Dear Valentine’s Day Dad:

Consider yourself warned. Don’t miss this special day. Don’t go overboard. Find a nice middle ground. And for heaven’s sake get all shopping and ordering out of the way a week before February 14. Here are your Valentine’s Day Instructions for Dads. 

Valentine’s Day Dad

I confess, more than once I have been part of the last-minute surge. The scene at the greeting card rack is especially pathetic. A dozen sorry-looking guys staring at the decimated and depleted supply of dog-eared cards all-knowing they’ll have to settle for leftovers. Even if you find a card that’s not embarrassing, good luck finding an envelope to match.

Then there’s the hotly debated question: Chocolate or Flowers? During my marriage weekend events, I’ll ask two questions:

Wives, would you rather have your husband surprise you with a small bouquet of flowers or a small box of chocolates?  Decide now.”

“Husbands, would your bride rather have you surprise her with a small bouquet of flowers or a small box of chocolates?  Decide now.”

Then I’ll have them compare answers. With married couples, the answers match about 60 percent of the time. Not bad, right? Except that means four out of ten well-intentioned guys are bringing home the wrong gifts! 

Also, don’t expect to walk into a florist at the last minute and be taken seriously. One year, I tried to place an order on February 12th and got laughed at. Consider yourself lucky if you are able to find a pre-assembled bouquet that isn’t dead or smashed. Grab it, throw your $60 bucks on the counter and get out before some other poor schlub beats you to it. 

And how about shopping for lingerie? You do have permission to buy some nice flattering, comfy jammies for Valentine’s Day. Not too revealing or flamboyant, but maybe a little naughty. Just enough to let her know that you think of her as attractive, irresistible, and the love of your life. Sadly, I can no longer recommend a trip to Victoria’s Secret. Recent commercials border on scandalous. (And, maybe I’m just getting older and out-of-touch, but the stores themselves seem to have gotten creepier and creepier over the last decade.)

My last Valentine’s Day Dad warning is for you dads who make the rest of us look bad. Please don’t drop a month’s salary on some diamond tennis bracelet. Wives talk to each other and husbands need to unite and keep Valentine gifts at a reasonable amount. Spend more than a hundred bucks or so and you’re setting all your married buddies up for a deep freeze from their own wives that may last until summer. 

Oh yeah. Being thoughtful on February 14, doesn’t let you off the hook the other 364 days of the year.