Since Chinese Valentine’s Day is, like western Valentine’s Day, a made-up holiday lovingly handcrafted by florists and chocalatiers to plump corporate coffers in the sluggish post-Christmas season, the biggest surprise you can give a Chinese girl on this day is just remembering that there is such a holiday and pretending it is a neat thing rather than One More Hassle. After that, it’s kind of all sauce. How weak or awesome that sauce may be depends entirely on you.
Awesome sauce could include the following ingredients:
Plan to have someone deliver flowers on the day in a place where they will be noticed. This takes a little thought. The point is not just for your dream girl to receive a bouquet of flowers but to receive a bouquet of flowers in front of a bunch of people including the skinny mean girl in accounts receivable who said something bitchy about her shoes that morning. Chocolates can be included but they are not super-important. Chocolate is not the thing in China that it is in the western world, so err on the side of buying chocolates of questionable quality that are wrapped in gaily decorated packages with ribbons, bows, etc. and are printed with brilliant, witty things like “You’re scrumptious!”
The big meal. Feed her something tasty and expensive in a place that looks nice where she can wear clothing that she doesn’t normally get to wear. You can make it western food if you like, but expect to order for both of you and try to stay away from things that contain a lot of cheese or sour flavors. If you go Chinese, think about what you will order before hand so you don’t just end up ordering kung pao chicken, because that is what every foreigner orders.
After dinner, I suggest that you do something relatively neutral like hit up a movie or go to a park. What you are looking for is not some earth-shattering event that will define you as human beings, but something safe and approachable that you can both talk about later and connect over. This may mean that you need to find a movie that you think is not particularly awesome. Remember, you are not attempting to score cool points by showing how you are totally up on the work of some give obscure director that nobody but you and a bunch of grad school smartypants give a shit about, the point is that you are having an experience together with someone you care about that you then discuss and refer back to as something that you did together as a couple that was fun. You are enjoying each other more than the movie or concert or whatever. So, consider giving the Herzog film festival a miss and going for the latest touch-feely deal with Colin Firth in it.
The obvious: Don’t be a dick. Act like you are having fun and spend a lot of time listening and nodding your head and smiling. Presumably this shouldn’t be too hard since this should be someone that you actually like.