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Do It With Emotion

This is a column where we address questions and topics of all kinds concerning sex and relationships. Dr. Do It and Ms. Emotion do not claim to be experts in the fields but have been "around the block” a few times and have seen their share of situations involving relationships and sex. The opinions of Dr. Do It and Ms. Emotion do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication.

Dear Ms. Emotion,

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for about one month. We’re not really serious, but we’re exclusive. What should I get her for Valentine’s Day?

-- Just Starting Out

Ms. Emotion: Well, if you want to be safe, but boring, flowers or candy and a card are always fine. But splurge for the good chocolates: The Coop sells Godiva chocolates in pretty V-Day boxes. Or you could opt for a night out instead of a gift. Send her a card telling her when you’ll pick her up, but not where you’re taking her, and then treat her to dinner at a nice restaurant. Other options include tickets to a show she’d like to see, a gift certificate for a massage, perfume or perfumed lotion, jewelry, and the standard things you’ll find on display in the malls and advertised in magazines. Since you’ve only been going out for a month, I’d only buy her lingerie if you have enough intimate knowledge of her to know what she’d like and what size she wears.

If you want to get creative then I’ll share some ideas from guys that I’ve dated in the past and some friends of mine. Some of these might be better for couples that have been together longer than a month. One of my favorite V-Day gifts was a scavenger hunt of sorts. My boyfriend gave me a card with clues that led me to a small gift and another card, which led me to another small gift and another card, etc. The last gift was tickets to a romantic comedy that I’d been wanting to see. Finding the gifts was fun, and I was touched that he went to so much trouble.

If you have your own apartment or can arrange the right setting, then I recommend this next “gift.” Invite her over to your place and cook a gourmet dinner for her. Light candles on the table and in your bedroom, and play romantic music in the background. She’ll probably enjoy having an intimate evening at home for a change.

If you can afford it, take her on a weekend getaway. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine are great winter destinations, offering outdoor winter sports, and plenty of cozy inns and B and Bs. If she’s more of a city girl, go to NYC for the weekend. See a show, go to dinner, enjoy the nightlife, and maybe even tag along while she shops to show how devoted you are. Weekends away are often just the thing to bring new couples closer together, or to reignite the passion in couples who have been dating for a while.

Dr. Do It: I would also like to offer in my two cents on this whole “doing something nice for Valentine’s Day” stuff. I agree with Ms. Emotion. All the ideas that she has stated are really great ones. But I also believe that one does not necessarily need a day like Valentine’s Day to do something special for the other person in their relationship. You can always make up an excuse to do something special; Valentine’s Day is an easy one. But you can also do something special because it’s a nice day out or because the way the person looks today reminds you of when you first met him or her. In any case, I strongly advocate keeping the relationship interesting by filling it with new and exciting experiences for both people in the relationship. Of course, the things you do are obviously dependent on the your tastes and interests.

Dear Dr. Do It and Ms. Emotion,

I think it would be really cute if two of my good friends started dating. Can you suggest any ways that I could get them together for Valentine’s Day?

-- Cupid’s Helper

Ms. Emotion: Helper, I am normally against meddling in the affairs of others when it comes to relationships. If you perceive that there might be some chemistry between two of your friends something may most likely happen between them anyway. You can always find out from either of them what he or she might think or feel about the other person. Just talking about that might help get the ball rolling.

Dr. Do It: You could also set up an event such as a dinner or going ice skating and make up an excuse to have to leave early or arrive late. This will allow them to hang out together one-on-one. Or you can suggest they bring one another as a date to a semiformal occasion or party. However, I agree with Ms. Emotion that meddling with the hearts of others and trying to orchestrate a relationship between two people can be potentially disastrous. It might ruin friendships, both between the two people in question or between yourself and either of them.

If you have any questions for Dr. Do It and Ms. Emotion or topics you would like them to discuss, please send them to advice@the-tech.mit.edu.