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Adulthood 101

The PHOENIX/Sydney South
The PHOENIX/Sydney South
The PHOENIX/Sydney South

Got a hot date for Valentine’s Day? Lucky you. But let’s be honest, those suave moves you’ve been working on probably aren’t polished enough to totally woo your companion. Nothing is more attractive than good manners, though, so when you hit the town, don’t forget these dating etiquette tips. Not only will they come in handy this Friday, but if things don’t work out for you and your sweetheart, they’ll also be useful for Valentine’s Days to come.

1.    On gifting: Be mindful or the status of you and your significant other’s relationship, especially if it’s still new. Follow this advice, given to a woman re-entering the dating scene, from the staff of etiquettedaily.com (the official blog of the Emily Post Institute): “You can avoid any awkwardness by keeping things simple. A humorous or sentimental—but not too risqué—card is a good place to start.” Of course, if you’ve been a steady couple for a while, don’t be afraid to indulge yourself a little bit. A fancy box of chocolates is appropriate—as long as your date isn’t on a diet! Thoughtfulness does count, and flowers might be better in this case.

2.    On flower colors: Of course, if you do decide to bring flowers for your date, you must be aware of what different petal colors mean, or you risk sending the wrong message. Everyone knows red denotes romantic love, but according to the florists of online flower shop Proflowers, you can convey much more than just love with flowers. White-petaled flowers symbolize true love, purity and reverence, while pink gives off a friendlier vibe of admiration. Yellow is probably the friendliest of petal colors, however, and can call to mind new beginnings or happy memories. But if you want to spice things up, yellow petals with red tips can mean you’re moving beyond friendship and falling in love. Use this option with caution!

3.    On planning with a budget: Being a broke college student doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your special plans. Nothing would be less polite! Peter Post, one of Emily Post’s four great-grandchildren and director of the Emily Post institute, recommends cooking a romantic dinner at home. “Candles and chocolates are within most budgets, and can set the tone for a romantic evening,” he writes at emilypost.com. “Shower your significant other with love notes or give them a back rub.” Of course, if you aren’t the best cook or masseuse, do some research on romantic and affordable restaurants in Chicago. Here’s a list from Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang to get your started. But be sure to make reservations now—tables will fill up fast.

4.    On manners: This isn’t another awkward National League of Junior Cotillions ball, but during your evening, don’t forget some basic standards of human decency. Try not to eat like a cave man, and try not to look like one either. Put some effort into your appearance, because a whiff of body spray and a tousle of the hair won’t cut it. Be sure to show up on time, and give your date your full attention throughout the night. Even if neither of you buys into the hype surrounding Valentine’s Day, simply showing your date how important he or she is to you counts for a lot.

The Phoenix staff wishes you a the best of luck this Friday with your courting efforts. Follow our advice, and you’ll have a lovely evening. But if things don’t go as planned, don’t forget that there’s always next year.

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