Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and with the economy in a record-setting slump, it’s easy to see how the second-most highly commercialized holiday of the year can be even more daunting than usual. But fear not – resident girl Tam is here to help with advice and activities, bringing you the GEDDEM Guide to Valentine’s Day, in order to make sure that you and your lady have the best V-day ever.

Rachel and Benjamin are figuring out their Valentine's day plans - are you?

The Panic begins around the same time every year. February 1st cruises buy, and all of the sudden my entire circle of friends freaks out. The girls start worrying about whether or not they’ll have something to do, or more importantly, who they’ll be doing things with. Regardless of whether or not they realize it, the girls have it easy. If they can get over the frenzy of finding a date and something to wear, usually they’re taken care of. Guys, on the other hand, are traditionally given the additional responsibility of figuring out what to do, where to go, what sort of gift(s) to get, how to be romantic about it (without being creepy or cheesy), and how to avoid becoming the ultimate V-day failure/choice topic of conversation amongst girls the next week. We’re going to tackle the issue head-on, with some basic rules for Valentine’s Day success, ideas for flowers and gifts (if you’re going that route), and some suggestions for activities in a few choice that you’ll enjoy just as much as she will.

Three Easy Rules For Valentine’s Day Success

(and why you’ll want to follow them)

Rule No. 1: Do Something

It’s totally understandable that someone could think that Valentine’s Day is a crock. The only holiday more heavily commercialized is Christmas, and as one of the highest annual sales periods for diamonds, flowers, and chocolate, the ad campaigns alone could drive a person crazy. The thing is, all of this hubbub is missing the point; Valentine’s day isn’t about spending money – it’s about making an effort to show someone special in your life how much you appreciate them. So even if you can’t afford a five-star restaurant, even if she says she doesn’t believe in valentine’s day, make it a point to do at least one thing that shows her that you care – it’ll go a long way.

Rule No. 2: Find Out What She Did Last Year.

Given the proximity to the holiday, it’s not an awkward or out of bounds conversation topic. Knowing what she did the year before can be a hugely useful asset. It’ll let you know what sort of V-Day treatment she’s used to, and what sort of thing she’s expecting. Just keep in mind that the idea here is to avoid repetition as much as possible, so that you can keep things different and make them memorable.

Rule No. 3: Remember: Expense < Effort

Almost every girl, whether they admit it or not, wants to feel special on Valentine’s Day, but we don’t necessarily need guys to spend hundreds (or thousands?!) of dollars on us. Of course, if someone wants to spend that much money on a girl, she won’t necessarily complain about it – just don’t make it look like you walked into a store and bought the first thing you saw. An Ipod Nano in her favorite color with her name or a favorite song lyric engraved on the back, can go a lot further than the most expensive Ipod Touch on the market thrown into a gift bag unwrapped.

The Obligatory Flowers and Chocolates Discussion

Given that the usual Valentine’s Day operation is to give flowers and chocolates, it’s important to address how the standards have changed. Yes, if you’re going to do a half-dozen roses and a Whitman’s sampler, you’ll have earned a nod of approval and the appropriate thank-yous, but there are loads of variations on this theme which are far less ho-hum.

As far as chocolates go, I would skip the Whitman’s Sampler and go for something smaller and more thoughtful. In theory, all of us ladies love enormous boxes of chocolate, but in practice, we’ll eventually regret having eaten half the box in one go.

Recommendation: Check out Godiva’s $30 or Less Valentine’s Day Selection. It’s easy on the wallet and a clear emphasis of quality over quantity.

Flowers, on the other hand are a different beast altogether. The obvious floral benchmark for Valentine’s day is the red rose, but if you feel like it’s overdone and want to go for something a little more intimate (read: sexy) why not change it up and go for Orchids? In my opinion, a single potted orchid is more beautiful and interesting than a dozen roses, and it’s not going to be dead a week later.

While you’re going to do well with pretty much any flowers, there are a few things to avoid.

1. No crazy spray-painted flowers. If it’s not a normal color that you usually find in nature (like hot pink or electric blue,) avoid it.

2. If you end up getting some last minute flowers from a gas station, make sure that it doesn’t look like they’re last minute flowers from a gas station. Take off the price tag and the plastic wrapper if it’s really tacky looking.

Activity Ideas For You And Yours (Sorted By City)

New York

The New York Movie Map

NewYorkInTheMovies.com

Anyone can go to the movies on Valentine’s Day, but in the city that never sleeps, we have the option of actually going to the locations that many of the world’s most famous romances were actually filmed at. My favorites from the list: Ghostbusters (Ectoplasmically romantic <3) and the Meg Ryan trio – When Harry Met Sally, Addicted to Love, and Sleepless in Seattle.

Fuerza Bruta

Daryl Roth Theater

101 E. 15th St @ Union Sq.

buy tickets at: FuerzaBrutaNYC.com

If you’re totally bored with the whole “Dinner-and-a-Movie” routine, Fuerza Bruta is the way to go. From the creators of the incredible De La Guarda, Fuerza Bruta puts you right in the center of the action, immersing the audience in a multisensory extravaganza that is at once visually stunning, more fun than you can shake a stick at, and sexy as hell. *Note* Wear clothing that you don’t mind getting wet or dancing around in.

Butter.

415 Lafayette

For Reservations Call:

[212] 253.2828

In this town, it’s not hard to find a restaurant with ultra-chic decor or unbelievable cuisine, but few can combine them so seamlessly or effortlessly as Butter. From cocktails to dessert, Butter is where it’s at, and although it may be a little pricey, this is one restaurant that is worth every penny. For V-day, you’ll have to make reservations, but make a note that Butter has extended their Restaurant Week menu for the entire month of February (weekdays only), so be sure to check out the $35 prix fixe if you have the chance.

Miami

Markham Park

For those of us who need a chance to get away, 670-acre Markham Park is sublime. The former Langerado Festival location is quiet and remote, ideal for afternoon picnics and (mostly) secluded outdoor snuggling. . Additional amenities include a dog park, biking trail, observatory, and swimming complex.

Barton G

Owned and operated by an event production company of the same name, Barton G is all about presentation. From the (quite literally) glowing “Disco Crab” to the giant Peanut Butter Cup, Barton G is an adventure in molecular gastronomy  that both of you will be talking about for weeks. And if you aren’t feeling like shelling out the cash, just go for dessert. With all of the desserts at or under $35 (and they’re huge, so you get one item to share) it’s a pretty good deal for the experience.

BED

929 Washington Ave.

305.532.9070

If you live even remotely near downtown Miami, chances are you’ve been bombarded by event flyers from BED at some point. Usually, this place is packed with kids from UM, but on Valentine’s Day, this loungy club simmers down to a nice, sexy smolder. Reservations are always preferable, so be sure to call in advance.


San Fransisco

The Great San Francisco Pillow Fight

Justin Herman Plaza

Info at: PillowFight.info

Nothing makes for more fun on Valentine’s Day than a pillow fight, and if you’re in the San Fran area, you’re in luck! A Pillow Fight flash mob is being assembled on V-Day at Justin Herman Plaza. Just bring a pillow (filled with natural materials) and a friend, and prepare for a fluff-filled onslaught like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Attendence at pillow fights usually ranges from 2,000 to 10,000, which means it’ll be an afternoon you won’t soon forget.

ETD Love

Anubis Warpis

1525 Haight St.

info at: SkillsDJ.com

ETD Love, an annual Valentine’s Day rave, is the perfect V-Day outing for those into house, trance, or just wanting to get their dance on. Admission starts at $40 per person to party with djs Marcov, Martin Roth, Dyloot, The Thrillseekers, and Blix Cannon, and should prove to be a body rocking Valentine’s Day lovefest.

UC Davis Makeout Spots

DavisWiki.org

Now, I know that sometimes it’s better to have your own spot, but the DavisWiki has posted a list of favorite makeout spots on campus and around town. Pick a favorite or try to see how many you can hit in one day, just make sure you’re not literally making out on top of some innocent bystander –  Unless, of course, they want you to…

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone, from the folks at GEDDEM

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