Assuming you’ve managed to find a date online (or in the traditional way) then one of the most important dates in the romantic calender is creeping up on you and it’s time to think about what to do to make it go with a swing.

Traditionally it’s the man who makes the running when setting up Valentines day treats but increasingly women are taking a leading role. We’re presenting a few tips today that should help you out regardless of your gender, but you might recognize that there is a theme to them that normally applies to the failings of men rather than women.

So sue us
Anyway, if you want all the work you put into getting a date to pay off, the best advice is: don’t make a mess of Valentines day. And to help you along, here’s 5 simple tips to take away with you.

1. Make an Effort!
You’d be surprised how many people think that turning up on someone’s doorstep empty-handed is the right way to set up a perfect valentine’s day. Well… durrr. You don’t have to break the bank, but turning up in your scruffiest jeans and T-Shirt with a pocketful of good intentions is rarely the way to someone’s heart. Small gestures like a simple bunch of flowers or old favorites like chocolates are all you need to show someone that you’ve given them a little bit of thought.

2. Plan!
I’ll admit here and now this is where I fall down myself! Events like the theater and restaurants get booked up weeks in advance. If you’re planning on a trip somewhere special don’t rely on being able to phone up the night before and get a table or seat. Your date isn’t going to be that impressed if you end up in McDonald’s, whispering sweet nothings over a Big Mac.

3. Don’t be a Tightwad!
Even if you’ve ended at McDonald’s (see point 2) then it’s good form to foot the bill. While equality might be the buzzword of the moment, the point of Valentine’s day is the chance to treat someone special and not involve them in the details of planning and finance.

4. Remember!
Sitting alongside point 1 is the simplest step of all – put the damn day in your diary! Even if you’re not planning a fabulous event with violinists and flowers and boat rides and sweet, sweet love then just remembering to phone… buying a card or saying “I love you” in the morning is just a gentle reminder of what the day is all about and reassurance that you’ve still got a little “spark”.

5. The Element of Surprise!
If you are planning to do something nice, best of all is if you can make it a surprise. Once your table is booked, play down the event. Say little things like “let’s just get cards this year – the whole thing is sooooo commercialized now”. That bumps up the romance count by a factor of five when you make your big reveal! Oh – and fellas, if you are surprising a woman, don’t leave the surprise too late. If she’s come home from work, got in her pajamas and wiped off her make-up, she won’t be too thrilled if you turn up with 5 minutes notice that she’s going somewhere posh. It’ll still be a nice surprise for her to find out in the morning and leave plenty of time to do whatever it is that girls do before they go out.

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