Dad does Valentine's Day
By Scott Avery

There are roses and chocolates. There are red hearts are everywhere. And, whether you like or loathe the concept, it's getting increasingly hard to ignore the 14th of February on your calendar - Valentine's Day.

A heavenly day for diehard romantics, is for many others a chance just to do something small and out of the ordinary for the love of your life. For some, it is merely another useful sign that the start for the footy season is just around the corner (o.k. I confess that I'm in this category).

Thanks to the greeting card, chocolate and flower industries, there is plenty on offer for the hopeless romantics. But in the course of this months chats with a few of the boys, it seems Valentine's Day still has a long way to go before it's up there with the One Day Cricket final.

The commercialism associated with Valentine's Day can be off-putting, and many men stage a bolshy style boycott of the day as a matter of principle. However, BE WARNED, such an attitude can be a dangerous course of action. St Valentine himself was martyred for not giving up his principles, and whist pain of death might be a bit extreme, you might at least expect a boycott of a different kind if you push this line too far.

But even if you aren't completely sold on the Valentine's Days concept, you can get some wins in a very practical sense by remembering attention to your partner is the mother of all brownie points. For example, I have one mate who picks Valentines Day as ‘his' day. He figures if he goes all out on this one day of the year, it saves him from having to remember all these anniversaries and birthdays and all those other things that happen sporadically during the year.

There is also the chance to treat yourselves to a "shared" gift. Those wonderful set of knives you buy to support her in her passion of cooking are also great for gutting and scaling that flathead you caught when you went out in your tinny last weekend.

Even if you are belligerently non-commercial, there are ways to genuinely buy into the spirit of the day. A simple picnic or movie will often do the trick, or even a simple acknowledgement that you care. Hell, why not even through the "L" word at some point during the day. From experience, restaurants all over town book out fast so you might have to do some forward planning and make sure your local haunt has your favourite table set aside. If you are really trying to impress, you could even surprise her with extreme thoughtfulness by doing something out of the ordinary, like supporting a charity she might have sympathy for. In our house, it is the breast cancer research and the Stillbirth Foundation.

Perhaps the most sensible option is to adopt the "every day is Valentines Day with you darling" approach that another mate endorses. The secret to this is actually honouring it so it doesn't come across as a cop out. As my wife says, flowers are always, always, always good, any day. So she might score something this year, it just might be in June. And by then, the footy season will be well and truly underway.