Can't Buy Me Love: EG's Thrifty Guide to Romance


People, you might want to sit down, because I’m about to blow your mind.  “Romance” has nothing to do with money.  Instead, it has everything to do with taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary

For example: why do people think of eating at a fancy restaurant as “Romantic”?  Because eating dinner is something that we do every day; but, by putting in a restaurant setting, it has moved out of the realm of “typical.”  Bringing home flowers, follows the same logic. It’s not the act of bringing home flowers – it’s the fact that it deviates from the norm. 

Now, that said, differentiation alone is not romantic.  It requires Specific, Love-Derived Intent. (Meaning, just because one day you magically remember where the hamper is, after weeks of leaving your underwear on the floor, does not a Casanova make you.) 

Following this theory, all that is needed for a special day – whether it’s an anniversary, a date night, Valentine’s Day, or just a much appreciated “Just Because” day – is an activity that deviates from the norm and includes some loving forethought

So now that I’ve cracked the code for you, you no longer have excuses – monetary or otherwise – for not showing some love. 

There’s an App for That
Thanks to those magical Inter-webs, we now have access to countless apps, websites and other expertise that was once much tougher (or more expensive) to acquire.
Planetarium in your living room (Free): Don’t have a planetarium in your area?  Try downloading a GPS based star app (Google Sky Map for androids; Sky View for iPhones, iPads and iPods).  Simply point your device toward the heavens to look at the stars above.  
Don’t forget the details: Print out a constellation guide ahead of time, and take turns reading the myths associated as you find each constellation.  Besides, laying down with the lights out can lead to other free activities…
Dance Lessons (Free):  Dance lessons abound on You Tube and the internet.  Instead of shelling out money for a turn around the floor, do some research and pick a few lessons to try (or pick a song to learn the choreography for). 
Don’t forget the details: Inject some silly romance into it by making a name for your dance studio (ie “Jason’s Twinkle Toes Studio”) and creating a sign.  And just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should wear sweats. Break out the best for your fancy footwork and make it feel like a real event.

Cooking Class (Free or Cheap):  Download some fun recipes or a cooking video and have the ingredients ready to go (it can be anything from cookies to a meal. Whatever you think would be fun to do together).  Something about working together makes you feel closer to the other person.  

Don't forget the details: Have some wine to sip while you cook, music on in the background (, and some candles going in the next room.  Atmosphere is EVERYTHING. 

Close to Home 
I believe that there are two commodities in this life: money and time.  Even if you don't have the money, invest a little time and you'll get the same "wow" results.

Home Grown Casino. With Board Games (Free): When was the last time you went toe to toe in Battleship?  Or enjoyed saying “Sorrrrrrry” as you sent someone’s knobbly headed game piece back to home base?  Get in touch with your inner kid, by breaking out the board games for a night of challenge. 
Don’t forget the details: Try making silly bets with your significant other about who will win each game (e.g. “The loser gives the first massage." Either way you both win).  In keeping with the casino theme, wear your most bond-worthy attire, and sip a mixed drink from martini glasses.

Dive bar (Cheap): Who needs $15 a piece cocktails?  Grab your honey and head to a dive-bar extraordinaire for some giggles.  Do a little research ahead of time and find one with a dartboard, pool table or ping pong table. Or play some mind games and find a bar with a trivia night.

Don't forget the details: Just because it's a dive bar doesn't mean you should treat your gal-pal (or guy-pal) as though they are just, well, pals.  FLIRT with them.  Wink at them from the bar while getting their drink.  Make eye contact often, and occasionally brush up against their arm, back or leg. Let them know that they have your attention.  "Accidental" contact is much sexier then the "I'm just gonna go ahead and grab your butt...hey, why are you suddenly mad at me...?" kind. 

Play Tourist (Free or cheap): Okay, so maybe you can't afford a trip to wine country.  But I bet there are plenty of things in your own area that you've never taken the time to check out.  Make a call to a local tourist bureau and see what attractions they have nearby. Museums often have pay-what-you-can nights; many areas have "First Friday" (a night when galleries, museums, and restaurants open up their doors and serve refreshments for locals); there may even be some ridiculously cheesy "attractions" that you've never seen but will fun to check out.

Don't forget the details: Make sure to take photos of your "trip."  Can't afford to eat out?  Pack a picnic.  Bring a bottle of wine or sparkling cider, cheese, crackers and grapes.  Find a nearby scenic spot for a little nosh.  If you can swing it financially, plan to end the night at a local cafe for a cup of coffee, or a bakery or ice cream parlor for a sweet ending.

Scavenger Hunt (Free or cheap): Okay, this is for when you want to pull out all of the stops, as it definitely requires some pre-planning.  You can either do it around your house, or in the area.  If you want to keep it simple, hide sweet little notes everywhere in your home (you might want to number them so you know what has been found and what hasn't).  The notes can be anything from things you love about them ("I love the way your eyes crinkle when you smile") to clues about the next location ("You are the fairest of them all...").  If you choose to go outside of your home, you obviously will need to give clues about the next location (unless you really don't like your partner, in which case, you just need one clue. "Get out.").

Don't forget the details: If you're sending your partner out into the world to follow your clues, try including little surprises for them at each location.  For example, perhaps a clue leads them to a local floral shop where the owner has a rose waiting for them along with the next clue.  When the "hunt" is finished, have a meal prepared at home (pasta is cheap, and everyone thinks Italy is sexy).  Let them know that the treasure you hunted for you found in them.  (A little bit of cheese goes a long way).

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1 comment:

  1. So fun! Love it! I have a friend who made a V-day scavenger hunt for his wife a while back. He sent her all around town, just like you said. When she arrived home (the last clue), he left a trail of lit candles and rose petals to the kitchen where he'd made just the dish you suggested and had some wine in a bucket with ice. He also sprinkled rose petals all over their bed and lit candles in the bedroom, just in case he got lucky after dinner. (I'm going to go ahead and say he did)


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