Valentine’s Day survival guide for men

Attention, men! Valentine’s Day is only six days away.

While the day of overpriced bouquets, oversized teddy bears and outsized expectations can make most any man nervous, I am here to lend a hand. Follow this survival guide, and you’ll be sitting pretty Tuesday night.

*Originality over flashy*

Sure, taking your girl to a fancy dinner may stoke the flame, but what does that really prove? Any guy with sufficient paper can do that. Think about your relationship’s history. Are there any restaurants that hold unique meaning? Perhaps a return to the highlight would work. If not, think about your girl’s favorite meal. Find a place nearby known for that dish and make a reservation. Tell your girl she’s got a date at a certain time and pick her up. Be on time and show her you thought ahead.

*Consider your bank roll*

Dinner plans leaving you broke? Time to downsize. A bouquet of your lady’s favorite flowers never hurts. Or maybe you could cook for her. A bottle of wine, a home cooked meal and a cozy spot on the couch can be much more intimate than a packed, noisy restaurant. Heck, even a walk to the spot you first asked her out can do the trick. Start with a seemingly aimless path and find a way to end up where you want to be. Stop, give her a little look and make the move. Let her know you remember where it all started and look forward to continued growth.

*Be reasonable*

Look, your new relationship might be off to a great start, but don’t get ahead of yourself. A few years back, I remember my buddy buying a $250 ring for his girlfriend of six months. Naturally, she loved it, which meant he did too. And as young relationships often go, they broke up a month later. While Valentine’s Day can make an impression, relationships are about the long haul, not inappropriately magnificent overtures of grandeur. Also, if you are trying to land a girl on Valentine’s Day, don’t go over the top. A simple gift and an admission of your interest can be enough to make any single girl’s day memorable.

*Use the element of surprise*

Don’t have class Tuesday morning? Take advantage. Run by your girl’s place before her first class and make her breakfast. Maybe you could even get her roommates involved. Coordinate with them to ensure they keep your girl out of the kitchen until breakfast is ready. She’s got an 8 a.m.? Roommates could help to set up something special in your lady’s room while she is out. Whatever combination of gifts you bought will look a whole lot cooler when your girl nearly steps on them after class. Just wait for the thank you call and ride the gentleman roll to an easy day.

Valentine’s Day can look like a minefield for many a man but a bit of planning ahead can get you through. Despite all the hullaballoo, it is just another day on the calendar. If it is not time to reveal yourself as someone’s secret admirer, wait. And for all you taken guys out there, play it cool. A little creativity and panache can make the holiday your own, not Hallmark’s.

_Phil is a senior in Media._