Do you know how to write a love letter?
(Check yes or no)
I remember my first love letter.
It was written on a small piece of colorful, thin paper designed to look like an ice cream soda.
After my friend Matthew passed it to me, I carefully unfolded the cheery piece of paper and held it in my desk near my beloved cherry Vaseline squeeze lip balm to read it in private.
My eyes widened at the articulation; the boldness, the brazenness of my gentleman admirer.
"I think you're pretty. Will you marry me? Check yes or no," the note read, in wobbly penciled print.
My 5-year-old self was appalled.
"No way!" I thought. "I still live with my parents. How can I be married?"
Even then, as a pigtailed child wearing "My Little Pony" Velcro shoes, I was painfully practical.
Despite my initial negative reaction to young Romeo's love letter, today I realize the error of my ways, especially at this time of year when the commercial explosion of red, pink and white has again smacked us all between the eyes.
Compared to the minefield of animated e-cards, oversized stuffed pink mice, and steak and lobster dinners offered today for Valentine's Day, something authentic from the heart — like the sweet note I received in kindergarten — is refreshing.
It's also memorable. I can still picture that little piece of paper, how it was folded, and how I quickly stuffed it in Matthew's hand (with my polite words of rejection) before I dashed out to the buses to go home at the end of the day.
So even though the much-hyped V-day is nearly upon us, it's not too late to take an hour or so to find a small, creative way to show your sweetheart not just that you care, but why you care. Commit an Act of Authenticity that will be remembered for many years to come.
Because you best know your Valentine's personality, use your imagination to impress your sweetie.
But if you find getting started is harder than the uneaten Valentine candy you recently found in your desk, consider these ideas.
They're simple, inexpensive, and carry Cupid's Seal of Approval.
n Write a "10 Reasons I Love You" list or "10 Things I've Learned from You," list. Be specific. Instead of writing "Because you make me laugh," write "Because you always wash something red with the white clothes and never notice that all of your clothes are light pink."
n Choose a favorite picture of the two of you together, and write about why letting him beat you at miniture golf was a favorite moment for you and what it meant to you.
n Write a short poem about your sweetheart. Don't worry about whether it rhymes or fits a formula. Focus on a particular special moment in time with your loved one, or on a central theme of what that person means to you and how they have helped you and inspired you.
n Write a love letter on pretty stationary or on something else he'd like. For an added touch, hide it somewhere, like in his favorite coffee mug he uses every day. In the letter, write down the small things you like about the person, and use plenty of details. Again, don't just say, "you're handsome," but include why his puppy-dog eyes make you melt.
n Burn a CD with her favorite songs. Now that music can be downloaded within minutes, you can quickly find the songs you want and download them easily. As an added bonus, write a sweet message or short poem on the burnt CD with a permanent marker.
n Buy his favorite candy or snack and personalize it. For example, mini candy bars could be wrapped in paper with descriptive adjectives written on them to describe your Valentine.
n If you feel cheesy doing some of these things, go a lighter route and draw a cartoon of you and the object of your affection that will make her laugh. Make sure the cartoon demonstrates how well you know her, and have it highlight a recurring scenario in your lives, a private joke between the two of you, or whatever else you think will amuse without offending. For example, if she never cleans out their car, draw a picture of her drowning in the mess and you pulling them out of it, Baywatch-style. Include a funny caption explaining the picture, especially if your drawing skills aren't quite up to par.
Daily staff writer Danielle Komis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 340-2447.
Valentineís Day mad lib
Donít know how this works? Keep the Mad Lib hidden from a friend and ask him or her to come up with a word of the type indicated to fill in each blank. Fill them in and read back the results.
Dear _________________ (name),
When our ____________ (plural noun) met from across the room, I knew it was __________ (verb) at first sight.
As we grow ________ (adjective) together, it reminds me of a __________ (adjective) time when you had ________________ (noun).
__________________ (singular noun) make my world go __________ (adjective) and my _________ (noun) flutter.
I will show you my love with a __(adjective) ___________ shaped box of ______________ (noun).
You make me feel _______________ (condiment). Youíre the __________________ (emotion) to my _______________________ (type of food).
Love, your ____________________ (pet name)
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