CUPID WINGMAN: FUN VALENTINE’S-RELATED ACTIVITIES

So this is what the other side of the country looks like…palm trees and low buildings. Who knew? Miss Wingman arrived safely in the City of Angels and has been soaking up the landscape (and losing her cell phone, screaming at her GPS and discovering how many things she forgot to pack) ever since. Good times!

But, as promised, I’m delivering with ideas to make your Valentine’s Day a little more interesting this year. I’m splitting the list into NYC and LA and starting with activities prior to the 14th, because who needs to adhere to calendar confines? Psshht, not this girl.

My biggest piece of advice for you is that you should aim to find new and unusual ways to have fun with the woman in your life (or man, whatever). Whether it’s something low key like sipping wine on the porch, or something spontaneous like a spur of the moment road trip, find the thing that suits who you are as a couple. There’s nothing more endearing than coordinating something that’s just so you, in our eyes. But before I get my list on, I leave you with one more kernel of Cupid-related wisdom. This one’s an oldie but goodie from my early advice days, but it’s classic Miss Wingman in tone (read: you can practically wring the sarcasm out of it). Enjoy.

For NYC lovebirds…

Get her dirt rock on (OK fine, hair metal, whatever): Guns N’ Roses at Roseland. You’re welcome. 2/10

Is she a fan of man’s best friend? If she can’t get into any Fashion Week events, no worries. Hit up the New Yorkie Runway Show at the pet-friendly New Yorker hotel. And no, I’m not making this up. 2/10

Does she love a man who can drain 3′s? The Knicks/Lakers game at the Garden is a solid choice (despite claims that sporting events are more for you than her – nonsense). Who needs Kobe when we have Lin and Novak – heck, ‘Melo can stay gone for all I care. Nothing says love like some hoops. 2/10

Keep her warm: What’s cooler than ice carving? Nothing. Check out the Ice Festival at Tavern in Central Park and watch the pros chip blocks of ice into Central Park icons. Cool! 2/11

Does she like wiseguys? NYC has no shortage of mob-related walking tours down in Little Italy, but this one’s a good place to start. *Note: If she prefers a more Kosher mafia, there’s also a Jewish Gangster tour. True Story. 2/11 or 2/16

Give her the gift of hockey: Is she a Lundqvist girl? Or maybe she prefers Ovechkin (I’m a Brooks girl, myself). Either way, the Rangers take on the Caps at the Garden. Guaranteed good time. 2/12

If you can’t serenade her, let someone else do it: B.B. Kings is hosting a Valentine’s Eve concert featuring the Harlem Gospel Choir. You haven’t heard people sing ’til you’ve heard this. 2/13

Maker her laugh: Cedric the Entertainer and Friends Valentine’s Show at the Beacon, because funny is sexy, too. 2/14

Say “I Do” all over again: Renew your vows at the Celebrate Love in Times Square event with a zillion other couples. How intimate! 2/14

Get your Capulet on: Nothing is more romantic than the New York City Ballet performing Romeo & Juliet on Valentine’s Day? She gets to see men in tights, and you get points for sitting through it. The things you do for love… 2/14

Does she love a good blow out? Yeaaaaah buddy! DJ Pauly D is at Pacha Valentine’s night. If she’s a Shore-head and you set this up, she’ll probably be DTF. 2/14

Put her in the mood: Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque show at the Highline. Need I say more? 2/14

For west coast lovers…

If she likes drummers…or tattoos: Travis Barker is at The Roxy on 2/10

If novelty is her thing: Bring out her competitive (and spooky) side at this Haunted Hollywood Valentine’s weekend scavenger hunt, 2/10

If classical is more her style: Take her to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic on 2/11

For the girl who loves guys who play piano (and most of us do): The Fray is playing at The Troubador on 2/11

…Or the girl who just can’t get enough ?uest Love: The Roots (yes!) are playing at the House of Blues on 2/11

For the hipster in her: Young the Giant will be at the Wiltern on 2/11

For the sappy girl: Overdose on love at the ArcLight classic romance movie festival on 2/12

If she’s always wanted to dirty dance: You don’t have to be on Dancing With The Stars to dazzle, there’s a Tango workshop on 2/12

If you feel like watching her drool over another man: Robin Thicke is playing at the Nokia on 2/14. Swoon.

If she’s more baller than ballad girl: As with the above mention, women like sports too (well, cool women at least). There’s a Lakers/Hawks game on 2/14 or a Clips/Wizards game on 2/15 if she’s a Griffin or Paul fan (and you can convince her to wait).

Or, if you find yourself solo before Tuesday, you can always try speed dating, held 2/14 all over, but this boozy Valentine’s one sounds like fun.

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HOLIDAY GIRL GIFTS: RULES TO LIVE BY

‘Tis the season for crackling fireplaces, cozy sweaters and holiday cheer…annnnnnd guys scratching their heads in utter gift-giving confusion. Fear not, men, I’m here to help. With all of the cheesy Holiday Gift Guides being offered, I think it’s better to hear the brutal truth, for girls from a girl. Consider me Santa’s little smartass elf this year (the best kind, in my opinion).

Starting tomorrow, I will be bringing you Miss Wingman’s 12 Days of Fail Safe Girl Gifts, a comprehensive guide of suggestions and advice. That way, if she hates your present, you can blame me. A lot of pressure? Maybe, but I’m up for the challenge.

But, before I kick off my list, I wanted to offer you some guidelines that hopefully will serve you well in your pursuit of the perfect present. As long as you keep these points in mind, she’s sure to unwrap something stellar this year.

  • Know Your Audience: The single most important ingredient in a successful gift is playing into her likes and dislikes. Guys always get hung up on the cost or the originality, neither are terribly crucial. It’s not about the thing, it’s about the person – always remember that.
  • You Can’t Go Wrong With A Memory: Since we seem to be OD’ing on “stuff” nowadays, try giving her something she really wants – your time. Find something fun for both of you to do together and book it. Just remember to keep the above rule in mind when choosing said activity (despite your best intentions, a technology-free cabin getaway for a Blackberry addicted workaholic may cause her to short circuit, get the idea?).
  • Never Buy Us Clothes: Unless there is an item that you are DEAD CERTAIN she wants, you’ve seen her try it on and know her size, never ever ever buy a woman clothing, it’s too personal. We’re picky, we body obsess, it’s a disaster. Just avoid it, trust me.
  • It’s About Our Taste, Not Yours: Does she like heart-shaped things? No? Then you’d do well to avoid them, boys. While you tend to think we like anything sparkly and girly, some of us pass on pinks, hate hearts and don’t even get me started on glitter and fur. *Note, this extends to gifts that are more for you than us. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again: lingerie and Lakers tickets are only altruistic if you’re dating Carmen Electra or Marv Albert.
  • Cost Is Not Nearly As Important As You Think: Unless your woman has shown you she cares about price tags – and believe me, if this is her you’ll know – don’t get hung up on how it looks in our eyes. Some of my most favorite gifts ever have been modestly priced. The key is thoughtful, thoughtful, thoughtful. 
  • Use Your Resources: Does she have a best friend she tells everything to? A sister she goes shopping with? Anyone in her inner circle who would know? Use this person as a sounding board. Two minds are always better than one.
  • Grand Gestures Are Appreciated But Unnecessary: If you tend to be an over-the-top kind of guy, that’s your decision. But that doesn’t mean what she finds under the tree (or menorah, we’re equal opportunity advice-givers here) has to be an all expenses paid cruise or a constellation named in her honor. The pressure to do such things usually comes from within, playing it safe is just fine by us.
  • Give Back: You cannot go wrong with a gift that involves some sort of charitable donation, helping people in her name, a memorial to one of her loved ones, or even a scholarship or endowment. If she blisters when she learns that there’s nothing “tangible” to unwrap, you might have a grinch on your hands.
  • Avoid Living Gifts Unless You Know She’s Up For The Responsibility: If she’s dying for a pet (and her plants have a good survival rate) then you’re probably safe. But if she can’t even remember to pay her rent on time, have mercy on the poor creature who has to call her mommy.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Do It Yourself: Making her dinner, writing her a song or building/planting something with your own two hands is a meaningful way to say you care. Of course, it might also say that you’re cheap (kidding!) but mostly, it says that you put some time into making sure she likes it – which is appreciated year ’round.
  • Give It To Her Privately Unless You’re Confident She’ll Love It: Nothing says “Ho Ho How could you?!” like putting her on the spot. Yikes.
  • You Can’t Go Wrong With Personalization: Monogramming isn’t just for The Donald anymore, and these days you can even customize your candy. Finding a way to incorporate an anniversary, her initials or even just engraving a phrase is the kind of thing we go crazy over.

That’s it for now. I’ll get more specific beginning tomorrow, but for now think about all of this when you’re hitting the stores – actual or online. I’ll also be breaking it down into what type of woman each gift is great for, what it says about you, and how long you should be dating before you give her each present, just to avoid the awkward sound of crickets. Rest easy guys, I’ve got you covered.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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