Valentine's Day Etiquette

Is chivalry dead? No way! Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips for making the day memorable.

Richie Frieman,
February 12, 2012
Episode #188

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This past week, I was interviewed by Canada’s Sharp magazine regarding the act (and art) of chivalry nowadays. And after the story went live, I received a lot of audience feedback. One thing I found surprising was that many people view chivalry as a dying art, like that of ‘90s style airbrushing on t-shirts (unless you live at the Jersey Shore). To me, chivalry is about being romantic and thoughtful, regardless of how much money you spend or how extravagant you are. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to flex your chivalry muscles.

People have mixed emotions about Valentine’s Day. If you are in love, Valentine’s Day feels great. But if you are not, it’s the worst thing in the world – or so my single friends have told me. I for one, think Valentine’s Day should be every day, and I’m not saying that just to win brownie points with my wife (although I should).

So before you head out to buy your sweetheart a giant heart-shaped card, a pound of chocolates, and 5 dozen roses, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for proper Valentine’s Day etiquette:

Tip #1 – Forget Everything You Know About Valentine’s Day

Thanks to Hallmark, we are brainwashed to think that on every February 14th we have to go to the ends of the earth to showcase our love for that special someone. Whether you’ve been married for decades or just started dating, Valentine’s Day can make us all go mad. But isn’t that what Hallmark wants? It’s like the diamond commercials where they say that you have to spend three months’ salary on a diamond ring. Really? Says who? Oh, that’s right, the company SELLING the diamonds. If that’s how all businesses worked, we’d be spending a week’s salary on a pair of jeans. But consumer scams aside, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to make people feel that they have to do something one way and one way only. This, my friends, is highly incorrect.

Valentine’s Day is about love, and nothing else. What kind of love? For whom? Well, that’s up to you.  The proper way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to celebrate it with those you love, in all aspects of your life. That’s why I say it’s time to turn the tables on Valentine’s Day and stop focusing on the fact February 14th is strictly about romance. Send your mom a card, your dad, your kids, your best friend. Spread the love, my friends! As I said before, when you love someone – anyone – it’s best to let them know all the time, but Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show how you feel in a unique way that doesn’t involve you killing yourself (or going broke) in the process.

Tip #2 – Be Creative

For Valentine’s Day there is a standard list that we’ve been convinced we have to follow:

  1. Flowers? Check.

  2. Candy? Check.

  3. Balloons? Check.

  4. Romantic Dinner? Check.

  5. Ridiculously overpriced gift? Unfortunately… Check.

Now look, I’m not by any means saying these things aren’t great – well, except for #5. But come on folks, it’s 2012, let’s mix things up a little and get creative. After all, there is nothing more romantic than doing something unexpected to show your affection.

For starters, as I said in my interview with Sharp magazine, showing your affection does not mean you have to spend a fortune. As well, it does not mean you have to stick to the norm. Take flowers, for example – a Valentine’s Day staple – instead of buying overpriced roses wrapped in the typical cellophane, what about putting the flowers in a unique vase that you found at a cool antique store? Or, making your own wrapping out of construction paper, by hand writing the lyrics to your loved one’s favorite song. 

For dinner, pick the place your loved one likes, not just a place that you think is the “best” because the local paper says so. Make it nice, of course, but make it worth your while. After all, nothing kills a mood faster than making your loved one wonder, “What were they thinking?”


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