Ah, the sweet smell of milk chocolate is tingling the inquisitive nose, the scarlet-hearted robins are a-chirping and the Spongebob Squarepants Valentine section of Walmart is running frightfully low on envelopes. Of course, this Sunday is St. Valentine’s Day, the yearly celebration of all things endearing and doily.

This is the one day a year when couples eschew their PDA policies in favor of openly adorable nuzzling. It’s when enamored yet hesitant admirers offer roses and single friends emphasize platonic forms of appreciation.

Whether in a long-term romance or relishing the hiatus between, it’s not hard to enthusiastically nod yes in response to Sir Elton John’s ‘Lion King” question, ‘Can you feel the love tonight?”

For those of you lucky lovebirds already in a Facebook-declared relationship, it’s important to know that a little bit of prep-work yields a big passion payout.

If you really want to make your beau feel appreciated, skip clich chocolates and the taxi to Red Lobster in favor of a home-cooked meal, ripe raspberries and some quality time together on your kicked-back recliner. When deciding how to approach the holiday, it’s key to remember that less is actually more.

Conventional wisdom implores the romantic to shuffle to the Hallmark aisle and pick out drowsy love messages, but it’s better to skip the trip to CVS and buy yourself a box of cake mix. A child’s hand-scrawl made out of pink icing proves that, in its own sweet sincerity, the real path to a man’s heart is paved by Betty Crocker. And be sure to deck that puppy with extra sprinkles so you can lick them off his lips and satisfy your own dessert temptations later (cue mood lighting and jazz music).

For the even larger crowd of hookup buddies whose occasional between-the-sheets-action might prove a promising full-blown romance, now is a perfect time to take that transition step and request a little more from the pairing. Lightheartedly ask whether she’d mind meeting up for a cup of coffee, then chat her up as you discreetly use complicated hand signals to order a slice of rich chocolate cake from the barista.

Start the conversation with gentle questions about her day, and, when the moment comes, shyly ask if she’d like to be your girlfriend. When she ecstatically says yes, be sure to gauge the other tables’ reactions to know whether it’s too cheesy to link your arm with hers and spoon feed each other little nibbles. If they look on disapprovingly, definitely do it anyway.

Now, for those of us whose romantic ambitions haven’t yet yielded any chocolate-dipped fruit, the rose-scented Valentine’s Day backdrop provides perfect scenery to act out your own ‘Notebook”-esque love scene.

If you’ve been lightly chatting up some charming crew team member, now is the perfect day to ask her out to a movie at the Little Theatre. Slip them a charmingly kiddish valentine with listed dates and times and provide her with the incentive to call you to confirm. Whether or not she reciprocates your feelings, feeling positive enough to extend yourself outward works wonders for your own sense of self-love.

If efforts to secure a V-Day date are too daunting for your taste, why not turn your gaze homeward and remind those you already adore how grateful you are for that enduring 3 a.m. cheese-fry sharing?

If you find yourself eyeing the cupcake couples or pining for a dinner partner yourself, the best approach is a proactive one. No need for cards or cake decorating here a humble catch-up conversation with an effective expression work just fine.

Try an honestly simple ‘I love you” at first, but if you want to carol, try ‘It’s enough for kings and vagabonds.” Afterward, by all means, feel free.

Titus is a member of the class of 2011.

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