Valentine’s Day; Two words that can strike fear into the very core of some men. It presents an unusual and impossible paradox: How does a man court his better half, or the wonderful creature he has his eye on, whilst maintaining his inimitable sense of cool. Nothing is less stylish than a dog-eared Clintons card covered in pictures of bears holding hands. And do try to avoid anything that involves bad poetry. You know the kind- often rhyming the words “fire” with “desire” and things to that effect.

If you are going to express your adoration or declare your feelings to another then take some inspiration from some of Hollywood’s leading men. I’m not encouraging you to re-enact the climactic scene of Dirty Dancing (though if you have seen Crazy, Stupid Love and have a natural sense of rhythm and a torso like Ryan Gosling’s then please feel free to. It’ll work.). Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help avoid any Valentine Faux Pas.

 

 

Do... Give them a well thought about compliment, like Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets

Nicholson isn’t the obvious choice for romantic inspiration, but when Helen Hunt’s character demands he pay her a compliment and he comes out with “You make me want to be a better man”, the whole tone of the film changes. The rambling, bizarre thought process of Melvyn Udall taking his OCD medication because of her makes this compliment so much more romantic. People remember good compliments for the rest of their lives. It has the same permanence as a diamond ring.

 

Don’t... Reference David Cassidy or the Partridge Family, when telling someone you love them, like Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral

In fact, watch this clip of Grant’s bumbling attempt at a romantic gesture as a what-not-to-do guide if you are thinking of saying those three important words for the first time. It makes for painful viewing. Especially remember to not have that hair cut, and to not wear those shorts.

 

Do... Behave childishly like Tom Hanks in Big

Granted Hanks does actually play 13-year-old in an adult's body so you can’t take this one too literally, but remember how refreshing Elizabeth Perkins found his adolescent  joie de vivre? Yes, candlelit dinners and moonlit walks are wonderful, but going home and building a fort in the bed and not remerging for 12 hours can be pretty fun too.

 

Don’t... Assume all is lost like Ryan Gosling in The Notebook

Arguably the most romantic film of the last decade but don’t make the same mistake Noah Calhoun makes. If you have been separated from a loved one but there’re still residual feelings, then go and tell them. Noah wrote to the beautiful Ally Hamilton every day for a year, but did he ever go and actually tell her? The letters are intercepted and the next time he sees her she’s engaged to another man. Never assume people know how you feel. On the other hand, if you do know in no uncertain terms that they don’t feel the way you do, I am not advocating you show up at their house and serenade them. People have been arrested for this.

 

Do... Like Carey Grant in any film he has ever appeared in.

If you’re going out on the town, you have to look the part. There is empirical evidence that shows that when a man puts on a good suit he becomes instantly more attractive. A similar effect takes place when a man plays an instrument, but this takes longer to achieve.

 

Do... Show that you pay attention, like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally

The speech at the end of this classic romantic comedy works so well because it demonstrates not only how well he knows Sally, but how he loves the smallest things about her. If you tell someone that you love the way they stir their coffee clockwise three times and then anti-clockwise once at the end (or something equally random, but cute) then what you’re effectively saying is “Nothing you do goes unnoticed, and your little quirks make you completely perfect”. And we like that.

 

And finally, Do... Buy a present

It doesn’t matter if you have been married for decades or have just started seeing each other- get them something. It doesn’t have to be big, but the boycotting of Valentine’s Day that was popular a few years ago has lost its cool. Maybe it is an overly sentimental idea pushed on us from the evil titans of capitalism who manipulate our emotions for their own financial gain. But what other day will you see people of every age and walk of life carrying bunches of flowers through the busy streets until they find their Valentine. It’s nice to take some time out to appreciate each other. And if you don’t get us something, we won’t speak to you until Easter.

 

Sharpen up to red carpet levels for Valentine's Day and beyond:

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