Although the majority of us generally accept the fact that Valentines Day is a just another corporate-sponsored observance designed to sell cards, flowers, and small teddy bears, you have to give the Hallmark people credit knowing its a sham is one thing, but ignoring it is out of the question.
Explaining to your spouse, fiancée, boyfriend, girlfriends or significant other that Valentines "is a made-up day," does not get you out of your romantic obligations, but rather a one-way trip to the doghouse.
Women like romance and spontaneity, so a logically presented argument that refutes the existence and importance of Valentines is not going to make her melt. If anything, women are just as aware of the sham nature of Valentines Day as men, but thats not really the point if you cant find it in you to go along with something you dont agree with to make her happy, rising to the Valentines challenge with the appropriate romantic response, then you deserve what you get.
Reluctantly going through the motions isnt going to ignite the flames of passion, either. Youre being judged whether you, or even they, know it or not.
Wheres the love?
Not sure what to do on Valentines Day to win that special someone over? If its all been done before, how does one differentiate him- or herself?
Nobody is expecting you to reinvent the wheel here, so feel free to crib some ideas from better romantics than you are just be sure to match the idea to the girl, or youre going to look weird.
Because money cant buy love, some of the best ideas are the cheapest. Visit The Dollar Stretcher at www.stretcher.com/stories/980129b.cfm for a list of affordable Valentines ideas.
You can find other ideas at The Romantic ( www.theromantic.com/stories/valentines/main.htm) , and the St. Valentines Day Web Page ( http://freespace.virgin.net/st.valentine/ ), and especially at Loving You ( http://holidays/lovingyou.com) .
Setting the mood
Candles, flowers and pink things are a gimme for Valentines Day, but nothing can set the tone of an evening like music and Nine Inch Nails "Closer" and Eminems "Kim" probably wont do it. If you have a computer, you wont have to buy any CDs to set the mood, but you still could probably use some music suggestions. Its not a bad time to show your worldly or sensitive side, as long as you can swear her to secrecy.
Loving You has a few suggestions for this at http://holidays.lovingyou.com/valentine/index.shtml?ID=music and please disregard the Michael Boulton reference.
Other suggestion from the Web include anything by Barry White, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, Erika Bahdu, The Gyspy Kings, The Beatles, Jack Johnson, and mid-90s Madonna.
Every rose has its thorn
Flowers and chocolates arent obligatory, but they are always appreciated. If youre going to be somewhere else, or dont have time to drop by you local florists, try 1-800-FLOWERS at www.flowers.com or FTD Florists at www.ftd.com . You can pick from a wide variety of bouquets and gifts for delivery for slightly more than it would cost you in the store. Chances are your local florist is somehow affiliated which guarantees freshness and promptness if youre one of those last-minute types.
Romance is a dish best served hot
Going out for a nice dinner is always a nice way to spend Valentines, but lets face it youre not the first couple to think of this, and unless youre prepared to make a reservation at an expensive restaurant (and soon), then you might find yourself waiting in line for a table.
One sure way to beat the crowds is to cook a romantic dinner at home. The key here is to keep it light a huge steak dinner with all the fixings is not going to lead anywhere but the couch, and maybe the bathroom.
The Free Gourmet has a few ideas at www.free-gourmet-recipes.com/loverecipes.shtml , as does the Kissing Booth at www.kissingbooth.com/recipes/ , The Romantic at www.theromantic.com/recipes/main.htm , and Romacetips.com at www.romancetips.com/recipes/ .
Romantic advice from the stars
Because Valentines Day falls on a weekend this year a long weekend, too, if you live in the U.S. or Alberta youve got more than one breakfast in bed or dinner at home to plan for. You might want to back up your arsenal with a few romantic movies you can either watch them together, or mine them for tips.
Luckily the people at About.com have assembled a list of romantic comedies and dramas at http://romanticmovies.about.com/ . The Romance Institute has put together a list of romantic movies that guys like at www.artofattraction.com/romov.htm . Inspiration Point has put together another list with public input at www.inspirationpoint.com/ipmovies.htm
Write a love letter
Putting feelings into words is never easy. Thats probably why we swear so much.
Although Homer Simpson once bragged that sensitive love letters were his specialty, he has nothing on the old masters Napoleon Bonaparte, Sir Walter Raleigh, Oliver Cromwell, these guys knew their stuff. The art of writing letters may be dead for our generation, but back in their day it was a mandatory skill.
The U.S. Postal Service has put together a collection of memorable love letters from down through the ages that might inspire you to pen your own ode to love.