North Valley Magazine

Page 82


THE NORTH VALLEY SURVIVAL GUIDE TO V-DAY! As a married guy and someone whose romantic skills are questionable, to say the least, I had to dig deep to find the right sort of things to put in a survival guide for V-Day. I mean, gosh, it sounds like D-Day and conjures up images of husbands and boyfriends storming a beachhead amidst mortar bombs and grenades and rushing through barbwire and metal blockades to get a good table at a trendy restaurant. If this is what comes to mind when you start planning a romantic evening, then perhaps a few tips couldn’t hurt.


You’re not Tony Soprano. Nor are you the queen of England. Make a reservation. Don’t be overconfident or think that you’re connected like some goon from Goodfellas. I get it—some people don’t want to be beholden to a schedule and think spontaneity is the only way to be romantic, but if you were truly spontaneous, you wouldn’t be out on V-Day trying to make up ground in the trenches. So call ahead.


Don’t go too far overboard with extravagant event planning, No one wants to go on a scavenger hunt for hours or be out in public until his or her feet blister.

Restaurant owners and managers are going to hate me for this one, but you should have a second reservation at a different restaurant and at a later time. What happens when you get to your date’s house and she’s still trying on dresses or doing curls in front of a mirror or in the middle of a bad-hair nightmare? You’re late, that’s what happens. Have a Plan B in case a hostess refuses to seat you because you’re 30 minutes late.


This should be common sense, but chose your food wisely. You don’t want to be afraid to breathe or fighting a breeze from the aft. Mexican food is never a good choice if you hope to get closer and more personal. It goes without saying: Avoid garlic, onions, or anything else that may foul your breath or the air close by.





You don’t want to take someone to a place that has wall-towall shellfish if they might go into anaphylactic shock. One time, I cooked dinner for a woman who had peanut allergies. I unwittingly ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to curb my appetite while the food was on the grill. One little kiss, and we were in the emergency room.


Drinking too much is not romantic. You aren’t funnier or a better dancer, and you’re statistically 10 times more likely to get caught leering at your server’s physique. It’s okay to have a drink to loosen up and get a little groove on, but you have a long battle ahead and you will need your faculties to carry you through the night. Remember, we’re in it for the long haul, and no one wants to go home early, or alone. Pace yourself.

M.D. Thalmann is a local writer and author. To see his work, visit

Many of the other V-Day warriors will ignore the tip at left and get behind the wheel after opting for a second (or more!) drink. Don’t do it— you’ll be putting other drivers and your date at risk. Uber it. If you don’t know what that is, visit and download the app. Your date will be impressed that you’re in the know and can have a ride at a moment’s notice.



It might be presumptuous or bold, but I like to have a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries in the fridge and a bottle of white wine or champagne chilling at home next to some candles and rose petals. If the date goes south, then it will be nice to move all that to the bath and polish off the drink and dessert by yourself while you reflect on what went wrong.


No buffets, all-you-can-eat, or family-style restaurants. Unless you’re taking an escaped circus bear out for dinner, you don’t need to pack away three pounds of meat and cheese.