So Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and you’ve ignored hints about fancy restaurant reservations, that subtle list of local florists, or the engagement-ring Pinterest board she shared on Facebook. The timing couldn’t be worse: thanks to holiday spending, tax season, and that embarrassing Super Bowl bet, you’re broke and running out of creative ways to make her friends jealous.
Well, don’t blow your paycheck at the mall jeweler. You’re better than a meaningless box of Shari’s Berrys. Here are five thoughtful ways to show her your love without draining your checking account.
Surprise her with a ready-made movie night. On your way home from work, swing by the movie theater to buy some fresh popcorn, and snag an extra large cup and straws. Light candles around the couch, then queue up her favorite romantic comedies on Netflix. When she comes over, serve her the warm popcorn, her favorite candy and a jumbo-sized soda. If she’s not head-over-heels for this show of creativity, a ticket stub with a personal note should do the trick.
Show her your flower power with brute force. Set your alarm clock early, because you’ve got a lot to do before she gets to her cubicle. Head over to your local corner grocery or bodega in the morning and buy five cheap bouquets of mixed flowers. Drop the first bouquet off on her front door, leave the second with the office receptionist so she’ll receive it when she gets in, and place the third on her office chair. Place the fourth bouquet at her door when she gets home, and arrive with the fifth to finish out the evening.
There’s still time to sweep her off of her feet. Book a solo dance class this week — for yourself only — or do a YouTube deep dive. You don’t need to master the art of the tango or swing, you just need to know enough to surprise her by taking her out dancing. Don’t forget to bring her a long-stemmed rose. If she doesn’t want to hold it, you can clamp it in your teeth for an authentic tango touch.
For guys who never cook, now is your obvious chance. Ina Garten’s truffle pasta is as easy as it is delicious. If you can boil water and melt butter in a pan, you can treat her to a decadent Valentine’s Day dinner. Serve it with a side salad taken right from a plastic box of mixed greens, and copious amounts of Prosecco. Finish off with a store-bought pint of chocolate gelato.
You can be romantic without creating an elaborate experience. Purchase a picture frame, and write a love note to her on the back. Instead of putting one photo in the frame, go ahead and stuff ten in there. Write a different reason why you love her on the back of each photo. If you’re stumped, a few lines from a Pablo Neruda poem. You know that dude never had time to run around town buying flowers.