If there’s one thing we know about Valentine’s Day, it’s that it isn’t about us. In actuality, Valentine’s Day is all about her—making sure we show her that we love and appreciate the time and effort she puts into being with us (as we know, we can be handfuls). Alas, we’re men. We’re simply excited by the prospect of a steak and a good after-dinner cigar. But her reward for listening to us prattle on about those things should be anything involving fancy dinners, small tokens of appreciation, handmade cards, flowers, and a whole bunch of other cute shit.
One thing men always seem to get wrong, no matter how hard they try, are flowers. It’s one of the mainstays of the holiday, yet we still tend to half ass it just for the sake of saying, “But honey, I got you flowers!”
This year, put some goddamn effort in.
First of All, Stop Ordering Flowers Online
The appeal of ordering a floral arrangement online is evident: They’re super convenient, and because online shops don’t have the overhead of maintaining (and paying for) a physical shop, their prices are usually relatively competitive. That said, specific delivery date fees and other less-obvious charges can add up.
The problem is, the flowers delivered by quick-and-easy delivery sites are often of disappointingly poor quality. There’s no telling what kind of quality they’re going to be beforehand, because there’s no way of knowing how they were stored, where they came from, or how old they are. You’re essentially clicking a button, placing the order, and hoping for the best… which is dumb.
Plus, local florists hate online services. The service is supposed to connect local florists and customers, but most of the time, they take the profits and the florist ends up losing money. One florist in California ended up $2000 in the hole one Valentine’s Day. So shop smart. Go to an actual store.
Do NOT Buy From Roadside Stands
You’re scrambling home from the office because you might be late for you dinner reservations, and there he is, parked outside the gas station down the street from your building. He has a sign that says, “Dozen Roses: $15.”
It’s convenient, it’s affordable (read: cheap), and since you didn’t care enough to order beforehand, it’ll likely get you out of some hot water when you get home to the missus. Only, you’re totally wrong. Those flowers suck, and she’s not dumb—she’ll notice.
Even in dire circumstances, you can always find some chocolates and a stuffed bear in a CVS or somewhere similar. Just don’t ever bother with the roadside cheapsies, because the last thing you want is to show up to greet her with buds literally falling off their stem.
Don’t ask us how we know…
Pick a Florist, But Not Just Any Florist—You Get What You Pay For
Flower shops are one of the most popular independent businesses for creatives because florists require no actual training. All a florist needs is a deep understanding of color palettes, an eye for complementary design, and a creative touch. For you, it means that every florist is different from the next. Rather than Googling “Florist in [City Name]” and picking the first option, do some research and find the best one in your area or the one whose style best matches your (or her) own.
We know, we know—it sounds like a lot of work. But that’s kind of the point.
Look around on Google, Yelp, and elsewhere to find a florist that people seem to really love. Additionally, don’t be afraid to actually walk into the shop and talk with the florist before you order. Hell, for all you know, this store’s about to claw you out of a self-dug ditch.
If You’re on a Budget, Head to the Grocery Store—No, Seriously
Buying good quality flowers without getting ripped off isn’t impossible. Believe it or not, many grocery stores (again, do your homework, here) store their flowers much like actual florists.
In fact, the bigger super-stores like ShopRite, Wegmans, B.J.’s, etc. have their own in-house floral shops. If you can find one of them, you’re golden, because they offer the exact same quality as your local florist, but usually at a price that’s 10-15 percent less expensive. We still recommend hitting up a local shop if you want a more personal touch, but, like we said, this is good if budget’s a concern.
The only tip here is don’t head in there on Valentine’s Day expecting to get a good bouquet. Order a few days in advance, and they’ll usually even ask you what time you’re going to be in to pick them up so that they stay in the freezer as long as possible.
Make Sure You Select Healthy Flowers
Doubling down on the grocery store suggestion above, if you’re going to go that route and are trying to select your own bouquet, you’re going to need to know how to select the right flowers.
First and most importantly, don’t look for flowers that look like they’re in full bloom. The idea is to select tight buds that are going to open up over the course of the next couple of hours. If they’re already in full bloom before you fork over the cash, you’re in for a disappointment.
Look at the flower’s calyx (the base, right below the bud). Is it a healthy green? If it’s a darker green or even slightly brownish, the flower is on its way out.
Don’t be afraid to touch the stem—how does it feel? Is it strong and firm, or does it feel softer and flexible? A healthy flower—especially a rose—is going to have a good strong stem.
Learn What She Likes
Even though roses are the symbolic Valentine’s Day flower arrangement, not every girl digs roses. Do the extra homework and find out what she likes—preferably without her noticing.
There are actually a lot of different types of flowers out there (we know; crazy, right?). Consider orchids, sunflowers, lilies, carnations, tulips, or even daisies. Or something we didn’t list, because there are a lot more of those too. We don’t need to tell you every woman’s preferences are different.
If She’s Allergic to Flowers, Do NOT Get an Edible Arrangement
It’s actually kind of ridiculous that we need even comment on this phenomena, but while doing the supplementary research for this story, we saw an alarming amount of men asking if it was acceptable to replace a Valentine’s Day bouquet with an Edible Arrangement and/or fruit basket if their girlfriend is allergic to flowers.
No. It. Fucking. Isn’t.
Edible Arrangements are awesome just about every other time of year (especially when they come with the chocolate covered bananas!), but on Valentine’s Day, if you show up with an Edible Arrangement, fruit basket, or anything else that says, “Hey, thank you for your business; you’re a wonderful client!” you should smack yourself in the face.
If she’s allergic to flowers, you can always go for the classic stuffed animals and chocolates routine, or you can even get more personal with things like small jewelry, a heartfelt handmade card, or even concert/event tickets. Just don’t even think about a fruit basket.
There’s Nothing Sweeter Than a DIY Bouquet
Boys, we’re speakin’ the truth here. If you really want to impress your significant other this year, doing it yourself is the way to go. Yes, it’ll take a lot of time and effort. You’re going to have to learn which flowers go with what, what color palettes compliment each other, how to dress a bouquet, and how to actually put it together in a package that doesn’t look like you put a bunch of crap on a table, bundled it up and threw a ribbon around it. But, in the end, it’s going to make you a V-Day hero.
Look into classic flower arrangements, or look at similarly colored seasonals, and then go from there. If you want to be a real Romeo about it, make an arrangement based on her favorite color/s.
There are a shocking amount of resources out there for doing it yourself, so it shouldn’t be too much work to pull off. Once you’ve come up with the arrangement style, call your local florist, tell them what your plans are, and then order each type of flower, one by one. Chances are, they’ll be eager to help you out and even give you tips and pointers along the way, because you’re so damn charming and cute.