Valentine’s Day: it’s arguably the trickiest holiday there is. So how do those of us at HowAboutWe — who live and breathe dating and relationships all day long — celebrate it? Here are our secrets.
“Eric surprises me with something every year so I never know what’s coming. And every year I get nervous that he’s just saying ‘It’s a surprise!’ because he has nothing planned. And every year I’m proved wrong…happily.“ -Emery Rosansky, HowAboutWe for Couples
“The husband and I love to go out to fancy restaurants, but we wait for special occasions (like Valentine’s Day) to do it. The problem, of course, is that restaurants on Valentine’s Day are mobbed, and often cursed with the dreaded ‘Special Valentine’s Day Menu.’ Our solution: celebrate V Day on the 13th. Tables are easier to get, and menus are unaltered.” - Melissa Wall, The Date Report
“If you decide to treat your lady to a home-cooked meal on Valentine’s Day, make sure to help clean up the kitchen before you fall asleep, exhausted from the effort of cooking! The gesture and the meal are very romantic, but having to clean every pot in the kitchen after the chef falls asleep on the couch is definitely unromantic!” - Victoria Germano, Operations
“My girlfriend and I have a tradition of staying in, ordering chinese take out, and watching a romcom. It started back on our first v-day together as college students when we were on a tight budget and we’ve done it ever since. It’s low key but also stress free!” - Greg Eng, Product
“My boyfriend and I stay in and cook – we like to go out somewhere before or after the 14th (we’re going to Maialino on the 12th, for example!) and then stay in on the actual day of and recreate something awesome we’ve eaten together over the past year. For example, we made cioppino two years ago after having it in San Francisco and declaring it one of the best things we’ve ever eaten! This way, we work together to create something awesome that has a memory attached to it too.” -Lauryn D’Angelo, HowAboutWe for Couples
“My husband and I do The Commitment Conversation – we talk through all those sticky and important topics (finances, cleaning, sex) that you never have time to talk through but are so important. For us, strengthening our relationship is the best Valentine’s Day gift.” -Rebecca Miller-Webster, Product
“My boyfriend cooks for us a lot, but I never go near the stove (unless Kraft mac & cheese counts), so for Valentine’s Day I take the reins and make reservations at a restaurant we haven’t been to before. Dessert is my specialty — microwave s’mores.
Related tip: I think everyone would be happier if women took charge in planning romantic evenings more often, especially in instances when they’re at least 60% of the driving force. A friend was grumbling about how his wife wanted to celebrate a minor anniversary, but the real problem was that she put it all on him. If she had said, Hey, we’ve been wanting to go to Fancy Restaurant anyway, let’s make a reservation!, rather than nagging him to plan it all out and ‘surprise’ her, he’d be more into it, he said.” - Michelle Dozois, The Date Report
“Maybe it’s just a New York thing, or maybe it’s the product of being part of a couple where we both have a full time job and actively pursue acting and music, but my boyfriend and I always plan a Valentine’s Day celebration that involves us being at home with a bottle of nice scotch and some takeout. It may seem lame, but we very rarely have downtime together, so a whole evening spent at home with just the two of us (and no dishes to do!) is a rare treat. Plus, since we deem it our V Day celebration, we always make sure to not immediately change into sweatpants and keep it classy…as classy as eating out of take out containers can be, that is.” - Claire Nasuti, Community
“My friends and I do ‘Galentine’s Day’ on the 13th every year. We find a new BYOB restaurant, pick up a few bottles of wine, and have a fun dinner. We make it the day before so it’s great for everyone because both single and taken gals can attend.” - Julia Tumas, Direct Marketing
“Le sigh, I did something very foolish a few valentine’s ago…
I told my then boyfriend [now husband] to cancel our plans because we had other Valentine’s-ish plans for that weekend (Vday was on a Tues or Weds), but really I thought I would surprise him with a dozen oysters at the apartment, knowing how much he loves fresh oysters. I picked up a bag of oysters and bought an oyster knife, fully prepared to make this a fun thing…it was not…it was horrible. I had never shucked oysters before (neither had he), the oysters were filthy and our apartment looked like a bottom-of-the-ocean bomb went off (sand and dirt everywhere). Shucking them proved to be both difficult and dangerous (I punctured my hand with the oyster knife and bled like crazy — a “knife” so dull you could literally let a 2 yr old play with it), and when everything was said and done we weren’t even hungry anymore.
But he was a really good sport and I learned that not all surprises are great when planned on a whim. Certain things are just better when left to the professionals, especially oysters!” - Tarynne Lopez, Design
“This year marks the first of many Valentine’s Days where we’ll pamper ourselves. Dinner on the 14th seems stressful and time restricted. I’ll be having a deep tissue massage followed by a facial. After all, I eat every day.” - Wesley Bonner, HowAboutWe for Couples