A Marvelous Meal and Making Whoopie? The Meat and Potatoes of Valentine’s Day. Just Make Sure to Serve a few Creative Small Plates as Well.

This is usually the Valentine's Day math. This year, add some variables into the equation.

If you’ve been in a relationship for more than a few fortnights, it’s fairly easy to resign to the rote on Valentine’s Day. The nice dinner. Maybe a champagne toast. And then a heavy helping of naked time. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but if you’re going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, why not make it a little more interesting? Here are five ideas to upgrade your February 14th.

Play Dress Up
Yes, you should wear something nice on Valentine’s Day. But since you’re doing it for her, let her pick out your outfit. And because she’s equitable, you get to pick her outfit as well. But to give this wardrobe exercise a little drama, you get to buy one new piece of apparel that she has to incorporate into the Valentine’s Day outfit. And obviously, she can return the favor. The possibilities are endless; just make sure you know her size.

Impress Her with Words
You can write a poem…
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Writing poetry is so hard
And I am too.

…But maybe you should just read her one (unless she’s a cheesy perv, then the one above might suffice). Of course, if your lady wasn’t an English Lit major and is more fond of ‘80s ballads than 1680’s sonnets, perhaps it’s time to express your love through the time-honored tradition of karaoke. Hit up Trader Todd’s in LakeviewLouie’s Pub in Wicker Park or get intimate with a private karaoke room at Lincoln Karaoke. It’s the one place you won’t get booed off the stage for singing November Rain from start to finish.

The Cozy & Competitive Valentine’s Day at Home
Keeping your Valentine’s Day in house is never a bad move. But skip watching a romantic movie. Instead play strip Scrabble (or strip Words with Friends). It’ll stimulate your mind and probably a few other things. Just remember, double-word score (and double-apparel removal) for spelling words that have to do with love, romance, and all things Valentine’s Day (but no proper nouns — sorry Cupid).

Become a Mixologist of Love
Look, you’re not getting into the Violet Hour on Valentine’s Day. Nor the Aviary. And probably not Maude’s. Try the Whistler. Or better yet, create a cocktail menu for her. For your drink list, try the Aviation, a drink our friends at Bittercube recommended for the ladies. Or for something a little simpler, a white whiskey Moscow Mule (substitute the white whiskey for vodka), which Few spirits proprietor Paul Hletko recommended to us (he calls it the Evanston Mule). Whatever you do, don’t grow a curly-cue mustache and put on arm garters. And definitely don’t put a “blow job shot” on the menu (actually, they’d be sort of funny, maybe).

Start your Valentine’s Day When Everyone Else’s Ends
You want to go out on Valentine’s Day, but you prefer to stay above the fray. So make a pact with your significant other that there’s no leaving the house until 10 PM. Maybe even 11. You still get dressed up early in the evening. Then you order in, or you make a great dinner, or you buy some prepared dinners from Whole Foods and pass them off as your own concoction — whatever works. Then cocktails (see above). Then recreate scenes from the Class Actress “Weekend” video. At 10 or 11 PM, hastily throw your clothes back on. Hair mussed. Tie askew. “Sexual Healing” smirk. You’re ready to hit the town. Go to a slightly seductive hotel bar like the one at the Pump Room. Or just say fuck it and play pool and hang out on a couch at Bar Deville. Or if you’re feeling extra spry, take her to 4 AM club, like Evil Olive, and grind for a while. Maybe stop for a burrito on the way home.

And then remember, it doesn’t need to be Valentine’s Day to do any of these things again.