I Tried Gwyneth Paltrow’s Valentine’s Day Tips and This Is What Happened

Gwyneth PaltrowNeilson Barnard/Getty Images for Michael Kors

I should start this off by saying that I’m not some crazed Gwyneth Paltrow fan. I don’t normally adhere to her advice or rules, I’ve never gotten a vagina steam, and I don’t even subscribe to Goop newsletters. 

But, I can also recognize when a woman is just doing life right. One look at Gwyneth’s glowing skin or freaking perfect shade of blonde (that no amount of my plebian money can buy) tells me that I could stand to take a few cues from the actress. If I put even one percent of the effort into any part of my life that she puts into, well, vagina steams, I would become a greatly improved version of myself. 

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So, when news broke a few weeks ago that Paltrow was urging her readers to create this sex bark recipe for their partners on Valentine’s Day, I figured maybe I should try it. I have a boyfriend, and I’m sure he, like most men, wouldn’t hate it if I became more like Gwyneth Paltrow. So, I embarked (Gwyneth jokes! The best kind!) on a mission to make this elusive sex bark. Until I read the ingredients for Goop Sex Bark. Not only were they totally insane products that I’m not even sure exist in the real world (things like ghee and ho shou wu), but there’s no way that my boyfriend, eater of Cheez-Its and Haribo gummy bears, would be able to stomach the stuff. 

Luckily, Goop also gave out some V-Day advice a few years back. While much more involved and detailed, these instructions are better suited for a 28-year-old bro’s interests. And, if I’m really going to commit to being more like GP, making up a little sex bark isn’t going to do it—I need a whole day as Gwyn. The instructions are as follows: Start with making your partner a healthy breakfast in bed, consisting of an omelette, a yogurt parfait, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and coffee. Then, before your partner heads off to work, leave some love notes in their pants pockets. For dinner, prepare Goop’s Chicken Paillard recipe. Then, top off the night with a flip through Paltrow-favorite book 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex

For the sake of service journalism (and my sanity), I attempted these tasks over the course of a few days, in order to provide you, dear reader, with my experiences ahead of the actual holiday. That way, if you decide that the Gwyneth Way is the Only Way when it comes to Valentine’s Day, you can give it a shot, too. I’ll let you make your own conclusions based on my diary entries below, but I will say that this is one writer who will no longer be so quick to judge Gwyneth Paltrow.

Thursday, February 5, 10:00 p.m.: My first hurdle in the saga of Becoming Gwyneth Paltrow is to make her (famous?) Chicken Paillard recipe. It should be noted that I am a vegetarian, so preparing meat is the ultimate romantic sacrifice. My plan is to cook ‘er up while Garrett is at hockey. Well, I am literally dropping the chix on the frying pan when I get a call from G. He’s on his way home…with a belly full of freshly eaten In-N’-Out. To try again tomorrow…

Gwyneth Paltrow CookingIda Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images

Friday, February 6, 9:00 a.m.: After last night’s fail, I decide to kick things off with an early morning task. Gwyneth suggests starting the day by leaving little love notes in your partner’s pants pockets for them to discover throughout the day. Well, Garrett is working from home today and there’s a 3% chance he will put on pants, so I choose to leave Post-Its throughout the house. And, since I am at a total loss for romantic words, I borrow from the most prolific wordsmith of our time: Beyoncé.

I assume that since I’ve literally never left love notes in my life, I’ll get some confused texts soon after arriving to work. But, said texts are less “WTF” and more “I’m automatically assuming these notes are hints for an extravagant Valentine’s Day gift I’m about to receive, and not just a very nice gesture in and of themselves.” I think he thinks I’m getting him Beyoncé tickets, which is very strange because 1) he is a boy and 2) she’s not even touring. This should be a fun moment when he realizes there is no gift, only a story that will very much embarass him. Thanks Gwyn!

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Friday, February 6, 3:30 p.m.: I’m spending the afternoon (at work) researching erotica. For work! To start, I am very uncomfortable. For those of you who haven’t visited the E! offices (which is all of you), we have an open floor plan. Which means that anybody who sits near me or walks past my desk can see everything I’m doing. It’s not the most conducive environment to Googling the book 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex. And no, that is not a typo — author Laura Corn actually added those two extra r’s on purpose. Because we’re all looking for more Tony the Tiger in our sex lives! This is an excerpt of the actual book description on Amazon. (A book that Gwyneth Paltrow herself called “not another sex book,” I should add).

“Once a week, you and your partner each pick a sealed page and tear it from the book. There’s no turning back now — and no peeking at each other’s page! Just follow your secret instructions, and sometime during the week you’ll each be getting an erotic surprise. Talk about anticipation! Because once you’ve picked a seduction, and piqued your lover’s curiosity, their sense of anticipation will build, and build. You will both be fantasizing all week about what’s going to happen next.”

…I think it goes without saying that this is the end of my diary entry on this subject. 

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Friday, February 6, 6:00 p.m.: Well, I successfully made Gwyneth’s Chicken Piccata. But, I have to say that it doesn’t seem like a very Goop-y recipe. As Garrett remarked while I was cooking, “So, is that just like, a cooked chicken breast?” Exactly. But, considering I have touched raw chicken less than three times ever, I think that I did swimmingly in adding salt, pepper, and olive oil to raw chicken and then cooking it long enough to avoid salmonella. The only issue is that Gwyneth Paltrow-sized portions do not sufficiently satiate a 28-year old man, especially before a night of drinking. I wonder what tips Gwen has for Goop-approved bartime pizza runs? I’ll redeem myself with tomorrow’s four-course breakfast in bed.

Saturday, February 7, 10:30 a.m.: So. Hungover. So. Incredibly. Hungover. Who can I hire to prepare this omelette/yogurt parfait/fresh-squeezed orange juice? I actually can’t see straight. I finally rouse myself from bed to see if I can possibly attempt to spoon yogurt into a bowl, only to come across Garrett in the fetal position on the living room floor, with three pillows covering his face. Something says that an omelette is not going to go over well. I crawl (okay, fine, I stumbled) down the street to Robek’s and order two giant Strawnana Berry smoothies. Goop endorses fruit, right? This will bring us closer together, even if it’s not in the way Gwyneth envisioned it. The couple who dry heaves together stays together.

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