wingman, visit theprofessionalwingman.com.
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Image: Tyler Burrus