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How to Get Your Romance On

It's the thought that counts — and can lead to action

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You'll know that aliens have commandeered my body on the day you hear me say that romance is just for the young. I have been, am now and always will be a hopeless romantic.

Flower-covered bed, how to plan romantic getaways

Want to avoid that look of disappointment on Valentine's Day or similar love-related occasion? Plan a romantic getaway. — Martin Kreuzer/Alamy

And you know what? So is practically everyone else. Some of us hide it beneath a curmudgeonly exterior. Others are simply clueless about dates: We mean to do something special for Valentine's Day but seem constantly astonished when Feb. 14 rolls around.

What most people fail to recognize, I think, are those "random acts of romance" that make their partners true, not just seasonal, romantics. Anytime someone remembers something you like, for example, then gets it for you — that's a romantic act!

But these feats of memory don't need to be material. Remembering to ask your partner to sit closer to you, or taking his or her hand in yours at a dinner party, counts as an Act of High Romance.

You don't have to send roses — but if you decide to go the floral route, find out in advance what color blooms she or he prefers. The gestures that will linger in a lover's memory are those that prove you appreciate, and celebrate, your partner's uniqueness.

Some of you have observed multiple (my code word for "40") Valentine's Days together and will be perfectly content to commemorate the day with a box of chocolates (good ones, please) grabbed on the way home. But what if your partner has higher hopes for the holiday?

If you want to avoid a puppy-dog look of disappointment, you can't go wrong with a romantic getaway. I'm not talking about just the getaway itself, mind you: You're sure to enchant your partner when you reveal you picked a locale he or she loves — and that you've already done all the planning yourself.

If you're the logistically challenged type, here are some tips for pulling off that perfect romantic retreat:

Leave it to the pros. Call up that nice hotel downtown and ask for the concierge. Reserve a room and ask them to make it special. They've heard this request before, so trust them — they'll make it happen.

Be a local tourist. Find the highest-rated bed-and-breakfast near you; when you call to book your stay, get a recommendation for the best dinner spot nearby. Romance accomplished!

Next page: How to score some major relationship points this Valentine's Day. »

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WHAT IS CHEMISTRY?: We asked AARP members about dating and chemistry. Check out AARP Dating powered by HowAboutWe.

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