Dear Men, Boys, Players, Wannabes, & Scrubs of DC

Dear Men, Boys, Players, Wannabes, and Scrubs of Washington, DC:

You are officially less than 48 hours out from Valentine’s Day. If you have waited this long to get your act together, then clearly you do not have your act together. Even the candy aisles at your local CVS or Walgreens is likely to be bare-bones:  filled with the everyday staples of M&Ms and whatever remaining, non-recalled, chocolate-covered peanut products left in their cheesy shrink-wrapped boxes. 

I’m guessing you thought you could stop by your local grocery store and get some flowers on your way to your girl’s house before you took her to Wendy’s for dinner, because if you haven’t made reservations at a restaurant yet, then you are plumb out of luck. All the good restaurants are booked -- unless you want to eat dinner during lunchtime.
So if you are anticipating anything special -- or romantic -- occurring on Feb. 14, then please take a bit of advice: it’s time to pull out the cheesiness factor. That’s cheesiness with a capital M-O-N-E-Y.
Start by asking any of your girlfriends what their favorite romantic movie is. I bet a lot of them will say "The Notebook" or maybe "Say Anything." Some might even pull out epics like "The English Patient" or "Gone with the Wind."  Buy the DVD. Wrap the DVD. Put the DVD in a large box with a box of popcorn, a nice bowl from Williams and Sonoma and maybe one of those soft couch blankets you can buy from Target. (Heck. At this point, you should buy two DVDs.) Then take the box to Nordstroms or Macy’s or Neiman Marcus and have the nice ladies in customer service wrap the box for you. Cost: $100.
Why will this make up for your lack of dinner reservations, flowers or chocolate?  

You see, movie nights bespeak cuddling. Cuddling means alone time. Alone time means you want to be near her. And a girl who sees a guy who wants to be near her makes her heart beat a little bit faster.
What else ... well, frankly, you should buy jewelry. Caution though Will Robinson: STAY AWAY FROM RINGS OF ANY SORT unless you want to marry her. If she sees a small box, she will flip out. Guaranteed. And no matter what the ring looks like, a ring given in a relationship -- dating, undefined, serious or just boyfriend and girlfriend -- smacks of long-term commitment, i.e. it’s the precursor to the real engagement ring.
A necklace is more than appropriate but earrings are better. Keep them classy. Studs are good. Less than $100 unless you are seriously banking.  Bracelets are a difficult selection because most women don’t wear bracelets, but I can’t think of a single woman who doesn’t wear earrings. Just make sure you know whether she has pierced ears or not. If you aren’t confident, then do a necklace.
And if you are really plumb out of luck -- and really don’t want to spend a lot of money -- then make her dinner. It’s deeply romantic, especially if you planned to do this from the start. Be advised:  if you know you are a terrible cook, then you should invite her over to watch you make the effort rather than have her arrive when the meal is complete. She needs to see the effort, and after you destroy the kitchen -- hopefully not inviting the fire marshal for an unexpected visit -- she will lovingly say, “Thanks for trying.” At this point you will be Valentine’s victorious.
Oh. Should you follow the cooking at home plan, please be sure to have a frozen pizza in the freezer so you can offer her something edible to eat.  Again. It’s the thought that counts ... just be sure to have back-up food because no one wants to go hungry!
Best wishes,
The Women of D.C.

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