1 Get your gift wrapped perfectly
Most malls have a branch of Paperchase, which offers a gift-wrapping service from Dhs9 (though you have to buy the wrapping paper). See www.paperchase.co.uk.
2 Book your taxi an hour in advance
The outfit is perfect, you’ve worked on your hair and you smell good enough to eat. Then you find yourself standing in the street for hours looking for a cab. Call Dubai Taxis an hour beforehand on 04 208 0808. Or take the metro, of course – it’s cheaper.
3 Wear the right scent
This is important. Perfume and cologne last for about three years once opened, so when choosing your perfect date scent, avoid reaching for that rarely-used ‘special occasion’ bottle. It’s probably as stale as a loaf of mouldy bread.
4 Order the right wine
A good rule of thumb is to pick bottles from the same region as the food you’re eating. The flavour of wine is affected by the other products grown in the soil, so your food will be complemented.
5 Bag the best table
‘Always dress up – if you’re coming in on-spec, that really helps. And book one to two weeks in advance. For special occasions, book at least a month in advance.’ James Worthington, manager, Rivington Grill
6 Ensure you get into the nightclub
Take ID with you, even if you haven’t been carded in years. You don’t want to be seen arguing with the doorman. Making a table booking is a good idea too, if you can.
7 Even better… do your groundwork
Plan ahead and visit the venue a couple of nights before Valentine’s Day – preferably on a quiet night. Make conversation with the door and bar staff so they remember you on the day. You might even get jumped to the front of the queue.
8 Find a venue with quiet spots
A conversation in a noisy club will encourage you to lean towards each other, which can feel intimate, but is pretty tiring. Find a secluded corner where you can talk before heading to the dancefloor. Which reminds us…
9 Practise your dance moves!
Don’t mess it up on the dancefloor with shoddy footwork or flailing arms.
10 Make sure your date gets home safely
If you’ve had a couple of drinks, impress with your responsible attitude and call Safer Driver on 04 268 8797 (www.saferdriver.ae). They’ll come to you and drive you, your car and your date home for no more than Dhs150 (from Dhs100 to Dhs120 for shorter distances).
And learn from our mistakes…
3 If you end up eating late, head to one of the Arabic eateries, rather than risk being surrounded by seething, tired waiting staff who just want to shut up shop and go home.