Welcome, lovestruck fool, who didn't realize "We're not doing Valentine's Day gifts this year" is actually code for "I'm secretly getting you something amazing and fully expect the same from you." If you've clicked on this story, it's clearly because the most romantic day of the year is upon us, and you have nothing to show for it.
In your defense, how do you put a price tag on love, anyway? Does a six-month relationship really equate to a pair of $100 earrings or decent tickets to a Golden State game? Can a lifetime of love, happiness, frustration, tension, surprise and passion be measured in mere dollars? Of course not. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is this: Spend nothing.
This year, prove you can't put a price on love by spending zero dollars on that special someone. Free Valentine's Day gifts do exist, and you can make most of them happen in time for that romantic dinner you haven't even planned. Because as a certain 1987 rom com starring a young, bashful Patrick Dempsey reminds us, money can't buy you love.
① Consider getting your lover a really adorable labradoodle puppy that he or she swears they want but will never actually take care of. Then, don't get them that puppy. The gift of zero responsibility.
Photo: Sarah Jayne Photography
② Decorate an old tissue box using construction paper and Magic Markers and label it "Relationship Suggestion Box." Invite your lover to air their grievances in the form of written suggestions and offer to review these suggestions weekly. This brilliant gift will help you avoid arguments of all sizes, from "When are we finally going to go to Ikea to look for that rug?" to "Why are you spending so much time with that guy, Craig, from work?"
③ Pour honey, chocolate sauce, raspberry jam or whatever you find in your fridge onto one of your hands. Gently smear the substance onto your lover's face while whispering "shhhh", then walk away. The gift of mystery.
④ Memorize the dates of all your lover's relatives, friends and coworkers birthdays so that you're ready to remind them of an important milestone at the drop of a hat. They'll never have to waste brain space thinking about others again!
⑤ While your lover is at work, stage an elaborate crime scene in your home or apartment, overturning furniture, ripping pages from books and leaving your front door wide open. Scribble a note that reads "It's time to say goodbye" and leave it on the kitchen table. Once you hear the sounds of your lover returning home and starting to scream, pop out of your chosen hiding place and surprise them with your safe and untouched self. The gift of you.
⑥ Using a Sharpie, write "I don't care, whatever you want." on one of your lover's T-shirts. Give them back the improved tee. The next time you're deciding on a dinner destination, you'll already have done the work for them.
⑦ Offer them 20 Instagram likes and comments to be used at the time of their choosing. You'll never have to hear "Babe, you didn't even like my post" again, and they'll get the social media love they deserve. Win-win.
⑧ Try picking up the dirty clothes you left on the floor of the bedroom and placing them in the convenient hamper that is most likely three to five feet away. Trust us: This is a gift that keeps on giving.
⑨ Brainstorm airtight excuses for five to 10 of your upcoming family gatherings that will keep you and your lover away from your parents for at least two years. They won't even know how to thank you.
⑩ If you're a man, spend several weeks growing out a lush handlebar mustache and convincingly act as if you plan to keep it for years. When your significant other is about to crack under the disgust of having to kiss your overly hairy lip, shave the mustache. Your lover will be thrilled.
⑪ Finally give in and watch Dirty Dancing with your significant other. Pretend that you like it and agree that no one has ever looked as good as Patrick Swayze did in 1987. Promise you will start working on "the lift," so you'll someday be able to perform the dance together.
⑫ Try gifting your partner the feeling of mutual respect and loving equality that simultaneously challenges your minds and warms both of your souls. (Not yet available through Amazon Prime.)
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