Saturday, January 22, 2011

Say "Thank You."

Coming up on under a month to go until Valentine's Day (ick, ugh, roar,) I've (and I'm sure, the rest of the world has, too,) been spending a lot of time lately trying to come up with ideas for small things to do for the guy I'm seeing on or around that date. While we haven't been together long enough to do anything quite as grand and stunning as the couple's massage/day at the exclusive gym/dinner at the gourmet restaurant that one of my friends is planning for her live-in boyfriend of over a year thanks to a hotel's stellar Valentine's Day discount incentives, seeing as my guy spoils me rotten, I want to do a little something for him, too. The problem is, I've NEVER been with a guy for Valentine's Day, and I'm a little freaked out at the thought that I may be, this year, and I want to blow it out of the water right, the first time. (I'm not a highly-motivated obsessive-compulsive perfectionist or anything.) Pressure, pressure, pressure.

I'm big on spoiling my guys, be it either on Valentine's Day, or any other day of the week that ends in "-day." It can be little things-- picking up his favorite magazine while you're already out grocery shopping and see it while you're standing in line and waiting for the slow check out girl to hurry up with her bagging, already, or giving a $10 gift card to someone's favorite store to go towards their next inevitable purchase-- that show that you're invested in making someone happy. I knew the guy I'm seeing was a winner when he went out to grab food one night for dinner and came back with bad well as something else. "I got a call, and I have to leave, but I brought you back dinner...and breakfast for tomorrow morning," he told me. As we all know, I've been going through a financial roller coaster, and knowing that he wanted to provide for me, even if he couldn't be there, was exceptionally touching. His stock went up.

That's exactly what it is-- it's the little things that tell someone you're a keeper--buying him a drink, giving him a spur-of-the-moment back massage, letting him sleep in. Because if you'll do those things for him on your own accord, it gets him thinking about what you'd do for him if/when you REALLY love him. Not every woman gives her guy her Netflix account password and sets him up with unlimited instant entertainment. But nearly every woman will give a blowjob. The latter is nearly expected. The former is not expected, greatly appreciated, and fucking free, with a great emotional pay-off.

Some other instant brownie point winners to set you apart from the rest of the female crowd:

- If he's light on boxers (or briefs, or those heaven-sent and god-created boxer-briefs,) or socks, pick him up a few cheap but fun pairs. Chances are, his mom, exes, or best girl friend are the ones who usually bought them for him, and the hole his big toe is sticking out of isn't paramount in his mind on the list of Things To Do or Get. Spoil his inner child just a little bit more by getting a few new pairs and taking that item off his plate of things to stress out about when he opens an empty drawer and suddenly remembers what he's been forgetting to buy.

- Food really is one of the best ways into a man's heart. A simple home-cooked meal is a favorite among guys, especially when you're in the comfortable and slightly broke section of dating. If you let him help you prepare it-- chopping the vegetables, stirring the pot, mixing the salad dressing-- he'll feel even better about the meal he helped create, AND may learn some hands-on cooking skills for the next time he's solo in the kitchen. If you feed a man, he'll be satiated for one meal. If you teach him how to cook, he'll be mostly satiated most of the time you're not around to cook with or for him.

- If he's a frequent overnight guest, like my boy is, make sure than you have sufficient amenities for him in the morning. A (new!) extra toothbrush, some manly soap, and a towel he knows is "his" to use will go a long way toward making his mornings (and nights!) more comfortable. Plus, you don't have to kiss morning breath, so really, it's win/win. Also, if he's approaching other roommate status, and it looks like neither of you are going anywhere else fast, carving out a drawer or a shelf in your closet for him to have a change of clothes or at least a place to leave a spare shirt and pair of boxers and socks would be a nice gesture.

- Keep a few of his favorite snacks around. If he's partial to orange juice, keep some in your fridge. If he goes crazy over movie theater-style popcorn, get a few packs so that next time the two of you are staying in to watch a movie, he's got something to munch happily on other than your crunchy, fruity granola.

- And possibly the easiest, more meaningful tip of all: Every time you see him, pay him one compliment to let him know how much he means to you. It can be something like "I think you're such a babe, you know that?" or "You're honestly one of the most interesting people I've ever met," or a simple "Thank you for doing everything it is you do for me; I really appreciate it." This is what will keep him from straying when a random chick at a bar tells him he's hot; this is what he'll remember you love about him next time he's feeling down; this is what will make him want to be all those things you compliment him about, for YOU. A guy who knows how you feel about him is a guy who is content, satisfied, and clear on what he's expected of.

Recently, I did what I preached and took him out to lunch, on me. I know that the standard and traditional scheme looks like the guy paying for everything, but I was amazed how relaxed and right it felt to pick up the tab when it hit the restaurant table. Best yet was when he reached across the table...for my hand, not the check. He picked it up, pressed it between his, kissed it, and looked me straight in the eyes and said "thank you." Everyone, take note--- this is not only a great way to show heartfelt appreciation if you need to cop this move for your own, but it also got my heartstrings strumming a little. It struck me this morning as I curled around the warmth of his back and breathed in that I am so lucky. So, so lucky. Which is exactly why I just spent the last 3 hours researching the perfect men's facial lotion for the boy with the impeccable facial hair and beard who always complains about dryness and itchiness for Valentine's Day. It must be extreme fondness, or another emotion like it.


P.S-- While these are all idea slanted towards your significant other, boyfriend, or the significant man in your life, please note that with a little tweaking, similar things can be used to show appreciation for the important friends in your life, and they'd be just as welcome. I'm sure your roommate would be surprised and touched if you brought her home the latest issue of Cosmopolitan randomly, or your always-there-to-pull-you-back-together work buddy would appreciate if you took them out for Happy Hour drinks after a particularly trying day at the office. Remember, while your romantic relationships may be the ones you focus on because they're getting you laid and potentially setting you up for the rest of your life, you'd be nowhere without your friends and family, who are always the ones who help take care of you when the romances fail or falter. Show love to all.


  1. I loved the bit about Netflix. SO true. :)

  2. Combine a few of his favorite things. If it's beer and chocolate, do a beer and chocolate pairing, or if he likes skiing, pay for a day out together on the slopes. In my experience, doing an activity together, making a meal (my boyfriend started a tradition last year of making me a dinner I choose and surprising me with dessert), or taking a cooking class together helps to make a positive memory together.

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