Romance for fakers
You want to be romantic — OK, scratch that. You actually don't want to be romantic, but Someone wants you to be romantic and you don't want to lose Someone to Someone Else.

Problem is, you don't really do sentimental. Or rapturous. Or feelings, for that matter. You're pretty sure the Devil himself is behind Sweetest Day. Don't sweat it. The Faker can relate. (She once asked for a food processor for Valentine's Day.) That's why she called on Greg Godek, author of "1001 Ways to Be Romantic" ( Casablanca) for some advice on convincing that special Someone that you're not a heartless cad.

"It's not about romance, it's about creativity," says Godek. "The word romance has acquired a lot of baggage. Think of 'I want you to be more romantic' versus 'Hey, let's be more creative. Let's have more fun.'"

Now you've got the Faker's heart pounding.

1. Plagiarize: "Part of the reason for the Beatles, Garth Brooks and Shakespeare is to express universal feelings artistically. Take a lyric, take a poem, write it down and add this line: 'If I were a songwriter, this is the song I would have written for you.'" (We hope this goes without saying, but just in case: "I Love You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" is not a good choice. Better? "The Billy Joel song, 'You're My Home,'" suggests Godek. "What a touching, wonderful expression.")

2. Overdo something: "Fill a bedroom with red balloons. Mail a card a day for a month. Give him or her 1,000 Hershey's Kisses. Call every hour on the hour just to say I love you." (Here we go again with the stating of the obvious, but please know your mate: "If you're with a high-powered lawyer who's in and out of meetings all day, maybe don't call every hour," Godek suggests. If your mate hates chocolate, 86 the Hersheys. In other words, overdo something appealing.)

3. Little is big: "Give one red rose. Cut out one comic strip that reminds you of him or her. Write a note on the bathroom mirror with a piece of soap. Text one romantic note." On first glance, this may appear to be going the cheap route. It is not. "Small ongoing gestures are more powerful than a big splash," Godek says. "This is why Valentine's Day is such a problem. You've got guys trying to play catch-up for the whole year. It's like having a garden and you don't water it for three months. What are you gonna do, flood it?"

4. Play it safe: "Flowers, movies, dinner, chocolate, dancing, perfume, jewelry, breakfast in bed, sunset walks on the beach. This is what our culture says is romantic, and it works." Unless you're trying to woo a man, in which case you should just buy him an iPad. "Guys want practical stuff," Godek says. "Put yourself in his shoes. They do want software."

5. Give it a twist: Sending roses? "Have the florist deliver 11 red roses and one white rose and have the note say, 'In every bunch there's one who stands out. You are that one.' If you want to be more romantic, be more creative." Now that sounds fun.