Most guys have a love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day. Sure, it's a fine opportunity to show just how much we care about you, to smother you with tokens of affection, to gorge on chocolate-covered-everything (including you? Please?) and suck down mid-week champagne like it's New Year's Eve. But to many of us, it's also a ginned-up, commercialized, soul-sucking sham of a holiday that goads us, each year, into obligatory (and expensive) displays of ardor we’d rather spend in other ways, at other times (though still on you, of course).

Fact is, if we’ve been doing our jobs right as boyfriends, fiancés, husbands, and sons, February 14th shouldn’t hold sway as such a spotlight moment, this steroidal, adrenalized love hijacking dressed in red ribbon and made sick on bad candies and cheap wine.

If we’ve been pulling our weight, we wouldn’t be force-marched through this macabre amateur hour, with its teeming hoards of mind-controlled love zombies dully thronging the city, just going through the motions while the real romance—stolen moments, unexpected gestures—is left backstage.

More From Women's Health
preview for Women's Health US Section - All Sections & Videos

Okay, okay. We’ll suck it up. But if we had our way, it’d just be the two of us, some big glasses of wine, and hell—some takeout (or some skirt steak and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms if we’re feeling ambitious).

As for us? If you’re really so inclined, help us evolve a bit. A boutique bourbon instead of a handle of the cheap stuff—maybe even an appointment to tour a local distillery. Or how about a butchery class, with a nice new chef’s knife that, come to think of it, might slice nicely through the aforementioned beef. Is a buttery-smooth overnight bag stuffed with some beach clothes and two round-trip tickets to someplace sandy too much to ask? Probably.

But you get the point. We love you—we really do. We just want to show it our way, not Hallmark’s. And we want you to do the same. And if we’re doing our job, as I’ve mentioned, we already will have said thoughtful things, commented subtly on your new haircut, maybe even picked something up at the store for you on an out-of-town business trip.

So help us stand apart from the pack. Valentine’s day, to most guys, isn’t about following a script. It’s about getting away from all of that. Okay, some of the sappy stuff we’ll keep: You, me, a bearskin rug in front of some roaring oak limbs. We'll put on some slow jams. The wine will flow. Will there be s'mores? That's up to you. Yes? Great, we’ll bring the chocolates. But whatever the case, we'll spend the night melting into each other instead of a manufactured tray of waxy, pre-packaged chocolates.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

See the Girl Next Door's thoughts about Valentine's Day on Men's Health.

More from WH:
11 Reasons Men Love Women
The Male Brain, Decoded
9 Things a Guy Will Never Reveal

Woman's healthWoman's health Lettermark logo
Matt Bean
Matt Bean is the senior associate editor for Men's Health.