For Valentine's Day a few years ago, my boyfriend gave me a postcard. The front had a snapshot of Bruce Springsteen in a very "Glory Days" onstage moment. The note he wrote on the back read, "Hey Valentine, you rock! Love, the Boss."
I thought it was a joke. He thought it was clever.
I still have the postcard as a subtle reminder that it's not OK to get a Valentine's Day gift at a gas station. He still finds it hilarious. And I can laugh about it now too, but it helps that he graduated to Godiva a year later.
I'm not a fan of gifts that are involved or overly indulgent, and there's nothing wrong with the traditional picks, such as chocolate, jewelry, lingerie, as long as they're not tacky. So, my advice? Ditch the cheesy heart-shaped box full of plastic-flavored treats, put down the edible pina colada-flavored underwear and spend a little time investigating conventional choices that are high quality.
Here are a few local options that are sweetheart-worthy. And to make it easy, the products and stores are all within a two-block downtown walk, so one trip is all you'll need to sweeten the day.
If you're interested in buying your lady a little something for both of you, About Face (720 D St., 279-3223) is the place for fashion lingerie. The downtown bath and beauty boutique has offerings that are classy and sexy. Read: You won't feel the need to wash your hands or head to church when you leave the shop.
For festive choices, check out the bright-red camisoles ($62) and panties ($30) by Eberjey Intimates in a heart-themed lace ($70 for the set), or for a little more covering try the sheer, silky red camisoles and chemises. If you're lady is more pretty-in-pink than red hot, try the bras ($76 and up) and panties ($45) from the French label Simone Perele. The floral accents are feminine and these undergarments are a softer kind of sexy.
If the colors of passion aren't your lady's best look, About Face has other choices, including classic black, pure white and sultry plum. Even better, there's also a selection of loungewear that's just as sexy as the lingerie, and she might like that you're considering her comfort.
Purchase $75 or more in lingerie through Wednesday and About Face will sweeten the deal with a box of four Saxon truffles. And guys, don't fret or feel insecure about shopping for unmentionables. You can always pretend you're there to check out Brave Soldier skin care products for men.
If you want to trade sexy for shiny, head to Trace Elements (Sixth Avenue between C and D streets, 561-4663) and take a look at Bella Lachelle jewelry that is on display through February. Local designer Lisa Allen uses a mix of beads, stones and crystals to make sparkly multistrand necklaces and bracelets.
The double-strand bracelets of vintage, red glass beads and chunky lucent Swarovski crystals ($50) are an obvious choice for a token of love. But the range of colors, materials and chunk factor will work for any sentiment you want to send.
Sweets to go along with any eye candy can be found in the Godiva truffle collection at Nordstrom (603 D St., 279-7622). The flavors range from espresso and dark chocolate, to white Russian and maple ($2.50 per truffle), and the brilliant wrapping makes these treats more than your average Russell Stover sampler.
Want to be a little more creative with your gifting? Shopping for a guy? Just want to dress yourself up in red? Keep reading for more Valentine's inspired shopping. And if you have gift ideas to offer, help us out by logging on and posting a comment. Or maybe send a postcard and let us know how much you really care.