Got Plans for Feb. 14?

If You Don’t, Read This


Published:

Illustration: Yuko Shimizu
Valentine's Day can creep up on the unsuspecting. Your driveway is still streaked with bottle-rocket residue from New Year's, you haven't even taken down your Christmas lights and then it hits you-it's already February. So unless you're a diehard single, you need to start thinking about what to do for that special someone in your life. Again.

Instead of freaking out, read on for some simple, yet potentially butt-saving tips from Honolulu's leading V-Day authorities:

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE BEST TABLE

"As soon as you figure out you have a sweetheart, that's the time to make your dinner reservations," says Rainer Kumbroch, regional manager of Roy's. Valentine's is one of the busiest nights of the year for Hawai'i restaurants. Roy's started taking V-Day reservations in December. You know what that means. Start dialing, buddy.

DON'T JUST DO IT FOR HER. DO IT FOR HER CO-WORKERS

Valentine's Day falls on a Monday this year, which means many women expect a bouquet delivered to their office no later than, oh, say, 2 p.m. That gives them just enough time to brag to their co-workers and give you a giddy thank-you call. "Flowers are mostly for women to show off that they are loved," says Michael Miyashiro, owner of Rainforest at the Ward Warehouse. Of course, "Contrary to popular belief, guys also love to receive flowers," he says. For bonus points, try something other than the expected red roses-tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are also in season.

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP

Two days before V-Day strikes, and you still ain't got a clue? Macy's at Ala Moana will hold a free workshop on Valentine's gifts on Feb. 12-just RSVP to special services manager Lisa George at 941-2345. She'll help you make the perfect gift basket, but you'll need to do some investigative work first. "For guys, especially, I suggest they snoop in their wives' closets, write down their sizes, the brands they like and we can put together some clothes and matching jewelry," George says. "Even women sometimes don't know what to get for someone who has everything. If he likes golf, for example, we might suggest a golf shirt or cap and adding a gift certificate for the driving range."

BIGGER DOESN'T MEAN BETTER

"Gifts can be very small or simple, but the more special they are, the more they touch them," say P. Gregory Frey, who's been married for 18 years. His downtown law firm, Coates & Frey, handles thousands of divorces every year, so he knows a lot about relationships, good and bad. One of the best Valentine's Day gifts Frey ever received? "My wife and my children gave me Captain Crunch for breakfast and lima beans at dinner. Those are two of my all-time favorite things that I never get to eat otherwise, because no one likes them." Hey, it doesn't always cost a bundle to make someone happy.

WHATEVER YOU DO, DO SOMETHING

Frey's advice for couples who don't want to end up in his office? "Carve out at least 15 minutes every day when you and your spouse commit to just talking to each other." Special occasions, such as Valentine's Day, count big time, too. "So many of our clients say, 'She doesn't pay attention to me' or 'He doesn't remember I like red flowers and not yellow,'" Frey says. "Little things matter a lot, especially for women."

There aren't many good excuses for forgetting Valentine's. Miyashiro once took a long-distance order for flowers from a soldier in Operation Desert Storm. "I could hear shooting in the background, and I told him, 'Your TV is on too loud,'" Miyashiro recalls. "He said, 'I'm actually calling from the battlefield.'"

The lesson here: If he made Valentine's Day special, so can you.

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