The Daily Gamecock

Cheap Valentine’s Day ideas that’ll make you swoon

300 dpi Wes Bausmith illustration of faxed valentine. (Los Angeles Times/MCT)
300 dpi Wes Bausmith illustration of faxed valentine. (Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Embrace your inner gourmet

Let’s face it — going out to dinner is expensive. You could spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy meal with fancy desserts, or you could make a similar meal for a fraction of the cost. Not only will that special someone appreciate your culinary finesse (or lack thereof), but they’ll find your effort endearing, if not downright sexy. For bonus points, pick up candles and flowers, dim the lights and set the table (or a sheet on the floor, picnic style) to create an intimately romantic atmosphere.

Fondue fun

Similar to embracing your inner gourmet, an evening of fondue can be intimate and seductive — but you don’t really need to know how to cook. To make a good fondue, you’ll need a dry white wine, about a pound of Swiss cheeses (I use half Emmentaler and half Gruyere), French bread and a simple roux (to make sure your sauce emulsifies properly). A cheap fondue pot will run you about $20 on Amazon, but the atmosphere it creates will surpass any restaurant. Just make sure to find a good recipe and conduct a practice batch before the big night.

Put some rhyme in your rhythm

Even if you can’t spring for a homemade meal, we all have pens and paper. Write your special someone a love ballad. It doesn’t have to be good; it doesn’t even have to really make sense. As long as your poetry is from the heart, it’ll still be a romantic gesture. You can even take this one step further by making an event of it, admiring each other in the dim flickering of the candlelight as you compose and recite your most intimate impressions of each other.

Dance the night away

Who says you need to go to the club to dance? Make a steamy mix of seductive or romantic songs and dance in your dorm or apartment — and I don’t mean grind. I mean really dance. Embrace your partner with a waltz, tango, salsa, rumba or swing. If you don’t know how — try. It’s not embarrassing and you’re not going to make a fool of yourself. In fact, it’s sexy to make your gal or guy feel like the princess or prince they are. Just make sure to set an appropriate mood and playlist for the type of dancing you want to do. And don’t get too fancy if it’s your first time — you don’t want to drop your partner.

Enjoy the brisk air

If all else fails, take a relaxing stroll together. Drive to the lakefront or the beach. Go for a hike. Walk through the park. Find someplace intimate. Share secrets and joke around. Hold hands. Kiss his or her cheek as you watch the sun dip below the horizon. Draw pictures on the sidewalk. Laugh and play. You don’t need fancy dinner reservations, large bouquets or chocolate to make Valentine’s Day special; you just need time spent together.