Oooooh, here it comes again: Valentine’s Day.
Hopefully you have a sweetheart and some experience with romantic gestures. In that case, you probably don’t need to read any further because you’ve got it handled. But for those of us who have not experienced Valentine’s Day for a while, or don’t feel confident about how to proceed, here are some hints and tips to make your V-Day smoother and more successful.
People tend to feel pretty strongly about V-Day in one of three ways: you really like the romantic attention, you really hate the pressure of romantic expectations, or you feel a bit sad that you don’t have the opportunity for either.
Everybody likes to be acknowledged and validated, especially people who are going out together. Forget the social pressure for a minute: what would make you feel acknowledged, and what would you like to do for your sweetheart so that she or he also feels appreciated? Presumably you like each other, or you wouldn’t be going out together, right? So how hard is it to show that affection on Valentine’s Day?
1. If you really like the romantic attention, but your partner is not especially good at it, make it easier by some discreet preparation. Watch a romantic film, and point out what you like; if you back it up with some affectionate attention, your partner will get the idea that romantic gestures to you will have immediate enjoyable consequences.
2. If you really hate the pressure to be romantic when it’s not your natural inclination, make it easier on yourself by rewarding yourself for both doing research and taking action. First, figure out something relatively painless that your sweetheart would like. It doesn’t have to be unique or spectacular; if you are naturally non-romantic, your partner will be so impressed by any effort that you will get major brownie points no matter what you do – so long as you do something. So ask your sweetheart’s friends, read a magazine (the library has them) or watch a chick-flick to get ideas. There are even books like 1001 Ways to Be Romantic by Gregory Godek, available on Amazon. So… no excuses, just figure out something – anything – that will acknowledge your sweetheart’s place in your life.
3. If you don’t have a sweetheart, maybe it’s time to treat yourself to something special for Valentine’s Day. It’s not the same as having someone give you romantic attention, but it will help reset your desires and expectations at a higher level. Give yourself flowers, take yourself out to dinner, or buy yourself silk underwear in some delicious color. (Guys, this goes for you, too. You never know when silk boxers will come in handy, and they feel great to wear.) Either way, if you give yourself a treat, not only will you feel better, but you will feel less dependent on another person for validation, and be generally less needy. So providing for your own needs and pleasures can be valuable on several levels.
Here’s the key. Gregory Godek, the author of 1001 Ways to Be Romantic, has noticed that women respond to romance while men go for sex. (In my world, we say ‘women are processors, and men are printers’, which amounts to the same thing.) At the end of his book, Godek says this: “Men, if you want more sex, offer romance; women, if you want more romance, offer more sex.”
Depending on the state of your relationship, you may or may not be able to have sex on Valentine’s Day. However, anyone can create romance, even if it’s just for yourself. Like anything else, romance is something you can learn to exercise – and every time it gets easier. I once had a client who claimed that he simply couldn’t do anything romantic for his wife. Given that we are overwhelmed with romance in books, plays, films and ads every day, can it really be possible to have NO romantic ideas? Of course not. So together we worked out a list of small romantic gestures that his wife would like, and that were not costly in time, money or effort; he then accepted the assignment to do one of these every week for three months. I’ll give the guy credit – he did his homework, it was pretty easy, and oh, boy, did his marriage improve!
Never mind what the rest of the world does, or how much money card companies and florists make off Valentine’s Day; consider how good you will feel when your partner feels appreciated by you. We all want to please and to be pleased – to feel that we make the other person happy. So consider what your sweetheart enjoys, and make that little extra effort to show you were thinking about him or her with enough care to create a special experience. Remember, it doesn’t have to be on the 14th… with just a little imagination, you can make every day special for your partner and for yourself.
SFJAZZ Collective with Chick Corea – “Spain”
SFJAZZ Collective and Chick Corea perform “Spain” during SFJAZZ Center’s “Historic Opening Night Concert” on January 23, 2013. The SFJAZZ Collective, which roster includes alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Andre Hayward, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Jeff Ballard, will be recording and releasing a live CD in 2013 featuring the music of Chick Corea.
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