Love doesn't come in a ring box, and it certainly can't be found in a box of Milk Tray, unless you're going through an 80s advert renaissance period. Love has about 20GB of memory, a colour screen, and if it's true love, it will play videos.
Like it or not (I don't) Valentines Day is once again looming and as I consider what I would like to receive from that man I exchange smouldering looks with every morning at the bus stop, it strikes me that it's all getting a bit complicated for the unsuspecting male.
Roses are passé, underwear is inevitably ill-fitting, and rings, well, they are only ever good if you have both reached "that place". I don't think bus stop man and I are quite there yet. Simply put, if you want to say I love you, say it with technology. If you need convincing, consider the fact that statistics from a few years ago showed that six times more valentines text messages were sent than traditional cards.
In gift terms, mp3 players say exactly the right thing. Literally, if you download your very own love sonnet in advance. It's the 21 century equivalent of the compilation tape, and whose heart has not been melted by a collection of the songs from the night you first met/the first holiday you shared/the first time he made you spaghetti bolognese (the original, and still the best, Man Recipe)?
True, it's a more expensive love token, but we're worth it. And done right, it will secure the gift giver brownie points for right up until Christmas. Men - take note. It's a sliding scale, and it goes like this. For ten points, buy the player. For 20, research your loves needs in their mp3 player, and buy accordingly. For 30, charge it so it's ready for action when unwrapped.
For the ultimate in point scoring, playlists are the way forward. Nothing expresses true love more than a pre-loaded playlist. It means someone has taken the time to think about what music you love, and gone as far as loading them on. And lets face it, no matter what the manufacturers say, that bit is a complete pain in the arse that we'd all avoid given the choice.
What kind of playlist you load depends on your relationship. For the couples that do the weekly shop together, holding hands, there is the obvious "First meeting/kiss/fight" collection of songs, as previously mentioned. For the couple that go the gym together, an upbeat soundtrack for running will illustrate a profound understanding of your lovers psyche. Couples that browse Dixons and DABS together will need all the latest podcasts loaded.
Don't get me wrong. Valentines Day isn't just about gifts. Commercialism of such a beautiful sentiment is wrong, obviously. But if the man from the bus stop is reading this, I'd like a Creative Zen Vision:M, with a playlist suitable for shoe shopping.