Gents, we need to talk about Valentine’s Day.
We know it’s an artificial construct manufactured by companies to boost their sales and we also know the pain of emptying our wallets at restaurants which have, for one night, inflated their prices and insisted on a fixed menu with some stupid shareable dessert.
U Gent has your back.
Instead of heading out, try staying in and treating your better half to a romantic evening a la maison.
If you cook, blow them away with your culinary skills. If you can’t cook, dazzle their minds with your mastery of online ordering and delivery.
But any man can cook/order food. To elevate the evening and really ramp up l’amour (i.e. earn brownie points to be spent at a later date) you should design and decorate your space for the occasion.
Here’s our simple guide to setting the mood, it won’t take long and applies whether you’re in a studio or a townhouse.
Important. Banish from your mind any notions of old Boyz II Men videos – serving dinner on a leopard skin rug by a fireplace will only be acceptable if you live in a ski lodge. In the 1990’s. Without furniture.
- Plan Ahead – No-one wants to see how the sausage gets made, same applies to romance. If you are cooking, clean up before your partner arrives and if you ordered in, decant everything into serving bowls or plates and ditch the evidence.
- Lighting – It’s called ‘mood lighting’ for a reason and candles are inherently atmospheric. Buy small tealights and some large scented candles. Tealights are very effective lining the edge of the room or on window sills. The larger candles can be used on the dining/coffee table or countertops.
Battery powered candles work just as well. Fairy lights also look great if you run them along a wall or wrap them around a windowsill.
“Tip. Tealights float so fill a vase with water and the tealights balance on top.”
- Flowers – Many men do not fully understand flowers. An item that is purely decorative with a shelf life of two days that requires trimming, watering and feeding every time just feels wasteful and inefficient.
None of that matters, because flowers look and smell really nice.
Unless your partner has a preference, you don’t need roses. Choose some that work for your room. For a clean, minimalist feel with white/cream walls, buy bright arrangements for a burst of color. For busier spaces with pictures/posters and color, try flowers in a more muted tone like red or white.
“If you are in the DC area, Paul Wharton Style loves and recommend Lee’s Flower Shop.”
- Furniture – Typically our dining table or bar (or the coffee table over which we hover with plates while watching TV) are tucked into corners or the side of our rooms. For a special night we want to switch up the atmosphere and energy.
Move the furniture upon which you will be serving dinner so that it is the focal point of the room and clear away as much stuff as you can. Shifting a table and chairs into the middle will change the flow of the room so that dinner becomes the focus.
- Music – We wouldn’t dare comment on the type of music you like, but make sure there is some. If in doubt, a smooth or chilled playlist online is a safe bet. Music creates atmosphere and adds energy. But keep it low enough so you can hear your other half compliment you on all your efforts.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
At La Maison de U Gent we love to get mail – please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments or if you want to write for us.