If a brownie swirl sundae's what he really wants, why buy him a heart-shaped box of chocolates?
By Nikki Metzgar for HowAboutWe
Valentine's Day is coming -- and store aisles (and restaurant ads) are practically shouting at you that heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and expensive roast duck dinners for two are the components of a romantic evening. We all know that's not true for everyone, but now comes the hard part-actually figuring out what is romantic in time for your Valentine's Day date.
Keep things personalized
In other words, be thoughtful. The most romantic thing you can do is show that you know the person you're in a relationship with and act on that knowledge. Maybe the best night your girlfriend could dream of is to get drunk on margaritas and go home for sex. So why take her for a steak dinner? Maybe he loves cooking, and you don't care for it, but you spring for the sushi making class anyway. A dozen red roses might be romantic in Hollywood, but it wont mean a thing to the girl who loves lilies, just like an expensive watch won't woo the guy who doesn't like to wear one.
Related: Our Complete Guide to Valentine's Day
Planning the date together is a great way to create more bonding time and to make sure everyone's expectations are met. But if you haven't agreed to do that, the last thing you want to do is wait until the last minute and ask, "What do you want to do tonight?" Taking charge and having a plan means that you've put some thought into it. Even if it's just an out of the way snow cone shack or your favorite BYOB Vietnamese restaurant, it takes the burden off the other person to come up with something fun to do and it reveals a little more about you.
Related: 4 Ways to Plan a Pressure-Free Valentine's Day
Remember that less is more
More stuff isn't necessary more romantic. You could stuff 100 pens into a vase for your girlfriend who's a writer, or ship 20 boxes of her favorite cookie to her apartment, but what is she really going to do with that? Lots of gifts doesn't signify a lot more love-in fact, it sometimes means the opposite-and it can pressure her to show gratitude in a way she isn't comfortable with. A date doesn't have to have five elaborate parts and a horse-drawn carriage to make an impact. Write a heart-felt note, buy the one ice cream sundae (better for sharing) and light only one candle, if you have to have candles at all.
Related: 4 Signs You're Doing "The Crazy Girl Thing"
Nikki Metzgar is a writer from Texas. She thinks the best first dates don't include sit down dinners, but can't help but be impressed by flowers.