Valentine's Day Survival Guide / by Joe Baz

Don't drive yourself crazy on Valentine's Day As Valentine's Day approaches men are anxiously emailing me for gift ideas. Particularly in our current economic climate, some are concerned that if they don't present their significant other with a bauble that depletes the remainder of their retirement account, she won't be happy. While I applaud this commitment to love, what makes a good gift has nothing to do with its price tag. And quite frankly if your femme fatale flatly disagrees with that statement, you're probably dating the wrong kind of girl.

It's easy to pull off a gift that will rock her world. How? By paying attention during 'mundane' conversations, listening for what's meaningful to your partner and using a bit of creativity. Don't worry if all the times she's told you about her childhood you were mentally forecasting the Patriots' success with a recovered Brady. There are still a couple of weeks left to engage her in similar conversations and sleuth out something spectacular. What exactly would you be listening for?

Here's a perfect example. I once dated a gifted entrepreneur, who over dinner one night shared an experience of his at a dinner meeting with three venture capitalists. When the check came each one of the VCs pulled out a wad of cash held together with a rubber-band and proceeded to jokingly fight over who would pay the $500 tab. When my friend asked about the rubber-bands, they replied that it was their measure of success, that they could each carry enough cash on them to take care of any situation, from paying for a fancy dinner to buying an impromptu airplane ticket out of the country (yea, that second one made me suspicious too). The only 'wallet' sufficient to accommodate that amount of cash was a rubber-band. Inspired by their success, my ex told me he was looking forward to being able to do the same.

So when Valentine's Day rolled around I presented him with a card, inside of which I placed a rubber band. The card read, Happy V-Day, hope you like your new wallet. His eyes lit up as if he were receiving lost treasure.

Present day, we're still good friends and every once in a while he reminds me how that was the best Valentine's present he had ever gotten. That's the thing about value, it's all in the individual perception. The cost of the rubber band, free with my morning paper, the value to him, priceless.