Seize a Valentine's Day Victory using Situational Awareness: A Short Guide for Men

Seize a Valentine's Day Victory using Situational Awareness: A Short Guide for Men

by Brandon Hunt

V-Day is close. 

Well, that’s how I think of Valentine’s Day, because for a lot of guys it feels like assaulting the beach on D-Day. It’s one holiday men don’t look forward to, generally speaking of course.

Yet, composite statistics show that men, in comparison to women, make up 62% of the gift giving ratio on Valentine’s Day.

Kind of strange. Do we give out of a sense of pressure, or a feeling of obligation and expectation? There’s some truth to that. At least a little.

There’s no denying commercialization has taken over the holiday. In fact, V-Day is the second largest commercial holiday, after Black Friday. That says something about Valentine’s, does it not? So, yeah, clearly there is a sense of obligation placed on men by a consumerist society. And that also translates into implied consequences if guys (in general) somehow mess up on that heart-shaped holiday.

You Mean It’s On The Same Date Every Year?

So, what if you do happen to forget about V-Day… until you’re reminded of it? What do you do? How do you respond?

You know there’s potential for hurt feelings, whether your spouse likes the holiday or not. Most guys still feel the need to do something or give a gift on that day. 

A Sympathetic Shoulder

I get it. V-Day is not my personal favorite. I don’t like the commercial interests putting pressure on me, implying that I have no affection if I don’t buy a gift for my wife.

But, despite my own personal lack of enthusiasm for the holiday, I know my wife enjoys it. So far I have remembered V-Day over the years.

However, I have had experience with forgetting other important days, forcing me to scramble at the last minute to find a gift or come up with something creative. 

To help with such events, I have come up with my own little system based on situational awareness tools used in emergency situations. I’ve adapted them to fit personal scenarios where I might encounter a rather upset wife because I forgot an important day (like an anniversary).

What’s Ahead

Just a little heads up on what to expect. This post is a theoretical exercise in surviving Valentine’s Day based upon the premise that you forgot about the holiday, or you have little time to prepare, or maybe you’re just a bit of a procrastinator, but you still need to do something.

It’s for fun. But you might actually find the situational awareness tools useful.

Theoretical V-Day

Okay. So your day started out like normal. You woke up, went through your usual routine and made it to work on time.

Everything is going great. Just another day. Until…you overhear a co-worker mention something about it being Valentine’s Day.

You look up and your stomach rumbles, and not from a bad cup of coffee. That sickly feeling in your stomach is telling you what you can expect if you go home empty handed.

Fortunately you remembered an article you read a while back. It was on using situational awareness to assess and create a plan. You also have a good memory and can recall the main points of the article.

You whip it out paper and pen, or furiously type if you prefer the computer, and begin working up a Situational Awareness Threat Assessment diagram.

It looks something like this:

1-Be Observant: This depends on how well you know your spouse. Has your spouse dropped any hints in conversations lately? Capitalize on favorite foods, movies, music, special settings or places. Combine several of her favorite things into one gift. Do you have kids? Does she need a break? You should be able to find something based on your knowledge of your significant other.

2-Be Aware of Potential Consequences: Again, this relies upon how well you know your wife or girlfriend. What are the most likely responses you can expect if you go home empty handed or without a plan? Anticipating reactions and consequences will prepare you with your own appropriate responses and reactions.

3-Make a Plan: Now that you have run through various scenarios of anticipated consequences, you can develop a plan for surviving V-Day. You’ll need to get into the details. How much time do you have after work to get what you need? How soon will your spouse expect something? If you have kids can you run interference? You might have to coordinate with your kids to pull this off. Use all available assets if you have to. Remember, this kind of last minute, so a simple plan might be best. But, go with your gut on this.

4-Act on It: Once you have your plan ready, act on it. If your plan requires coordination, set it in motion hours ahead of your returning home. 

5-Don’t Panic or Fail to Act: Stay calm, right? Paralysis or failure to act is the enemy. But, no matter what, you’ll get through it.

Color Code To Help Identify Threat Levels


Oblivious. You’re lucky and your spouse doesn’t care about the holiday at all. You can proceed as normal.


Spouse is aware of the day, but somewhat ambivalent toward the holiday. A gift is a nice gesture, but may not be totally necessary.


There is a problem. Your wife/girlfriend likes the holiday, and therefore, you need a gift. Doesn’t have to be big, just thoughtful cause she’ll appreciate the thought more than the gift itself.


Major issue. If you don’t come through on this, you can expect some consequences – like a night on the couch. However, you can still salvage the day if you have a good action plan to compensate for your forgetfulness.


(The absolute worst scenario). Scorched earth is what you find when you get home. You lost your chance for the day and it will take some time and groveling to recover.

Anticipated Outcomes

Minor- Small Scale  =

Spouse doesn’t care.

Carry on as normal.

Have a nice evening together.

Minor-Medium Scale =

Spouse cares and enjoys the holiday.

Your plan works and you save the day.

You have a very nice evening with each other.

Major-Large Scale =

Spouse knows you forgot and is upset.

However, you still pulled it off and presented a gift.

Everything is smoothed over. You enjoy making up.

Total Disaster =

Your spouse has gone atomic.

Everything failed. Or. You failed to plan.

The dog has your side of the bed while you are on its bed. If you’re lucky you get the couch.

And there you have it. A few situational awareness diagrams to help you anticipate possible reactions and consequences. The diagrams also assist in developing action plans. Use them to help you survive V-Day.

To Your Success

Even though this post is not to be taken too seriously, the idea of adapting situational awareness techniques can help with planning and taking action.

And…if you happen to read this on Valentine’s Day, and you actually forgot about it, then apply the above methods to give you a chance at success.

If you liked this article please share it, as it could possibly help some poor guy out there. Good luck and have a successful, happy, V-Day.

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