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What she really wants for Valentine's Day

Valentine's DayFor us women, the signs of the season are clear: Red paper hearts, white doilies and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are popping up everywhere. Everywhere we turn, we see ads for luscious red roses, sparkling diamonds and romantic getaways for two.

So why the heck aren't men paying the least amount of attention?

Sadly, Valentine's Day is a holiday that seems to give many men that deer-in-the-headlights look in their eyes. They freeze, sure danger is imminent, but aren't quite sure which way to go.

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We have four words for you, gentlemen: Get with the program. Whatever your romance barometer, Romeo, one thing you cannot do is ignore Feb. 14. The ramifications, if you know what I mean, may not go away for a long, long time. No one expects you to go broke in the process, but you need to put forth some effort.

Go ahead and embrace it. Here's how (and why).

It's all about the "R" word
Valentine's Day is a time to create the romance that too often gets pushed aside in the frazzle of day-to-day living. It's not, "Here's a box of chocolates, babe," and then plopping down in front of the tube to search out the latest sports happening.

No, no, no. Women adore romance; we're irresistibly drawn to it. You know the fairy-tale kind -- where the handsome prince courts the lovely lady and spends his entire evening showering her with his attention and praise. Courtship, attention, praise ... the reaffirmation that she's still your lovely lady.

We know that love isn't measured in pounds of chocolate, arm-loads of roses or dazzling arrays of diamonds (of course, not many of us would put up a huge fight over the diamond-part). But, the key to Valentine's Day lies in making her the recipient of a sincere expression of love -- oh yes, spiced with flair and a romantic touch.

Make her feel like a queen. You can't go wrong if you remember the day's central theme -- it's all about her!

Carats too costly?
Showering your special Valentine with attention doesn't have to leave a black hole in your pocket. After all, it's the thought that really counts. But, if you are on a limited budget and want to be her knight in shining armor, we have some ideas.

Here are seven romantic-do-it-yourself projects.

1. Love at daybreak
Get an early start showing your undying love and affection. While she's still curled up in bed, prepare a continental breakfast in bed -- coffee, orange juice, toasted bagel with cream cheese, and fruit cup. She'll enjoy it even more if you gently nudge her awake, and deliver it with a flourish and smile. Think gallant!

2. Save money ... skip the Hallmark!
Take pen in hand and become Don Juan. Write her a love letter reminiscent of your courtship. This is where the sincere expression of your love plays a big role, gentlemen, and earns you big kudos. Lavish her with love and praise -- go ahead, it's all free!

3. One long-stem rose
Okay, conjure up this special evening at home -- candles, soft music, set table and one long-stem rose across her dinner plate. Tonight you're the chef.

If the kitchen is unfamiliar territory, you'll need to start your planning early. But even if dinner's out-of-the-box, she'll appreciate the break from her normal routine. Oh, and one piece of delectable chocolate with a cup of coffee would be a nice finishing touch.

Don't forget about the clean-up.

4. Movie night at ... home
Create a cozy atmosphere at home -- ambience, ambience, ambience. Pick up a newly-released movie or her favorite oldie -- yes, even if it means smiling through Gone with the Wind. You pop the corn, fix the sodas, puff-up the sofa pillows and bring out the warm, fuzzy blanket.

Just remember the theme (psst ... it's all about her!), and stay away from the war or sport flicks -- unless that happens to be her favorite, too.

5. Let her have the control
So, you didn't have time to pick up that video. Don't worry! This tip topped our polls -- let her control the TV remote for the night.

While this might amount to watching an entire show, rather than channel surfing and watching three programs at the same time, the novelty will surprise your wife. Oh, and don't forget the popcorn, sodas, puffed-up pillows and warm, fuzzy blanket.

6. A romantic stroll ... just the two of you
This is for the family man -- you'll need to arrange for a baby sitter. This stroll might be through a favorite park or with no particular destination in mind. The key here, gentlemen, is not setting out to "conquer the trip."

Think in terms of stroll, chat, window shop, stroll, chat ... set a slow pace. Treat her to a coffee, hot chocolate or other favorite drink. And remember to hold her hand and that kisses are free!

7. Foot massage ... aahh
This time bypass the gift certificate, and let her relax at home.

Okay, here's the routine: soak her feet in hot water with scented salts, scrub her heels with a pumice stone, then dry them with a fluffy towel. Wait, there's more -- you need to finish by massaging her feet with a scented lotion.

Too much for your senses? Go ahead, set an appointment for a professional foot massage, but you drop her off and pick her up.

C'mon, Romeo, You can do it!

-- Posted: Feb. 8, 2002

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See Also
Guys guide to Valentine's Day
Valentine gifting do's and don'ts
The cost of Valentine's Day
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