ROMANCE WINGMAN: VALENTINE’S DAY DO’S AND DON’TS

So much has been written about Valentine’s Day that even the journalistically inclined are hard pressed to find a new way to tackle the subject. Taking the straight route, for example, dictates that we make some romantic comparison to a timely subject – like, oh…I don’t know…politics, as found here. Gosh, what a well-crafted argument, whoever wrote that must be pretty clever (or just shamefully self-promoting – your call).

Or there’s the statistical route, which isn’t flowery but still pretty damn interesting, like this compilation of cupid-related numbers. Eleven thousand children conceived on Valentine’s Day on average?! Ew, that’s more information than I needed…

But my personal favorite read as of late was about Valenswine’s Day, the day before Valentine’s when men take their mistresses out for a romantic tryst (hey, it’s better than double booking, right?)

This year, however, my contribution to the lovers melting pot is a 2012-themed Do’s and Don’ts list for both singles and couples. True, it may have been done before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still fun.

For the attached:

DO try to avoid flaunting your syrupy sweet relationship details on Facebook or Twitter. Uploading excessive pictures of your gigantic floral arrangement or giving us the play by play of all of the things “the very best boyfriend/husband/fiancee in the whole world” did for you today tends to get on people’s nerves. Also, please try not to profess your love in 140 characters or less. The words “marry me” should never come with a hashtag in front of them, in my opinion.

Men: DON’T pawn off a gift that really serves your purposes as something you think we’d enjoy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: giving lingerie and sports tickets is only altruistic if you’re dating Adriana Lima or Marv Albert. *Miss Wingman note - if you’re dating a woman who would love to hit up an NBA game on Valentine’s Day, marry her. She rocks.

DO recreate a fond memory with your beloved. If your first date was for Dim Sum in Chinatown and then a John Hughes revival at local theater, why not relive it? (And if it’s not possible, ordering in Chinese and Netflix’ing The Breakfast Club works, too).

DON’T be afraid to Do It Yourself for a gift. If you’re particularly good at something (cooking, playing music, etc.) now is a good time to showcase your skills. Just don’t go that route if you’re known for being notoriously cheap – homemade is endearing, but not if your reputation precedes you.

DON’T ignore the holiday entirely, even if your significant other swears that she hates Valentine’s and couldn’t care less about it. Fact: 53% of women say that they’d break up with someone if they didn’t receive a present on Valentine’s Day. So even if it’s just a card, give Cupid a nod. Or else.

For the unattached:

DON’T get drunk and text or call your ex. Likewise, don’t check their Facebook page or e-stalk them – it will not make you feel better – especially if they’ve moved onto someone else. The past is the past for a reason, leave it that way.

DON’T try to DTR (Define The Relationship) with someone with whom you’ve been casually hooking up. This is not to be confused with being DTF (Down To…you know), which everyone should be on Valentine’s Day. Right, Pauly D?

DO start fresh by eliminating painful reminders of your old flames on Facebook, G-chat or your mobile device (a clean slate is better than looking backward, after all), but DON’T do anything drastic, like overhauling your life. Joining every single dating website (and downloading dating apps), buying a whole new wardrobe and signing up for the next casting of The Bachelor is excessive, FYI.

DO turn the negative (read: a recent break up) into a positive. It turns out angst is great fuel for creativity, so find a way to channel it. Hey, it worked for Adele, didn’t it?

DON’T be a cliche. The idea of the embittered single female – or in rare cases, male – isn’t amusing, it’s just plain angry. Please avoid blasting “F*%k You” music or going to see a midnight showing of Carrie, it’s not helping your cause (or making the rest of us look good).

For both:

DON’T sext half naked (or worse) pictures of yourself to anyone, whether you’re in a relationship or not. Have we learned nothing from Anthony Weiner, people?

But DO spread the love. Remember how much fun Valentine’s Day was as a kid? You don’t have to write tiny cards to all of your coworkers, but dropping Hershey’s Kisses or conversation hearts on your neighbor’s desk is fun way to be nostalgic. Everybody loves a little kitsch once in a while, right?

And there you have it, Miss Wingman’s take on this hot button holiday. Sure, some may hate Valentine’s Day because it, following closely on the heels of the other dreaded singles holiday, New Year’s Eve, provides the one-two punch we can’t avoid. It’s like a tandem assault-by-calendar, if you choose to view it that way. But I’d prefer to think of it as just another opportunity to make someone else smile – and there’s nothing wrong with that. And, if you still can’t get behind it, just know that your own Valentine’s misery is probably nothing compared to this guy’s. My love to you all, today and always.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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THE EX-FILES: WHAT WE DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR FORMER FLAME

The holidays are a time for reflecting. But what if, while looking back, there’s a figure in your rear view mirror that your current passenger isn’t too thrilled to hear about? When it comes to exes, there’s a fine line to put us at ease about how you regard her; Too fondly may mean you two still talk often (or hang out – which doesn’t sit well with most women). But, if you never mention your past, you may have us wondering if your love ended with a restraining order, or if she’s currently at the bottom of a river somewhere? No one’s so detached that you move on and nary breathe a word, after all.

Whatever your status with your former flame, there are a few things that your current (or potential) love interest will be none too pleased to learn about the One That Came Before. Just like most men don’t want to hear that our ex is the heir to a (fill in the blank) fortune with McConaughey’s good looks, Gosling’s sensitivity and the anatomical endowments of Wahlberg in “Boogie Nights,” there are certain things we hate to hear, too. So if your ex fits the following bill, perhaps it’s best to play your cards close to your chest:

A Model of Any Kind: Whether her bod graced the pages of an LL Bean catalog or, God help us all, a Victoria’s Secret glossy, why not do us a favor and keep that your little secret, too? Normally I’d tell you to always be up front, never lie by omission, but in this case that news may just mess with her head more than any normal woman can handle. No matter how confident a female is, we almost always compare ourselves to our peers. And, if you inform her that her peers now include genetically gifted chicks who don lingerie for a living, her head may just explode. Seriously, how would you feel if we told you we used to sleep with a Ryan Reynolds look-alike (or worse, the real thing)? Mum’s the word, boys.

A Do-Gooder: Does your ex volunteer for the Peace Corps? Is she healing the world one under-developed country at a time in Doctors Without Borders? Does she rescue orphans from war-torn regions? Yeah, this is a little too Angelina Jolie for your average woman to handle. It’s one thing to volunteer her time on a relatively local level – many of us do that, and enjoy it immensely – but if she’s off globetrotting or started her own Nonprofit, those are some big shoes to fill. We should all do good just for the sake of doing good, but that bar is set pretty high, don’t ya think?

She Lived With You (or worse, you two were engaged): No one takes a relationship to that level unless you’re really serious with that person. People break up and move on every day, but there’s something about the permanence this once showed that makes it hard for the one who’s with you now to ever feel like she’ll be as much of a presence in your life. Sad but true, and tricky to work around.

A Semi-Pro, Pro or Otherwise-Gifted Athlete: Two words, David Beckham. OK fine, maybe that’s not a fair comparison…But seriously, girls who have skills on the field or on the court are a tough act to follow – even if her name isn’t Hope Solo or Maria Sharapova. And being a female who’s good at something sports-related is about as good as it gets (unless she’s built like a Williams sister or is gender ambiguous, a la Beijing Olympics – not hot).

Granted, we know we shouldn’t worry about making such comparisons, but would you like it if she told you Once upon a time she dated Derek Jeter or Mark Sanchez? Or C.J. Wilson, or Cam Newton (I could go on and on here boys…) Right, didn’t think so.

Bi-Sexual or just Bi-Curious: We’re aware of your fantasy to see us with another girl, but if your ex actually WAS with another girl, that’s not just dipping our big toe in to test the same-sex waters, that’s diving head first into the deep end of the pool. I’m all for people being with whomever makes them happy, male or female, but that little tidbit may just make her feel like she’d never be seen as adventurous enough to entertain you in bed.

An Identical Twin: You boys and your fantasies again… We know, twins are twice the fun. So, even if you only dated one half of that novelty pair, at some point you still swam in the Doublemint Commercial pond, and probably liked it. Nothing we can do about this one, but still not terribly reassuring.

An Adrenaline-Junkie: Was she A) a pilot, B) a race car driver, C) an extreme sports enthusiast (read: she loved skydiving, motorcycle riding or snowboarding half-pipes) or D) a crack shot with a firearm? If so, we will immediately begin to wonder why you are now dating a regulation female like us. Even if your ex’s adventurous ways were too much for you to handle, it’ll still be hard to hear that you once shared a bed with a badass.

A Singer or Actress: This one is less “actress,” since the definition of that word is shamefully loose these days, and more “someone in the public eye.” If your ex had Adele’s pipes or used-to-be-on-that-television-show-about-that-guy, those types of run-ins are hard to avoid. Even if you swear that you’ve learned to resist her siren song, your current beau might not believe you. And she might have to stop watching TV or listening to the radio, too. Would you like it if our ex was a triple threat, of the Timberlake variety? No one would, hell I’ve known straight males who crush hard on that guy. But you get the idea.

Granted, in a perfect world your relationship record would be expunged, and we would all forget that anyone came before us. Women – and men, for that matter – prefer to feel like they were the first pioneers to, er…explore your land. But that’s not realistic.

Don’t ever lie about your past, lest you seem like you’re making a bigger deal out of something that wasn’t. Just realize that, once you’ve told us your ex fits into one of these categories, it might take us a minute to process the news. Then, it’s out there and you should answer any questions she has about it, but don’t dwell on it – move on as quickly as possible.

Making the one you’re with feel like she’s the only one that matters is important, but it’s also a two-way street. If you reassure her and she’s still stuck on it, or can’t shake her insecurities, then you’re dealing with a much larger problem. The confident woman will always prevail…just as long as your ex’s name isn’t Giselle.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

 

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