Manners & Misdemeanors

Valentine's Day Etiquette: Tricky Situations and Table Manners

Who pays the bill?
IMAGE Galt Museum & Archives/Flickr Commons
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If you think modern dating has erased the concept of etiquette, think again. If either party wants to keep dating the other, there will always be questions about good behavior and choices. On this Valentine's Day, no detail is spared an investigation. And in case you are too shy to ask, here are answers to your love day questions:

How can I upgrade a Valentine’s Day date without going overboard?
Grab your phone from your pocket or purse. Now turn it off. Don’t cop out by opting for mute. The phone has to be dead and blank for this trick to work. Tell your date that he or she has your undivided attention and that your overactive Messenger group just has to wait. This, coupled with good table manners (BMW for bread, main, and water left to right), goes a long way. Better than contrived flattery.

How can I avoid the awkward bill situation?
Etiquette guru Julie Lamberg-Burnet has a nifty solution for this: Whoever arranges the dinner can settle the payment ahead of time. No more wallet dance at the end of the date.

For couples who have been dating for a while, going Dutch is a modern option. Men will appreciate the gesture, but some will reach out for their credit card and shoulder everything anyway. You can treat him to a drink at your next stop if you want to declare independence, appreciation, or both.

Is it proper to ask single acquaintances and colleagues about their Valentine’s Day plans?
Has this person ever disclosed a private detail of his or her romantic life to you? If no, just forget the question and enjoy your own Valentine’s Day plans. Those who are very close to you are fair game. They are likelier to take it as a joke than people you only talk to about work matters. So go ahead, let the lovely singles complain about the dire dating options out there.

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Am I still obliged to give flowers?
Flowers are not necessary for every dating situation but don’t discount them just yet. Women appreciate the gesture as they do an old Valentine’s movie—they will always remember the one-liner (write one to go with your bouquet) and the leading man’s gallant move. But make sure to pick the right flowers lest you want to be misinterpreted. Here’s a useful guide.

Is it impressive to give a pricey gift?
Not if you’re in the early stages of dating. Will you have to top this every Valentine’s Day? Sometimes dinner, flowers, and your full attention are enough to keep your date in a great mood. If you must give a gift, something that only the two of you can get—a symbol of an inside joke, for one—is far more expressive than a many-digit price tag.

Been together forever and in a very good place? By all means, book a ticket to Cape Town. A vacation that is not a sorry for anything is always a welcome gift.

(h/t Daily Mail)

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Kwyn Kenaz Aquino
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