Alternative Gestures of Affection

Much like New Year’s Eve, the soon thereafter Valentine’s Day is often characterized by high expectations and even higher levels of inevitable disappointment. Even if you are lucky enough to have a significant other to spend the day with, how can you ever really rise above the typical flowers and chocolate? Sure, you should be going out to dinner, but what if it lands on a weekday? All the logistics of a long, swanky night out can be a bit tiresome, not to mention expensive. And actually getting a reservation at a decent place!? Ugh.


This V-Day, consider some of these alternate gestures of affection.

  • Let’s just say you do actually do go out to dinner. Buy dessert ahead of time and leave it for an at-home session of Netflix & Chill, order it to go at your dinner place or pick it up somewhere else on the way home. If you’re in the PVD area and on Federal Hill, the date maneuver I was taught by my brother was dinner somewhere on De Pasquale Square followed by dessert from Pastiche. Can’t go wrong with that!
  • Buy all the high-end ingredients needed for one of your significant other’s favorite cocktails, even if it’s in small quantities. For mine, that means a Dirty Martini: top shelf vodka, some quality vermouth and some of the best organic olives and olive juice money can buy.
  • Pick a day on or near V-Day and coordinate it so that you and your sigoth get “sick” on the same day and stay home to work. Watch a movie, order in, have a few drinks.
  • Reschedule Valentine’s Day! You’re better off surprising him/her by doing it a week early rather than a week late. You don’t want to get accused of forgetting!
  • If you’re the type of couple who prefers staying in to going out, but you aren’t big on cooking elaborate meals, consider this alternative: charcuterie! Though I prefer calling it adult Lunchables, charcuterie is a pretty easy and a fantastic romantic dinner coupled with some wine. Buy a few different meats and cheeses, along with a loaf of french bread and some mustards, and voila!
  • Hide little love notes in his/her things: lunch box, wallet, jacket, pants pockets. It could be a simple “I love you” or a touching memory starting with “Remember that time when…” Or, if you’re into the torturously funny, think of the time that my then-girlfriend had a pair of purple pants we called her “Joker Pants” that I once filled with all the Joker cards I could find in the house.
  • Arrange a scavenger-style treasure hunt for your significant other. If you’re feeling cruel, have it be a quiz: “Meet me at the second place we ever had dinner together!” or “Look in the Blu-ray case for my favorite movie!” Obviously the final clue has to be your dinner reservation location, or their present, or hey maybe the bed.
  • Sexy Candy. If you look hard enough and dream big enough, you can find all sorts of candy out there. We’re talking sugary, candy penises or even life-sized chocolate dildos. Note: Recommended for consumption, not use. These sure are hard to find, but I know for a fact that if you ask at the counter at Pearl’s Candy & Nuts in Woonsocket, they’ll have the goods … out of the sight of children.
  • If you’re the crafty type, get or build a wooden box. Paint it. Learn calligraphy and write some of their favorite quotes on it. Maybe slap your anniversary date on there somewhere. Better yet — put a lock on it and have that be the code.
  • If you’re the sentimental type, fill said box with memories of your relationship: ticket stubs from your first movie together and/or first concert, photos, love notes or receipts.
  • Into apple picking in the fall? String a bunch of apples from a tree in the middle of February to go apple picking in the winter!
  • The photo-obsessed should know that you can print out your Instagram photos at most photo areas in pharmacies and the like. Consider printing photos of your favorite memories and building a scrapbook. Do it chronologically and write in how you felt in every picture.
  • Consider a sailor’s valentine: artwork done with seashells in a mahogany wooden box and placed under glass. MermaidsBaubles is a local Etsy shop that specializes in these and similar items.
  • Sometimes the greatest gestures of affection come in the form of acts of service: Clean the house for them, make the bed, do anything that might seem like a step above and beyond. Just helping out and taking care of things so they don’t have to worry about it can be a better gift than the biggest bouquet of flowers and sweetest box of chocolates.