A Season Of Predicaments

10 Feb

Valentine’s Day is the fickle beast of holidays – your feelings towards the fateful day can swing wildly from year to year, and you never know when it will be great, or when it will leave you confused, drunk, and alone.  With all of the fluctuating emotions in the air, it can be tough to be young and (maybe) in love during this time of year.  It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one.

There are plenty of people out there facing predicaments like your own, and we here at Dan Swanky’s have been there ourselves.  We want you to get through this holiday without any broken windows or restraining orders, so we’ve studied a few predicaments common to Valentine’s Day and have come up with some insight.  We are not responsible for whatever happens as a result of taking or ignoring our advice.

1)  Just started hooking up

So you finally got up the courage to make a move on that cute and limber newcomer in your Bikram Yoga class, and a couple of ‘casual meet-ups’ have led to some ‘casual make-out sessions’.  You’re both interested in seeing where this goes, but here comes Valentine’s Day, the rose-tinted elephant in the room.  The first part of any kind of relationship is rife with potential for awkwardness and uncertainty, and when mutual attraction is involved, you can find yourself second-guessing even the smallest of gestures.  If V-Day falls within this early period, all kinds of issues can come up that could ground your love before it gets off the ground.  We’re sorry this happened, but don’t panic just yet.

Probably the biggest problem with this kind of situation is that the holiday forces the issue of love for both people, way too early.  When you both want to keep things casual, the holiday shines the harsh light of True Love upon your relationship and dares you to do something about it.  Neither of you are ready for a candlelit dinner on the beach followed by a marathon lovemaking session over a bed of rose petals, but the fiends behind Kay Jewelers and Hallmark will try to make you think different.  This is time for you to remain impervious to commercial pressures, and find that happy medium between coming on too strong and cutting off all contact until March.

DON’T:  rush to make reservations for two at your nearest Olive Garden.  Probably cancel that Edible Arrangement you had sent to their office, and keep jewelry out of this.  If your new friend brings up the holiday in conversation, don’t panic and try to defuse the situation with a forced joke, like “I’m doing something with my other girlfriend [or boyfriend].”  They won’t laugh, the awkward silence will be deafening, and you also just equated them to a serious relationship.  Pump the brakes.

DO:  acknowledge the holiday and, while keeping it casual, take the opportunity to show that you’re interested in keeping things going with this person.  Throwing alcohol in the mix, with moderation, always helps to alleviate the awkwardness as well.  Maybe go out with a couple friends to a nice bar and invite your casual lover along, or eschew the ‘love’ theme and invite them over for a bottle of wine and a scary movie.  Just not the “Blue Valentine”-type of scary movie.

2)  Playing hard to get

This can be a predicament year-round, but if there’s a special someone that you’ve been admiring for awhile and they’re playing hard to get, then Valentine’s Day presents unique opportunities for both success and failure.  Before you start the wooing process, you should at least be sure that there is a mutual attraction there, because otherwise a restraining order is on the horizon, and Dan Swanky’s does not condone unwanted advances.

Now if this romantic pursuit is a healthy one, then you can use the holiday to impress your crush without going overboard.  They could be playing hard to get for a number of reasons, but if it’s a beautiful girl, there’s a chance she has dozens of other suitors banging down her door, and she needs to see why you’re different.  Of course, we know that you’re different because of your staggeringly awesome personality, but sometimes that charm of yours needs to be supplemented by some romantic gestures, and Valentine’s Day gives you the chance to do that.  If it’s a studly guy that you’re pursuing, he may be inundated with other suitors as well, or he may be too concerned with taping his Lax stick to notice how great you are.  Now is the time to get in his face with romance.

DON’T:  give some generic gift like assorted flowers or a box of chocolates.  Sure, these things are nice and have their place, but you’re trying to show this person that you’re different from everyone else.  Also, don’t come on too strong.  If the object of your affection rebuffs you after your efforts, be an adult about it and walk away with your head held high.  Maybe they’ll remember your dignity and will come around in their own time.  Regardless, the sobbing and love manifestos need to be kept to yourself.

DO:  take the time to think of a unique and personal gift for your potential lover – but make sure it’s one that will come across as thoughtful and not creepy.  For example, if you’ve had a thing for that cute barista who likes photography, why not slide her tickets to a local photo exhibition when you buy your Valentine’s Day coffee?  Hopefully she’ll like your thoughtfulness, and you’ll score cred by appreciating art.  A beautiful night could be in your future.

Also, you can take advantage of the holiday to let your crush know that if they don’t scoop you up, someone else is waiting in the wings.  If you’re interested in that cute guy from Accounting, maybe order up a couple flower arrangements for ‘anonymous’ delivery on the big day.  He’ll walk by your desk and see that if he doesn’t act quick, he’ll lose you for good.  The next thing you know, your Sunday mornings will be full of spreadsheets and  breakfast in bed.

3)  In it for the long haul

If you’ve managed to tiptoe through the minefield of the courtship period and now find yourself happily dating or married to a special someone, then congratulations.  But you can’t rest on your laurels now.  If you’re with someone who treats you well then they’re going to expect you to reciprocate, and like it or not, Valentine’s Day is proving time.

It’s often the traditional view that it comes down to the guy to pull out all the stops for the holiday – he’s got to do something like shower his special lady with chocolate-dipped diamonds while giving her a foot massage.  We’re not saying that guys can’t do that.  But we do want to emphasize that the Big Day runs both ways, ladies.  In a celebration of love, both people should be giving and taking.

DON’T:  do something you saw on one of those jewelry commercials.  Those things seem like they were all written by a 12-year-old girl and filmed in 1993, then re-run every year during sporting events to make guys feel guilty for blacking out on a Sunday.  You can get jewelry, but make it something nice or personal, not a trinket based on a doodle done by Dr. Quinn the Medicine Woman.  In addition – we said it before, but don’t rent “Blue Valentine.”  That’s a very well-made movie, but trust us, things will turn cold quickly.

DO:  something unexpected.  If you’ve been together for a while, your go-to romantic moves and gifts have probably been played out at this point.  She knows you can play “Wonderful Tonight” on your ukulele.  He’s seen your cheerleader outfit before.  Nothing quickens the heart rate like an unexpected surprise, so think outside of the box this year.  A little bit of themed roleplay never hurt anybody – maybe you show up at the front door in a Geek Squad outfit and ask about her hard drive issues.  Or maybe you bribe the owner of your local theater and get a midnight screening of his favorite movie, while you two run it back to high school with some heavy petting in the back row.  Get crazy.

Part Two of Swanky’s Guide to Predicament Season is coming soon, with a little bonus advice from our resident Steed on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern dating scene.


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