Man Up Chicago polled several Chicago women to get their thoughts on Valentine’s Day. Each were asked the same eight questions, and very few times a consensus was reached. This is not to say you won’t find some great information in regards to wooing your special lady friend this Valentine’s Day. But if my unofficial poll screams one message to guys on Valentine’s Day, it is this: know your girl, and know what she likes. And to a lesser extent: if all else fails, buy some roses.

Here are the seven Chicago women who were polled. I realize most of their ages cluster around 30. I would apologize for the lack of early 20 somethings, but I don’t think that’s necessary. These ladies aren’t neophytes when it comes to Valentine’s Day in Chicago. So pay attention to what they have to say:

  • Chayla, 26, Food and Beverage Sales Representative
  • Leigh, 31, Maker of things at rhymeswithtwee.com
  • Megan, 31, Account Manager
  • Catherine, 36, Event Coordinator
  • Amalie, 31 Writer & Editor
  • Jenny,  30 Writer & Editor
  • Cathie, 29, Editor & Lawyer

I realize most of their ages cluster around 30. I would apologize for the lack of early 20 somethings, but I don’t think that’s necessary. These ladies aren’t neophytes when it comes to Valentine’s Day in Chicago. So pay attention to what they have to say, feel free to leave your own responses in the comments, and check out the second half of the poll in part 2:

Wal-E FlowerBesides shoveling your sidewalk (not a euphemism), the most romantic thing a man can do this Valentine’s Day is:
♥ Spend quality time with me. Not necessarily dinner somewhere, or a night out, but take time to just be together. If he came up with something fun to do, an idea that he put some thought into, that would be especially nice.  -Chayla♥ Cook a meal at home for two! -Leigh

♥ Realistically I like flowers and a card, but I don’t think that’s the most romantic thing, I just like that. -Megan

♥ He can buy a Streetwise as we’re strolling down the street together. -Catherine

♥ Anything that shows he listened, picked up on some little thing I said, and put a bit of himself into making it happen. I dream of love letters, small drawings, a home-cooked version of a meal he knows I’m craving…just something that’s creative and attentive, but not awkwardly over-the-top. –Amalie

♥ Red roses never get old, I swear! -Jenny

♥ Surprise me with something little and unexpected: my favorite flowers (I am a sucker for flowers), a cupcake from my favorite spot, or the new book I am wanting to read. Something I am not thinking you will have thought of. -Cathie

What is the most cliche romantic place or activity in Chicago? Do you secretly (or not so secretly) like this place or activity even though it is cliche?
♥ Hmm… not sure. Once upon a time I would have said “Dinner and a movie.”  -Chayla

♥ Many I know think that horse-drawn carriage rides are romantic. Nothing says I love you like mistreated horses! -Leigh
Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Too cliche? Perfect place for a makeout session? The Navy Pier Ferris wheel could be a good date spot... but we don't recommend following it up with a dinner at Bubba Gump shrimp. At least not on Valentine's Day.

♥ The Navy Pier Ferris wheel and no. -Megan

♥ Ice skating at Millennium Park. And no, I don’t like it. It’s the one sport I don’t excel at. -Catherine♥ It’s a tie between kissing in front of the Chagall windows at the Art Institute and kissing over a bottle of Champagne at the Signature Room. I’ve never done either, but #1 on my list of cliche kisses would be a makeout session at the top of the Navy Pier Ferris wheel. -Amalie

♥ Gejas. I have never been, but it sounds just gnarly, and it is reputed to be very romantic. -Jenny

♥ Geija’s for dinner. And, yes, I actually do secretly like it there (who doesn’t love fondue! and smelling like cooking oil!) but certainly not on Valentine’s Day. -Cathie

Your man has decided to buy you something from the unmentionables department for Valentine’s Day. (A) Is this a good idea? (B) If it is a good idea, what unmentionables store in Chicago should he perusing?

la perla black label

The ladies were divided on whether or not lingerie is a good idea. But if you decide undergarments are the perfect gift, you'd be wise to spend a little money and get something nice from La Perla, or perhaps Agent Provocateur.

♥ La Perla. And yes, it’s a good idea. But keep it classy. Unless it’s been discussed, don’t come home with full on dominatrix gear for me and a gag ball for you.  -Chayla

♥ Nope! Why do so many people need a sexy get-up just to get it on? -Leigh

♥ Sure, why not and something comfortable and non-complicated from I dont know where because I don’t have an unmentionables store that I go to in Chicago. -Megan

♥ This is very tough as there are really no good lingerie boutiques here, they’ve all closed. I like La Perla, but I realize that shit ain’t cheap. However, it’s one of the only places where you can find an actual g-string, and it’s only $18. -Catherine

♥ This is an extremely risky maneuver. If he wants to buy me something unmentionable, it’s probably safer if the item comes in a box with instructions and is of a non-fabric variety. -Amalie

♥ Bad idea. Tacky. See: “Annie Hall,” when Diane Keaton opens some lingerie and says to Woody: “yeah, I think this is a gift for *you*” -Jenny

♥ Not a good idea — screams cheese factor. -Cathie

Better Valentine’s Day gesture: cooking you dinner or taking you out to dinner? Please explain why you prefer one or the other.
♥ Cooking me dinner. It takes time, effort to do so. We can go to dinner whenever. It’s nice to see a man trying to impress you, and it’s more about each other when it’s at home. Bonus — the bedroom (couch? dining room table?) is right there, you don’t have to wait until you get home.  -Chayla

♥ I love my boo, but cooking a meal for the two of us unprompted is something that he rarely does. I still think about last year’s awesome dinner and I am hoping he’ll do that again! He even made a menu and had it laminated and I will always treasure that memory. -Leigh

♥ Cooking, because going out on valentines day for dinner in Chicago sucks. -Megan

♥ Cooking if he’s a professional chef/owns professional chef cookware, if not, then a restaurant. –Catherine

♥ Cooking dinner would usually win out for me, and I’ll be happy if that ends up as this year’s plan. After all, we’re going on a romantic beach vacation two days later, so it seems kind of silly to drop a wad of cash on a Monday night. But there’s a certain restaurant I wouldn’t scoff at. -Amalie

♥ Taking me out to dinner, because I am the better cook. Frankly. -Jenny

♥ For me, cooking me dinner. I am much happier with a nice night at home for Valentines Day for two reasons: 1) if it is a weekend night, the restaurants are beyond busy and the food usually isn’t as good as it can be on other nights and 2) if it is a weeknight, home is a much better place for a nice, relaxed dinner. I don’t want to have to worry about coming home from work and getting all dressed up and be worried about my next day at the office while out to dinner. -Cathie