Herald Journal Columns
Feb. 11, 2002

Money doesn't need to fly from your wallet


Whoopie, it's Valentines Day again. I just can't get too excited about Valentine's Day anymore, because I've come to the conclusion that it's a crock.

It isn't because my husband and I are not romantic people. The problem is that I truly believe it has become a commercial holiday.

My husband swears that it must have been invented by, or at least influenced by, Hallmark-type industries. Let's face it, it has become a big money-maker for some retail markets.

My idea of being romantic is more of a daily thing. I'm not saying that Valentine's Day isn't important. It certainly is.

Unfortunately, with real life demands, the little romantic things tend to get pushed to the back burner. That's real life.

My idea of romance has nothing to do with a dozen red roses (for an ungodly $60 dollars) or chocolate. Give me the $60 bucks and I will go to the mall and make it last for a year, in new shoes for the kids.

Romance doesn't have to be only one or two days during the year. If you are looking for the sweet romance (the best kind), look no further than your own creativity, the Internet, or even one of the many romance idea books on the market. The little things are the ones that end up being the most meaningful.

Give me a sweet note taped to the bathroom mirror or scrape "I love you" in my car windows in the morning before work. I will be thrilled all day.

That says "Hey baby, I was thinking about you and wanted to make your day."

Note to the men: Simple is good. Trust me when I tell you that a love note sprayed with your cologne, although corny, will make her smile. It doesn't have to be an elaborate composition - just tell her how much you love her and why in a sentence or two.

The trick to this is putting the note somewhere where she will find it when you aren't there. In the car, in a lunch box, taped to her hand when she's sleeping, or in the shower in the morning.

As most attached women will attest to, any small gesture that she can brag to her girlfriends about is a sure fire hit. And, you will be the one reaping the benefits, if you know what I mean . . .

A man I know (who shall remain nameless because he told me that if I ever used his name in my column again, he would never speak to me) did something so sweet for his wife long before they were married.

He cut out a bunch of hearts from construction paper and wrote simple and cute things on them that made him think of her. The hearts read things like her nickname and his, I love you, you are cute, and stuff like that.

Then he took the hearts, broke into her car, and taped them all over the interior. Those hearts stayed taped in her car for months. She loved them.

She still smiles, 10 years and three children later, when you bring it up. I bet the whole deal cost him a maximum of $3, including the tape he took from the junk drawer. But it was "priceless" in emotional value.

Now ladies, stop reading here. (This will likely be the only time you will ever read those words in my column.) Instead, circle the column in red marker and put it somewhere that it will surely be noticed by your man. And don't peek.

Valentine's ideas for dummies

(AKA the romantically challenged)

You will just have to trust me on this one, because I can guarantee that she will love it. I know that these ideas seem so goofy, and you may feel stupid, but it will make her day.

· If she takes a lunch to work, make a sandwich for her and cut the bread into a heart shape.

· Put a picture of yourself or the two of you on the dash of her car, with a simple "I love you."

· A backrub, with lotion heated for a few seconds in the microwave, is the best.

· Send her a racy e-mail at work, but make sure you warn her in the subject line to be alone when she reads it. A word of caution though, since it is at work, don't make it too racy.

· After your shower and before hers, write a sweet phrase on the foggy mirror. She will see it when the mirror is foggy after her shower.

· Give her the remote and tell her that it's her night to watch whatever she wants. Then sit next to her and try to enjoy HGTV or a sitcom. This one won't work, though, if you go to the next TV and turn on the game.

· Make her a napkin rose.

· If you have a PC, open up the paint program and draw a heart or two, an I love you, and a smiley face. Then set the picture as her computer wallpaper. When she turns on the computer, she will have a nice surprise.

The best romantic gifts are the ones that are simple and sweet, not done to suck up when you made her mad, or because you are supposed to. Being broke is not an excuse to blow off Valentine's day.

It is also not a reason to go out and blow your entire paycheck, especially if you aren't financially able to do so.

Show her in little ways that you appreciate her all year round. She will be smiling for weeks, and her girlfriends will be looking at their man with a "why aren't you more like him" expression.

This may not go over too well with the guys, but hey, the best thing the guys ever cooked for you was a frozen pizza. The little things, done any day of the year, are the things that will keep her happy.

Trust me. I am a woman. I know these things.

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