Ah, Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air. The thing is, you forgot to buy flowers for your sweetie, and now all the flower shops in town are sold out. After calling around for hours, you finally find one shop that still has a few straggly bouquets of roses left, and a dozen roses is only … $64.99 ?!?
What to do?
- Suck it up, drive 20 miles out of your way, and spend the $64.99 on some flowers that are probably already half wilted, then take her to the drive-thru for dinner with what’s left of your paycheck.
- Take her to a nice dinner, no flowers (hope she doesn’t notice). Wait a week or two, then buy her a really nice bouquet for $15.
- You idiot, you screwed up by not already buying her flowers throughout the year. If you had done that, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation!
Yeah, it should be pretty obvious that “3” is the correct answer.
Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or just friendzies with bennies, you’re going to want to buy flowers, and not just on the big “V” Day. Why? My dear friends, I think it’s time to learn….
When To Buy Her Flowers: The Happy Times Principle
We all have a friend who never wants to hang out, but only calls when he wants something? Annoying, right? Well, it’s the same idea when it comes to giving a girl flowers. You can’t just give her flowers when you want something or when times get tough. Early on, you need to set a precedent, by giving her flowers when things are good. This creates an association: “Flowers = Happy Times”. Then, when you make her mad or get in a fight, you can buy her flowers to recall those happy times. I call it the Happy Times Principle.
Here are some Happy Times to consider giving flowers:
- To Say “I’m Sorry”. Guys, we all know this works, but it works best when following the Happy Times Principle. Keep reading…
- Just Because. This is the most important part of the Happy Times Principle. You must — absolutely must — give her flowers at random occasions “just because,” two to four times a year. To make it really seem random, try to time it at least a week or two after any major events or big arguments. This keeps her on her toes, makes you seem slightly dangerous and unpredictable, and helps maintain the illusion that you both live in a Romantic Happy-Times Fantasy Bubble.
- Third Date. Got a new gal, and want to show her you’re a real gentleman? Pick her up at eight, and surprise her with a nice bouquet. It may seem corny, but she will love it. I’m going to repeat that. No matter how corny you think this is, she will love it. This works on any date, not just the third. However, flowers on the first date may be a bit too old fashioned, and flowers on the first OR second dates may create an unrealistic expectation that you are some kind of superhuman “perfect guy”. Which you are not. So, no flowers before the third date.
- Birthday. Optional. There’s always cake.
- Anniversary. Obvious, but flowers are a great way to let her know you care about your anniversary — and what better way to associate flowers with Happy Times?
- The Next Morning. She finally let you do that thing last night! You know, that thing you’ve been begging her to let you do, but she didn’t want to let you do it, and you kept bugging her about it, and she finally gave in and let you do it … and it was amazing, just like you knew it would be. Send her some flowers with a little note that says “thank you for last night” (or just “thanks”)! Remember, you’re giving flowers to recall the what? That’s right, the Happy Times.
- Valentine’s Day. Okay, this one is really obvious. Here in the US, Valentine’s Day is a special day that was invented by flower companies to force you to spend three or four times more than you normally would on flowers. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. In fact, it’s:
The “Little Secret” that Flower Companies Don’t Want You to Know!
The secret? If you follow the above guidelines — especially buying her flowers “Just Because” — she will barely notice if you get her something besides flowers on V-Day!
That’s right, let’s say you have a hundred-dollar bill in your pocket, and on V-Day you buy a dozen roses at, say $64.99 (if you can even find them at any price, since they’re most likely sold out all over town).
Now, let’s say it’s NOT V-Day: with that same $100, you could buy her flowers three or more times a year at random, AND have a lot more money left over for dinner, jewelry, whatever! For example, a dozen roses at $12.99 three times = $38.97. Let’s look at it in ledger form:
Now let’s look at it as a pie chart:
Giving flowers doesn't have to be expensive. Private chains, like Trader Joe’s or Fresh & Easy, have a small selection of flowers at great prices. If full-service is more your thing, support your local florist, where you can get advice, see the flowers before you buy, and get the bouquet arranged — by someone who will do a much better job than you can.
Many large cities, such as Los Angeles, have flower districts. These are industrial blocks or neighborhoods where companies buy flowers wholesale, and most stores in these districts don’t mind selling flowers — at amazing prices — to you, the public.
As you can see, in addition to the other virtues of buying flowers “just because,” it also makes economic sense, which can lead to even more Happy Times.
Ok, I get it, but what kind of flowers should I get her?
Roses are classic, of course. (Red means “I love you”; white means “It didn’t mean anything, let’s just be friends.”; pink is somewhere in between red and white — both in color and in meaning.) But giving her roses is like writing her a poem that starts out “Roses are red, violets are blue…” Sweet, but obvious. Yes, roses are great, but you — discerning reader that you are — didn’t come here to get advice about roses.
If you really want to impress your gal, give her something unique: lilies with fern leaves, a mixed bouquet, wildflowers, etc. Here’s the thing: try something … and notice what she likes. If she looks at them and puts them in the window, get her big bright colorful flowers. If the first thing she does is stick her nose in them, get her flowers that smell good.
- Most flower shops carry a mixed wildflower bouquet. Very romantic, and usually not too pricy.
- Stargazer lilies are great too, for one particular reason: they smell amazing. (For unscented, try Asiatic lilies.) Buy her stargazer lilies only when you are going to where she lives, and she won’t have to carry them anywhere. Why? Because the stamens leave a bright yellow stain on everything they touch. Still, they are worth it because they smell amazing.
- Avoid cacti, or any desert type plants, unless she has a great sense of humor. I don’t need to explain why you shouldn’t give a girl a gift that is “dry” or “prickly” right?
- Want something that grows? Try potted tulips or orchids. Tulips are easier to care for — not super romantic, but a great gift nonetheless. Orchids are very sexy, but (like so many sexy things) they can be somewhat high-maintenance.
Now that you have an idea of what to get her, let’s look into the how of things.
The Bouquet. The classic behind-the-back surprise bouquet of flowers works like a charm. When you get a bouquet of flowers, it usually comes with a little package of plant food.
Take a moment to make them last:
- Get a vase, and put some water in it. You don’t need too much, maybe 1/4 full, or enough to cover all the stems. If the flowers came with a packet of flower food, drop some of it in there. If not, crush a Vitamin C tablet and drop it in there.
- With a sharp knife or scissors, cut the stems at an angle — just trim them 1/4 inch or so, enough to make a fresh cut. The angle makes more surface area for the stems to soak up water. An old cut heals quickly — even just a few minutes old — making it harder for your flowers to drink. So, cut them at an angle, and …
- Immediately put the fresh-cut flowers into the vase.
- If the outer petals on the flowers look tough or wilted slightly, remove these. They are most likely what are called Guard Petals, which are petals that protect the rest of the flower. Removing these will freshen up the bouquet, and allow the flower to open up more.
When she says “oh, another bouquet of flowers,” change it up. She can say this with her eyes, even if she doesn’t say anything out loud. Here are some ideas:
The Office Delivery. Send flowers to her work. Most flower shops offer delivery, and there are a ton of places online. Better yet, deliver the flowers yourself. Super romantic, this will earn you a huge return of Happy Times points — both with her, and with her cute co-workers, who will want you (or someone very much like you) as their boyfriend too. You could take this as far as you like, from just stopping by on her lunch break, all the way to a Flower Strip-o-Gram. Some offices are more okay than others about this sort of thing, so use common sense and don’t get her fired.
The Setup. Live together? Get flowers, arrange them in a vase, and put them somewhere where she might not notice them right away. When she does, it’s game on. Bow-chicka-wow-wow.
The Run. Just hanging out tonight? Even if it’s not a date, you can still exercise the Happy Times Principle. Make a run to the store on any flimsy excuse — dinner, beer, dry cleaning — and while you’re out, pick up some flowers!
Petals. This one is great if you have roses that are past their prime. Before they wilt or dry out, take off all the petals and scatter them around the bedroom. To complete the romantic picture, light some candles and put on some music. Set aside two petals and put them in a couple glasses of wine or champagne. Yes, roses are edible, and even said to be aphrodisiac. Soon, she’ll be peeling off your clothes, and scattering them around the bedroom.
One quick note about scattering rose petals. Friction + red rose petals + white carpets = trouble with your damage deposit. Use common sense if you have a really expensive white carpet. Also, see my article about how to get back your damage deposit.
The main thing is to remember the Happy Times Principle. Buy flowers for during good times, buy them occasionally at random to keep her on her toes, and then when things go wrong, your flowers can help make them right again.