MyStoryYourStory: Put a little ‘wow’ in your Valentine’s Day

Guys, take a little advice from me, someone who has 40 solid years of Valentine's Day experience under her belt, don't wait until Feb. 14th to channel cupid. Start today.

Believe me; women know when a Valentine's gift is so last minute and totally not well-thought out. Like a box of candy or a picked-over card. Truth be told; most women are counting calories and instinctively know when a card was the next to the last one on the rack.

Get out there right now and buy her a meaningful card when there still are some decent ones to choose from. Better yet, make her a card – there's nothing more heartfelt. Use a computer software program or create one by folding a piece of printer paper in half or fourths, and then write on the front "Be Mine Forever." On the inside? "Valentine, I'm glad I chose you…" And then, sign it "Forever yours."

When it comes to flowers, ordering a dozen roses from the florist can be pricey. Why not buy her a bouquet at Hy-Vee or Wal-Mart, where flowers are just as beautiful, a fraction of the cost and you personally deliver them.

If you're on a tight budget, remember, it's not the dollar amount that matters; it's the thought that counts. Some of the most romantic things you can give your sweetheart really aren't things at all.

What a woman wants most is undivided attention from her man, and the only cost to that, my friend, is your time and attentiveness. Pulling this off can be quite a fete. But you can do it if you stay focused!

Get in the mood by transporting yourself back in time to the early days of your budding romance. Reminisce when everything you did, said and thought completed each other.

Recreate those infatuating moments of ear-nibbling bliss and electrical charge you experienced just being together.

Now that you're in the mood, make a plan for an evening – just the two of you – sitting side-by-side in front of the fireplace, watching her favorite show or enjoying a candlelight meal with her favorite music playing in the background.

If you still have children at home, schedule a babysitter or swap babysitting with best friends or relatives. Cook her favorite entrée, and if cooking is not your forte, order her favorite carry-out.

Turn off your phones, Blackberries, iPads, beepers, two-way radios, TVs, computers and the like. Tell your friends and family, so they won't try reaching you and end up on your doorstep worried why you didn't pick up.

If you have a little in reserve or a good credit rating, consider splurging. Make dinner reservations at her favorite restaurant and dress up for the occasion – no sweatshirts, jeans or tee-shirts – make it special. And, definitely leave that ball cap at home.

You could pamper her with a gift card for a spa day, a facial or completely spoil her with both. If she likes a tidy house, schedule Merry Maids to clean the place from top to bottom or try doing this yourself. An all-expense paid girls' night out could be a winner, too.

Scientific research on women shows we are very complicated creatures. More often than not, men have trouble figuring us out. One thing for sure, women appreciate thoughtfulness. There are little things you can do and say that will make her feel ever so special, like…

… Hold her hand longer than a second or two.

… Look deeply into her eyes. It's ok. After all, it's Valentine's Day. You have permission to be romantic.

… Listen intently.

… Flatter her and mean it.

… Smile often and genuinely.

… Tell her how beautiful she is.

… Let her know you're the luckiest guy in the world.

… Say softly, "I will love you forever."

A cautionary note: Keep in mind the aforementioned gifts and gestures are not transactions. Give unconditionally. No strings attached. No expectations for a return on your investment, if you know what I mean.

I wish I could guarantee this advice will make your sweetheart happy, but I can't; although, it could be an improvement over last year's efforts or the best Valentine's Day ever. Good luck and keep in touch.

2012 © Copyright Paula Damon.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email  boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at my-story-your-story@blogspot.com and find her on FaceBook.

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