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What you shouldn't do for love

Don't buy into the mindless mush market this Valentine's Day. Be real to win at romance! Saudamini Jain guides you through.V-Day gift ideas

sex and relationships Updated: Feb 20, 2012 13:02 IST
Saudamini Jain

That "Unvalentine" has been trending on Twitter in India may indeed be a sign that we're now done with the nonsense being fed to us by the mush merchants. You've seen it in films and read it in your not-so-secret stash of Mills and Boons - Valentine's Day is about love, roses, chocolates, wine, mush talk and all that jazz.

For those who aren't in relationships, the day can be an excellent opportunity to walk up to the person you admire, and ask them out. But love is a funny business, and chances are the day can go horribly, horribly wrong. For instance, imagine he turns up to pick you for a date in his football jersey and shorts to the momo joint across the corner, while you're decked up in your red best.

How wrong will that be?
Don't worry; it could be a lot worse, and besides, not even your fault or his. Suppose you don't make the right noises (my heart is beating for you etc) or he is allergic to flowers or that fancy perfume. All that bubbly will go to waste. Even assuming that you are not prone to such troubles, you should be okay. On V-Day the protocol is rather simple. Anything red, cute or scented works. Small gestures go a long way. Besides, if all fails, a gooey piece of chocolate cake can stick things back together, always.

Generations have celebrated this lover's date. Love letters, greeting cards, dedications on the radio, e-greetings, photo albums on Flickr - there's a new tradition every few years. But what's special for you may strike as stupid to the partner. We bring you a list of five fundamental mistakes you should never make this February 14. Consider these your five commandments: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/11-02-pg13a.jpg

Don't be a star
If you can't sing, don't get up in the middle of the restaurant or the bar and make a scene. If you can't dance, this isn't the day to start, especially when there are people around. And do NOT try to pass off your doodles on toilet paper as a V-Day card. Bottom line: Don't do anything you're not good at.

What you can do: Tag them on a corny Facebook status, tweet a happy couple picture, make a music video with your favourite song and upload it on YouTube. Digital romance is the new box of chocolates.

No romantic movies
Romantic comedies set unrealistic expectations. Halfway through, you realise she doesn't look like Anne Hathway and he'll never have you "at hello" (like Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire). So quit the Titanic because it's going to sink anyway.

What you can do: Be a yes-man. It's a pretty pink day, bring on the sweet white lies. Save your honesty for Judgement Day. Do not kick up a fuss, look dreamy eyed and be up for everything as an adventure. Want to go shopping? Yes. Want to catch the new film? Yes. Let's talk about "us"? Of course! (Look interested.)

Don't meet the parents
If you want to swear undying commitment, a ring in the champagne glass can work (Dom Pérignon or the likes, please). But rest assured, it's not the best day to make your loved one sample your mother's heartfelt paranthas or show off your father's liquor cabinet. Stay clear from introducing your loved one to the folks, leave it for another day.

What you can do: If you are an excellent cook, make something really, really special. But if you aren't, go right ahead and make an attempt. Even if you make a mess, burn a dish or something, make reservation in a fancy restaurant on the by well in advance. This will turn a classic goof-up into an adorable act. Remember, in matters of love, the effort is what counts.

Junk the Junk
Avoid heart-shaped mugs, bright photo-frames or shiny things you get in Archies' Gallery or Hallmarks etc. Stick to this simple rule: never buy anything made out of plastic, ceramic or glass.

What you can do: Chocolates, flowers and stuffed animals will always stay in vogue. Books with a deep, meaningful inscription can melt hearts. Also, little trinkets may not be a bad idea. As long as it isn't plastic or junk jewellery.

Don't baby talk
If it isn't a coherent sentence, scratch it. "Baby-poo" isn't cute, it's what's inside a diaper. Make sure your spell-check is on when you text. Xoxo is only for Gossip Girl, and if you watch the show, you'll know it doesn't work for them either.

What you can do: Schmaltzy with style. Write a long meaningful letter, come up with real words of endearment. The right words will live happily ever after, and may even close the deal (wink-wink).