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Evelyn Reid

Valentine’s Day in Montreal: This Is How You Do It

By February 12, 2012

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montreal valentine's day 2012 barrocoAbove: Inside Barroco, one of my top restaurant recommendations for Valentine's Day in Montreal. Photo courtesy of Barroco

"Honey, sweetie, sugar plum, like we need a commercialized excuse to show we love each other. Why do we need one day a year to do that when we can do it every day? You know? Let's skip it."

That, gentlemen, is the WRONG way to handle Valentine's Day.

"Honey, sweetie, sugar plum, like we need a commercialized excuse to show we love each other. But let's do it anyway! I saved up a bit so we could have a special evening, just you and me."

That, gentlemen, is the RIGHT way to handle Valentine's Day.

Exceptions aside, no matter how much your lady nods in agreement with the imposed nature of the hallmarked day of alleged love, there is a big part of her hoping that you're willing to go along and play sheep with the herd, just for that day, showing her that she matters enough to be worth the clichés, which are clichés because -- say it after me -- they work.

montreal valentine's day 2012 barrocoAbove: unless your Valentine is allergic to either strawberries or chocolate, you can NOT go wrong strawberries dipped in chocolate. Ever. Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

Chocolate fed by hand*, flowers sent to her desk at work, dinner in a dimly-lit restaurant with service professionals passionate about their craft doting over her, jewelry that matches her skin tone (boys, if the visible veins on her body are blue, stick with silver, if they're green, go for gold), a tasteful silk teddy with lace and/or corset detailing, the keywords being form-fitting and supportive in the chest area if she's larger than an A cup and/or over 30. You want her to be comfortable, and if she's comfortable, she'll feel sexy. A best bet for classy lingerie in Montreal? Boutique Lyla on Laurier Avenue. Just be prepared to pay a premium: you'll get your money's worth as well as great styling and fitting advice from the sales team (again, check your darling's veins, their color will help the team choose flattering hues for her).

Don't belong to the 1% club? No worries. That bouquet of flowers? Try carnations instead of roses. They're just as beautiful, last longer and are more affordable. I would go as far as to say it doesn't really matter what kind of flowers you choose so long as you have them delivered to her place of work. On Valentine's Day. Almost every woman has wished at some point in her life that her man do that. Yet so few bother. But it's cheaper than a night out at the local bar. Isn't one missed hockey night in honor of lighting up her life worth it? Do you have any idea what she's skipped or given up just to see you?

And the restaurant? Again, if cash is in short supply, save on booze markups. I've got three bring-your-own-wines on this list of romantic restaurants in Montreal that ease the pinch without compromising on taste and presentation. Still too much? Buy a couple of steaks and cook them yourself instead (and do the dishes!**). And get this bottle of bubbly. Its quality and complexity kicks popular champagne brands in the arse -- Veuve Clicquot's acid rinse springs to mind -- whose lower end offerings cost three to four times as much since they're resting on their regional and reputational laurels, which is beginning to wear thin to anyone with taste buds. Even this $12 bottle goes down smoother. Honestly.

montreal valentine's day 2012 barrocoOne word. Massage. B2M Productions / Getty Images

And think post-dinner relaxation. Purchase a bottle of almond oil at the local pharmacy or natural foods store (NOT mineral oil, that stuff is garbage, clogs the pores causing breakouts) and prepare the bedroom for a lengthy massage session (guys, don't do the half-assed five-minute token effort unless that's what you want back as a thank you). Pain relief, stress reduction, increased sense of well-being ... learning how to remove the knots in your loved one's back -- while periodically feeding her chocolate-dipped strawberries you prepared yourself that keep, oh no, dripping all over her -- is one of the loveliest gifts you could give the woman you love. And the oil, strawberries and chocolate won't set you back more than $20, maybe $30.

Take this one step further, making this a regular habit, and she'll be putty in your strong, sexy, virile hands. She'll also return the favor.

*THIS is how you feed a woman chocolate. Sit her down. Better yet, have her sit on your lap.** Remove her blazer or cardigan if she has one on, making sure beforehand that it's warm enough in the room for comfort. Women love details. If she has a bun/ponytail/braid in her hair and doesn't have to go out anywhere later that evening, then take it out and softly pet her hair and scalp, standing behind her (or again, with her on your lap) as you whisper to her, "close your eyes." It helps if you have an exotic accent, but it's not necessary. Gently trace the sides of her jawline and neck with your fingers as you do. Now trace her lips, softly surprising her with a truffle as you whisper again, "open your mouth." Putty, my friends. Putty.

**Rule of thumb: the more beautiful, worshipped, central to your attention and relevant your lady feels, the more she'll be in the "mood." Yes. Relevant. Hint: men who equally share in the chore workload around the house have more sex than men who leave the drudgery to women; it's a statistical fact and frankly, common sense.***

***Translation: Can we get real? I can't believe there are full-time workaday women who, in 2012, put up with this horse s**t. What makes you think you deserve less free time than him? Dump his sorry ass already.

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