Ditch the Flowers and Chocolates this Valentine’s: Do Something Different!

Opinion

I would ask that we all boycott Valentine’s Day this year (I can hear someone say “What is dis one saying? Boycott koh, Boycott ni!”). But that’s just because the last three Val’s days have found me either not in a serious enough relationship to get any grand gestures or in a relationship with someone…

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I would ask that we all boycott Valentine’s Day this year (I can hear someone say “What is dis one saying? Boycott koh, Boycott ni!”). But that’s just because the last three Val’s days have found me either not in a serious enough relationship to get any grand gestures or in a relationship with someone who doesn’t really believe in celebrating Valentine’s Day. Selfish, I know. But a girl can dream. Watching people get all mushy and loving and ‘gifted’ can make me a tad jealous. So it would be easier if we just shut it down, instead of me trying not to see what is happening around me, or trying not to be jealous.

However, apart from the fact that no one would listen to my cries for the boycott, it would be unfair to try to stop the huge volume of business that ‘love’ generates in Lagos, Nigeria and the world at large. So Valentine’s Day will hold.

Now, since I’m letting y’all have your Valentine’s, I’ve decided to make it a little more fun for myself by sending out a challenge. The background? Valentine’s Day has become so trite because people are lazy, and just prefer to take the easy way out. The boys just get a gifting company to send flowers and chocolates. And the girls? Well, the girls don’t do much. Because they’re too busy expecting flowers and chocolates to be sent to them. Nobody gives thoughtful gifts anymore, because putting together a thoughtful gift requires time and effort, and many of us just can’t do that.

So my challenge for you (yes, you who are planning to just send flowers, and you who are planning to do nothing) this year is to do away with the usual ‘easy’ stuff and do something different. I’ve made it easier for you by jotting down a few ideas that you could try as is or improve upon, and I dare you to pick one, implement it and come back here to report to the community on how it went.

Be warned, these might not work for everyone, and they might not entirely cut out flowers and chocolates, but they should get your creative juices flowing and you can come up with even better, more thoughtful plans. After all, you know your S.O. better than anyone else.

‘100 reasons why I love you’

You can write a little book, each page containing one thing in particular that you love about this person. And I’m not talking things like nice boobs and hot pectorals. You’ve got to be more creative and much less superficial. This is a good exercise as well, because it helps you take the time to really think about this person that you care about and helps you appreciate them more. Believe me, it’s not an easy task. By the time you get to No.10, you might find yourself biting the cap of your pen. But challenge yourself, and push through. You’ll be glad you did. Plus, you’d have given your significant other something really thoughtful that they can smile about every time and really cherish. My recommendation is to have it hand written, so it seems even more personal. And you can have it bound in a beautiful and personalized hard cover so that it becomes a keepsake. This is one gift that will give a hundred times at least. Oh, and if you decide to go this route, you better start writing now. 100 is a long ways away.

7 days of Valentine

Are you one of those who like to say that everyday should ordinarily be Valentine’s Day? Well, here’s your chance to try it. Give a gift every day of that week; small and thoughtful, and a short (corny) message to go with it. You could try a piece of jewellery or an item of clothing for Day 1. Day 2 could be something that’s related to his/her interests. For example, a book about his favourite sport, if he likes to read or a nice poster/calendar for his room or office, or branded merchandize, or tickets to a game (if there’s one he can go to). And your message could read ‘I hate that you love football, but I’m not afraid of a little competition.’ For her, you could get a gift voucher for a day at the spa and the message could read ‘I know how good this makes you feel. But I’m betting on the fact that I make you feel better.’

Try something ‘sexy’ for day 3 – a pack of cards with different sex positions on the back for him and a message that promises he can pick any card on any day of the week; or sexy lingerie for her telling her exactly when and how you want her to wear it. You can do something sweet/edible for day 4 – her favourite dessert (maybe a bouquet of doughnuts if she’s a fan of doughnuts – that would definitely make her smile), or his favourite wine/liquor and a quirky card; something practical for day 5, like a gadget or a home item.

She would appreciate a throw pillow that’s personalized with a message that reminds her of a happy memory you both shared or an inside joke. He might appreciate a copy of the latest instalment of his favourite PS4 game. Ladies, ask his friend(s) for help if you can’t get your head around this one. You could also gift a magazine subscription for a year – GQ, Men’s Health or whatever else he likes to read for him; Cosmo, Women’s Health, Vogue or whatever else for her. And you can think up other stuff for the other days as you go along.

It’s up to you to either start the gift giving 6 days before Valentine’s Day or continue giving 6 days after Valentine’s Day, or just give the entire week of the 14th. The whole point is to draw it out and keep them excited, wondering what would come the next day. Remember to figure out a way to signal the end of the gift giving on the final day, so that they’re not expecting something on Day 8.

Valentine Treasure Hunt

Does he/she like puzzles, or at least have the patience to figure one out? If the answer is yes, they’d love this one. Leave a series of clues, leading him/her to find either a number of gifts, or items that you have planned to be part of a romantic evening. Or a combination of both. You might also decide on one ‘big’ gift (maybe an engagement ring if it’s that time of the relationship, though they say proposing on Val’s day is cliché) which will be the focus of the entire hunt. Otherwise, give him/her clues leading to a location where you can surprise him/her with a not-so-clichéd dinner, perhaps prepared by a popular chef, or atop a rooftop that has been romantically decked out just for the both of you. Call in any favours you can to get the best experience. But above all, be practical. Don’t make the clues too difficult to figure out or the tasks too difficult to do. You certainly don’t want them getting frustrated or bored with the whole thing.

Go old school

Make a mix of his/her favourite secondary school and/or university music (like we used to do with CDs way back), stuff that will bring back happy memories and get him/her singing along. Add a character T-shirt (if you can find a ‘Danger Mouse’ or a ‘Voltron’) or a talking tee (I found one on Konga that said ‘This is what an amazing man looks like’) for him. Or a bottle of that old school perfume she had saved so hard to buy when she was in SSS3 (the old Givenchy’s or Issey Miyake’s). Throw in a charm bracelet with at least one charm having a personalized engraving (for her), or a nice leather or beaded man-bracelet for him. You could replace the bracelet with a wrist watch, if he’s not the bracelet type (try Casio, to continue with the old school theme) and add a bottle of cologne. Watch them smile as they remember those pivotal moments in their childhood or college days. Don’t we just love warm, fuzzy feelings?

Plan a fun day in

Get some sexy adult games and spend the day indoors. Sexy Truth or Dare, Strip Poker, Monogamy, Twister are games that are guaranteed to bring you guys closer, create intimacy, and of course bring hours of fun as you get to know each other even better. What’s a Valentine’s Day without laughing out loud, competing with each other and getting some good old sexy time at the end? Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get a card or a nice meal (you guys will need to eat). But planning a day in with each other takes off the pressure of trying to impress your S.O. and their friends with a big gesture.

Besides, if you guys don’t enjoy yourselves (which I seriously doubt), you never have to tell anyone that it was a flop, because they weren’t there to see it. You can just pretend you had a really great, quiet time (like I do these days. Lol). Don’t forget to put some structure to it, like an order of activities. It’s important that he/she sees that some planning and thought has gone into it. Add a few quirks, like wearing a pair of boxers with a corny message or panties that say something sexy (very useful for strip poker). And don’t be afraid to add a dramatic flair to the presentation since it’s just the both of you. You could serve dinner dressed as a waiter (or wearing nothing). If you feel like your apartment won’t do for creating a romantic atmosphere, pay for a nice hotel room and get the hotel management to help you out with champagne, flower petals and candles (if they’ll let you).

Or a fun day out

I know it might seem anti-productive romantically to plan a fun day out. But romance isn’t always all about quiet cosy moments and candle light and soft music. You can get the same, or even better results when you get the adrenaline going together. I know Valentine’s Day falls during the week this year, so how about you skip work (if you both can manage that), have a nice breakfast at an upscale place and then go paint balling, go-carting, jet skiing or quad-biking (a combination of at least two of the activities is ideal)? Add some ‘sweets’ to the occasion – you can’t go wrong with decadent ice cream – and don’t forget to bring your gift and a card (or no card if he/she is not a card type). By the time the day is over, you’ll both be pleasantly exhausted, but I’m sure you’ll be able to muster the energy to end the day with a bang, pun intended.

Photo collage

Put together your best pictures together and pictures you’ve taken of him/her when they weren’t aware or even when they were. You should start capturing some of those moments now. Take a camera if you have one or just use your phone. He/she’ll think you’re just taking pictures. But then they’d be pleasantly surprised when you deliver a multi-picture frame with some of those pictures. Have a message carved into the bottom ledge of the frame; be as thoughtful and romantic as you can be. Or simply say something nice like ‘I will cherish these moments always’ or ‘This is how I’ll always think of you’. You can be sure that every time they walk past that collage and look at the pictures, they’ll smile.

Do the usual unusually

So, yes. You can go ahead and do flowers and chocolates, if that’s what you’re hell bent on. But how about you do it differently? Instead of having them delivered to her office or at her home during the day, you be the ‘delivery boy’ and surprise her in the morning before she leaves for work/school or whatever it is she does all day. I can guarantee you that she’ll have a smile on her face for the rest of the day. And ladies, the same applies to you; surprise the bobo by showing up with whatever you have for him. If what you have is you (*wink*), he’ll have his best Valentine’s day yet.

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This is by no means exhaustive, but I’ve just about drained all my brain juice trying to come up with ideas. Would be great to get some help, so why don’t you tell us in the comments section about any unconventional Val’s day ideas you have or have seen?

And if you’re going to try any of the above, let us know, so we can hound you for the results!

Happy celebrations!

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