Valentine's Day Myths Revealed

Yes, it's that time of year again. Love is in the air and so are lovey-dovey images of hearts, flowers, candy, and cupid.

While a few of you may actually relish this time of year, most of you are probably confused as to what your gal expects of you. After all, Valentine's Day is when she's waiting to be pampered and, like it or not, she may even be using the day to test your interest in her. However, don't let the pressure get you down. Along with the stress also comes an invaluable opportunity to impress her.

A quick review of the following Valentine's Day myths might surprise you — they may even burst some of your long-held beliefs about the holiday. So, read on and you'll be in good shape to minimize your effort and maximize the advantages that Valentine's Day can afford you.

Myth No. 1: It's OK to skip Valentine's Day

Why this is false: She might realize that it's a hyped-up holiday, but that won't get you off the hook completely. She'll see her friends going on dates and wonder why you aren't stepping up to the plate.

What to do instead: You can keep Valentine's Day low-key and celebrate it in your own way. Plan an activity that you both enjoy and declare it your own celebration — like ice skating or hiking. Any activity that you do together will show her that you gave the day some thought.

Myth No. 2: You have to celebrate on February 14th

Why this is false: No one says you have to celebrate on the same day as everyone else — that's so conventional.

What to do instead: Pick another day in the week to plan your date and declare that day your own personal Valentine's Day. Places will be less crowded and you won't be made to feel like another sheep in the crowd. She won't care when you celebrate as long as she sees you've put some thought into it. She may even appreciate mixing it up.

You're saving money for a vacation together, so it's OK to skip Valentine's Day

Why this is false: Even though she agreed to save money too, this is a perfect opportunity to win brownie points with her.What to do instead: Don't plan an expensive date, but do surprise her with an inexpensive (but thoughtful) activity. Plan to meet her for lunch and pack her favorite food in a picnic basket. She'll be impressed that you stuck to a budget while still making her feel special.

Myth No. 4: You've only been dating for a few months, so you won't celebrate

Why this is false: While you might not want to do anything overly romantic with a new girlfriend, that doesn't mean you have to ignore it. If you don't acknowledge Valentine's Day at all, she might wonder if you are really interested in her.What to do instead: Don't plan anything romantic. Instead, think of a fun activity. Try scheduling in a dance class or a cooking class to mix things up. Or, take her to see a comedy show — anything to get the two of you laughing together.

Myth No. 5: Dinner is a Valentine's Day staple

Why this is false: Dinner is an adequate Valentine's Day plan, and I suppose you can't go wrong with it. However, truth be told, it's a little unoriginal.

What to do instead: Mix things up a bit. With as much effort as it takes to make dinner reservations, you can plan a date that is seeping with originality. Try a couple's massage, jump into a hot tub (anything in a Jacuzzi is sexy), look for an old-fashioned roller-skating rink in your city, or try an artsy date by going to a museum or checking out a jazz show.

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Myth No. 6: Chocolates or flowers are good Valentine's Day gifts

Why this is false: Just like going out for dinner, chocolate and flowers are not the wrong thing to do — they're just overly conventional.

What to do instead: Originality is worth a lot on Valentine's Day, especially when all of her friends will be getting the usual flowers and chocolates. Stand out by getting her something out of the ordinary. Does she like to travel? Get her a subscription to a travel magazine. Does she like music? Get her concert tickets.

Myth No. 7: You need to spend loads of money on her gift

Why this is false: It's the thought that really counts the most when it comes to Valentine's Day.

What to do instead: Try getting her a small gift with a lot of meaning. If you are just starting to get serious, for example, buy her a pair of slippers or a robe to keep in your apartment.

Myth No. 8: Don't expect a gift in return

Why this is false: While Valentine's Day is usually marketed as "her" holiday, there's no rule stating she can't surprise you with a little something. So, chances are very good that you'll get your box of candy.

What to do instead: If the whole guessing game about whether you're getting a gift or not is bugging you, approach the subject of a "no gift" idea with her and make plans together for a romantic weekend getaway or a perfect night out instead.

Myth No. 9: The gift has to be cheesy or romantic

Why this is false: Just the opposite, actually. There is no rule that says you have to write her poems or sing her a song on Valentine's Day.

What to do instead: If you're not comfortable with the cheesiness, forget it. Just stick to getting her a fun gift. Try buying a good board game or a cool CD — then go home and play it together.

Myth No. 10: Lingerie makes a good Valentine's Day gift

Why this is false: Actually, this myth is not entirely false. Lingerie can be a nice part of a gift for a self-assured woman, bearing in mind that you need to know her size and style preferences. But usually, she'll like that to be part of a sexy gift — not all of it.

What to do instead: For a really sexy gift, try buying a book on massage techniques that you can learn together or — if you are good and ready for it — a copy of the Kama Sutra.

Valentine's Day Myths Revealed

Keep in mind that a little originality will go a long way this Valentine's Day. Forget boring conventions and have fun with it. The secret to a successful Valentine's Day plan is making it your own. With just a wee bit of foresight and planning, your woman should be so pleased that she'll be bragging to her friends about you all year long.