I know within a week or so, you will be seeing recession-friendly Valentine day ideas everywhere, but you can trust me - I won't bore you with pre-packaged chocolates, 1+1 roses, bought-at-drugstore Teddy Bears and made-in-China sexy lingerie. Instead, I'd like to think about creative ways to spend this (very stressful for many men) day, without compromising on expensive pre-fix dinner or a cheesy gift.
What could we do to celebrate the love, the relationships, the friendship, the intimacy?
1. Play a game: competition is always healthy in relationships, spice it up with some intimate twist - you don't have to go all the way for a strip Poker ($49) to make your game special, try playing Scrabble ($39) using only words describing your love. Think about a special gift for the winner.
2. Read a poem: when was the last time someone read you a book? We loved it as kids, and it doesn't mean we can't read books to each other when we grow up. Dim the lights and find soothing background music to create the mood, then start reading in turns, adding dramatic accents and voices. Consider classics such as Shakespeare's sonnets ($6), Casanova ($12) and Onegin ($10), or something a bit more provocative from the modern erotic literature.
3. Sing your love: make it a home karaoke night, while singing only love songs. You might need a Singing Machine ($51) or a musical instrument, if one of you plays. From Barry White to Donna Summer – make it a duet night, just for the two of you.
4. Get touchy: we are so used to the spa experience and indulging ourselves in $100 massages, that we forgot how easy it is to make someone feel good simply by touching. Of course you won’t be as good as certified deep tissue expert, but the love in your hands will compensate on the lack of medical knowledge – all you need is follow your touch intuition. If you want to surprise your loved one with pure pleasure - educate yourself with a good book like The Art of Sensual Massage ($13).
5. Practice love: we practice and improve our knowledge in many fields, but rarely in the craft of love making. Just look at your bookshelf: how many business/ life/ tech advice books do you have? And how many for sex advice? We tend to think that we know everything about sex and often take this craft for granted. Pick up anything from Kama Sutra ($16) and Urban Tantra ($12) to the humorous Workingman's Guide to Productive Lovemaking Illustrated with Pictures ($7). You will be surprised how much you still have to learn, so spend the night in the most enjoyable class with your favorite classmate.
You probably noticed than none of these gift and ideas cost more than $50, but all promise you a different and unusual way to spend the time with your loved-one. Recession is a great time to re-evaluate our spending and values. I hope these will inspire you to think about ways to express your real feelings rather than use pre-packaged Valentine gifts, created for you by experienced “marketing experts” and spend the evening in a way that would feel really special, because you created the experience yourself.
Have a lovely Valentine!