8 Valentine's Day Surprises That Aren't Cheesy

by Jessica Learish

Sometimes, it really seems like the Valentine's Day industrial complex wants to keep its holiday super, extra triple-quesadilla cheesy. This year, switch things up with these profoundly non-cheesy Valentine's Day surprises to sweep the feet out from under even the most cynical of romantic partners. Between the endless jewelry commercials for every kind of heart-shaped trinket, the prix-fixe dates, and the Adam Sandler-esque ukulele serenades, Valentine's Day can be rather... saccharine, if it falls into the wrong hands. But, if you have somebody special in your life, you're gonna have to acknowledge the occasion one way or another.

Say your partner is the Lizzie Bennet type who muses over "who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love." Showering him or her with Valentine's Day romance will, inevitably, be more complicated. Candy hearts and stuffed bears are just not gonna get the job done. And that's not to say that those Lizzie Bennets out there don't appreciate and value your time-tested romantic overtures (we do! we do!), it's just that a heartfelt "I love you!" or even "Let's get ice cream!" would be more enthusiastically received than a perceived lack of imagination.

So how can you surprise said cynic this Sunday? Check out these eight inspirational ideas.

1. The surprise breakfast in bed

Whip up some heart-shaped breakfast foods, and surprise your special someone first thing in the morning. Use a cookie cutter to shape eggs or pancakes into a tasty little reminder of how much you care.

2. The underwear surprise

Forget slipping into something more comfortable! Hide this little number under your date dress to keep the surprises rolling well into the night. If Valentine's Day isn't the perfect opportunity to showcase some brand new lingerie, I don't know what is.

3. The spontaneous concert surprise

This one will take a little bit of research. Find a free concert in your area, and set it up so that the end of your dinner perfectly matches up with a short walk to the venue. The magic of spontaneously stumbling upon an amazing free show will be well worth the time spent finding the perfect nearby meal.

4. The surprise game of catch

Shoutout to the Bull Durham fans in the audience (I love that movie sooo much). Stash a couple of cloves and a softball or baseball in the trunk of your car, and surprise your special someone by driving to a baseball field (or really any kind of field) for a game of catch. It might sound totally random, but you'll be surprised how romantic a little game of catch can be.

5. The wine and cheese taste test surprise

Be your own sommelier when you break out a few bottles of wine and an array of cheeses. Then, match each cheese with the wine that the two of you think complements it best. I recommend taking small sips so this activity doesn't wreck your plans for the rest of the evening.

6. The surprise basketball tickets

Surprise! You'll win Valentine's Day when you surprise your date with tickets to your local NBA team's Valentine's Day game. Seriously, this sounds like so much fun.

7. The rooftop surprise

If you have roof access just about anywhere in the world, now is the time to show it off. Watching the sun go down over the city streets from the quiet refuge of a rooftop? Now that's some low-key romance right there.

8. The no kids/pets hotel surprise

Kids and pets have a way of disrupting the mood. Have a surprise evening away from one or both kinds of little monsters for a truly romantic experience.

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Images: Pexels (3); My Name Is Yeh; Journelle; The Kitchn; johanohrling/Flickr; mdpai/Flickr; Hotel Triton