Valentine’s Day: The less contagious V.D.

A mini-guide to Hallmark’s favorite holiday.

John Sand, Kara Nesvig

People tend to react to ValentineâÄôs Day in a handful of manners. First youâÄôve got girls who gush over the tacky carnations and stereotypical romance the holiday is known for. Then youâÄôve got the residents of the bitter barn who refuse to acknowledge Feb. 14 as anything more than a commercial production sponsored by HersheyâÄôs and Hallmark. And finally there are the clueless dudes, the ones who purchase cards and roses begrudgingly in an effort to get laid. We here at A&E tend to enjoy every cheesy holiday the calendar has to offer, and because weâÄôve got your best interests at heart, hereâÄôs a little guide to some not-crappy stuff to do on Feb. 14. WeâÄôre giving you ten whole days during which to plan, so use your time wisely. Where to go If you donâÄôt make a reservation now, youâÄôre not going to get a table at any of the Twin CitiesâÄô most popular restaurants. Actually, if you donâÄôt whip out your phone at this minute and reserve your seat, it probably wonâÄôt happen. We recommend the following, but remember, act fast! Spill the Wine (1101 Washington Ave. S.) âÄî Dim lighting and red wine. Perfect. Alma (528 University Ave. S.E.) âÄî One of the Twin CitiesâÄô best restaurants and itâÄôs right down University Avenue. Nick & Eddie (1612 Harmon Place) âÄî A little more punk-rock than romantic, but still lovely. Plus their french fries are to die for. Bar Lurcat (1624 Harmon Place) âÄî This DâÄôAmico affiliate is 100 percent gorgeous, with an imaginative à la carte menu. Fuji-Ya (600 Lake St. W.) âÄî The most romantic (and best) sushi place in town. Kafe 421 (421 14th Ave. S.E.) âÄî ItâÄôs in Dinkytown, so itâÄôs not an exotic destination, but the food is miraculous. What to hear Lovey-dovey edition: âÄúFools Rush InâÄù âÄì Ricky Nelson âÄúFor Once in my LifeâÄù âÄì Stevie Wonder âÄúNo Love At AllâÄù âÄì Willie Nelson âÄúIâÄôve Just Seen a FaceâÄù âÄì The Beatles âÄúThe Way I Feel InsideâÄù âÄì The Zombies âÄúThirteenâÄù âÄì Big Star âÄúFor Me, This is HeavenâÄù âÄì Jimmy Eat World âÄúBe My BabyâÄù âÄì The Ronettes âÄúOh YokoâÄù âÄì John Lennon And might as well add on âÄúWhatâÄôs Your FantasyâÄù âÄì Ludacris featuring Shawnna Alone and bitter edition: âÄúDivorce SongâÄùâÄì Liz Phair âÄúCrazyâÄù âÄì Patsy Cline or The Kills âÄúSunday Morning Coming DownâÄù âÄì Johnny Cash âÄúI Need YouâÄù âÄì The Beatles âÄúRemember (Walking in the Sand)âÄù âÄì The Shangri-Las âÄúTrain in Vain (Stand by Me)âÄù âÄì The Clash âÄúHaligh, Haligh, a Lie, HalighâÄù âÄì Bright Eyes âÄúEx-GirlfriendâÄù âÄì No Doubt For more: See the A&E blogs. What to wear OK girls, hereâÄôs a little secret: boys are easy. All they really want for ValentineâÄôs Day is for you to slide on some stockings and garters. It might feel sort of strange at first, but after a while youâÄôll love the âÄúMad MenâÄù lingerie underneath your dress. Trust me. And câÄômon! There are a plethora of lingerie stores around, particularly Flirt on Selby Avenue in St. Paul, if you like your underwear frilly and charming. HeâÄôs going to be far more excited about this sentimental holiday if you hint that you may be donning a corset or wielding a heart-shaped riding crop than if he suspects youâÄôll be wearing sweats. Live a little! Of course, if youâÄôve got a V-Day date on the agenda, you canâÄôt exactly show up in lingerie. You can, however, find a sweet little dress for the event. If youâÄôre thinking sexy, look no further than the American Apparel pencil dress, a guaranteed man-killer. However, if sweet and innocent is more your style, try a slim black pencil skirt, ruffly top and a cardigan or jacket. Accessorize with sparkly, dangling earrings and lipstick, lots of lipstick. What to give Dudes: Girls donâÄôt want a) chocolates, b) stuffed animals, c) carnations or d) mall store jewelry. Roses are pretty typical and lame, too. CanâÄôt you figure out what her favorite flower is and get her a bouquet of those instead of some tacky red roses? Try freesias, orchids or giant pink lilies. Small, thoughtful gestures are far more appreciated than something purchased last minute. If youâÄôre thinking jewelry, try a website like etsy.com for something a bit more unique than the insipid crap they peddle at, say, ZaleâÄôs. EtsyâÄôs even got a helpful V-Day guide if youâÄôre clueless. Ladies: V-day presents for guys are a little tricky. To be perfectly honest, the gift heâÄôll always appreciate is simple and free: âÄúA wicked hummer on the slideâÄù (as our resident boy advisor puts it, but in other words, fellatio with fanfare). But if thatâÄôs not your style, most men would rather you steer clear of the sappy end of the spectrum. Remember to tailor your gift to remind him that you know exactly what strikes his fancy. Take a cue from Ron Burgundy and purchase a big olâÄô bottle of fine scotch. Pick up an album you know heâÄôll like from The Electric Fetus or some easy-reading lit. We recommend music critic Rob SheffieldâÄôs memoir âÄúLove is a Mixtape,âÄù which still makes us cry. If youâÄôre still failing to conjure the perfect idea, utilitarian gifts are always a safe bet. Nab him a pair of leather gloves or a wool hat to help him through the rest of the winter.