A freelance writer living in Perth, WA. My blog is coming soon. Watch this space!
Published January 31st 2012
Valentine's Day is fast approaching and there are so many things you could do to surprise that special someone. However, flowers and chocolates have been done to death, so why not try something a bit different to earn yourself some brownie points?
Before you start to say that Valentine's Day is a crass commercial holiday invented by the greeting card companies to make money and force us to spend all our hard earned dollars on gifts they don't want or need, think again. Valentine's Day is a shortened term for Saint Valentine's Day- a day for celebrating love and it was invented by Pope Gelasius the first in 496 AD. Many people believe that it was originally celebrated to commemorate one of the many Christian or Catholic martyrs called Valentine. No matter what you believe in, February 14th is a great day to show your partner how much they mean to you, by giving them a great day. While there are so many options to choose from here are some special combinations to make your date swoon.
A classic combination that is a winner every time, taking your partner to a movie then to a dinner is a great first date option. The first half of the date- the movie, should be a romantic comedy that is easy to watch. Don't go for a heavy thought provoking movie (unless you know they love that sort of thing) as it may become dreary and no-one wants their date yawning half way through the date. Steer away from horror movies or action packed movies (again, unless you know they like them)- it may seem like a good idea to have them scared, so you can comfort them, but remember, after the movie they can still be scared, especially at night and then they are a nervous wreck for the evening. What's more is, if you watch a horror movie where the attacker is a stranger, and it is a first date, they may start looking at you very strangely. Children's movies are out of the question too- at some point you will look around the theatre, realise you are the oldest ones there without any kids, and things are going to get uncomfortable quickly. Romantic comedies or comedies are the best way to go. If they are hilarious, then you look great, because you have great taste. If they are bad, then you can laugh at the awfulness together.
As for the restaurant, pick somewhere fairly romantic. You should have made a reservation earlier in the week (or two weeks) to make sure you get a table without a wait- restaurants fill up quickly on Valentine's Day. The restaurant should be candle-lit and quiet so you can get to know them better. A good bottle of wine to share will make the evening easier and a shared dessert if the night goes well will make everything seem more intimate. Try to relax, and don't talk all the time- share your interests but let them share theirs too. The movie should give you some talking points, and only fall back onto the weather if there is really nothing else to talk about. Avoid politics and religion- keep it light, and crack a few un-offensive jokes to break any unwanted tension. As long as you relax and be yourself, the evening should go well- they did agree to go out with you after all- so there must be something about you that they like.
A home cooked meal is a rarity in some relationships so invite your date to your place if you don't cook very often. Make sure you have cooked the meal before so you know it tastes alright and be aware of the ingredients you need before they arrive. Candles and roses on the table with champagne on ice will set the scene. Romantic music playing softly in the background will make them feel as though they are at an intimate restaurant. If you can, cook a starter, main and dessert. While they should all be fancy and delicious, try to make the dessert the best- there are some great recipes for parfaits, tiramisus and soufflés. They look good, taste better and if made correctly they are very impressive.
If you are cooking for someone, maybe get them a gift as well. Chocolates and flowers are standard, but if you want to get them something special, why not try jewellery. Great for both men and women there are so many nice jewellery pieces out there. Try asking the assistant at your favourite store to help you out.
Beach and Barbecue
This is a more relaxed date where you can go as slow as you want. Take your date to the beach just before sunset, take your shoes off and walk through the sand, talking and laughing. Make sure not to get too close to the water or you will be cold for the rest of the evening. Men, try walking closest to the water- if they ask why, tell them you don't want them getting cold, or ruining their skirt/dress/pants/etc. It makes you seem chivalrous and thoughtful. Walk slowly- it's not like you are in a race and try to enjoy the scenery. Sunset makes for a relaxing and romantic atmosphere and it does really set the scene. While walking along just chat to one another and try to enjoy their company. This means no phones or music- make it just the two of you. You could get to know one another better and learn you have more in common than you thought. In this scenario, definitely talk about the sunset and the ocean- they are both beautiful sights.
Before the end of the walk, you could (if legally allowed) have set up a bonfire on the beach with a little picnic. This is surprising and romantic. A bottle of champagne, some homemade foods and desserts will be a perfect ending. Sit drinking, eating and talking until the fire goes out. The fire will keep you warm and keep some bugs away.
However in some places, bonfires are not allowed. The best two options here then, would either be a picnic with no fire or a barbecue. Barbecues are a very relaxed option for dining, but they are not very romantic. Be careful then, it is easy to make this more a friendly night out rather than anything more. If you could, there are some cafes and even restaurants around beach front areas, so do some scouting around before the big day. Having a game plan will be the best option if you choose to take them on a beach walk.
Photo: 日:Muramasa 自身による撮影
Dinner and a Carriage Ride
A very romantic evening would involve dinner at a fancy restaurant, and then a carriage ride through a park. A horse-drawn carriage is a beautiful sight and means you have to cuddle up under a blanket. It will make girls feel as though they are in a movie, where their knight has drawn up to take them away. Take a bottle of champagne to surprise them, and plastic champagne flutes. If this is done during the day it is nice, but if it is done at night, under the stars it is truly magical. There are not a lot of dates like this one, and it is one that your partner will remember forever.
If you are thinking of proposing on Valentine's Day, then this is a fantastic idea. A carriage ride and then the proposal will be a great story to tell your friends and family, and after such a beautiful evening, there aren't a lot of people who could say no to a proposal like this.
No matter what you choose to do this Valentine's Day, just be yourself, try to laugh a lot and tell them how you feel. If you are great company it won't matter where you go. As long as you are together. If they are worth it, make the effort and let them know. Make them feel special, and then after the day, make them feel special every day- you shouldn't need a reason to do so.