Oh, Valentine’s Day, I have such a complicated relationship with you — on the one hand it’s all about love and happiness, dreamy romantic dinners where your beloved shares their deepest thoughts and feelings. On the other hand it is a Hallmark moment, one created mostly by corporations to sell flowers, candy, and jewelry.

The reality is that Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for renewal. It’s a convenient excuse for a man to be sappy and open himself up to his beloved in ways that perhaps he hasn’t done before. For women, it’s an opportunity to turn the tables, be the pursuer in the relationship, let your mate know in no uncertain terms how much you want them.

This year there are some wonderful opportunities to be had to create memories. If you’re going to pop the question, we have a large selection of jewelers in town to get that special ring, from Jewels by Kurt, to Readers, and of course there’s a Tiffany’s in the Santa Monica Place mall — a guaranteed win with the little blue box.

For the adventuresome, there’s the Adult Love Boutique on Santa Monica Boulevard or Secret Desires on Lincoln.
For the more free spirited who perhaps wish to do something unique, Rocco’s Cheesecake has a white chocolate strawberry in a heart shape to die for, also mini-cakes like a Mexican Hot Chocolate that is sure to add warmth and spice to your evening. I bet you could talk him into doing something special if you ask …

If you want an upscale evening, or perhaps a weekend getaway, I suggest the Loews Hotel which has a full range of Valentine’s Day specials available. The dinner menu looks amazing. I had the opportunity to sit down with Executive Chef Jason Prendergast last week to discuss not only this holiday menu, but his vision for the hotel, which is undergoing renovations in stages.

“I wanted to make a more market based menu, from items that are locally sourced. Each week I shop the local farmer’s markets to bring the brightest and freshest ingredients” said Prendergast, who is a Culinary Institute of America graduate. “We’re applying techniques like sous vide, and bringing in Japanese, Korean, and of course Latin influences to our menu” he continued.

For the Valentine’s Day special menu the main attraction is a Cote du Bouef for two, which is a dry aged Prime Rib for two, served with foraged mushrooms, bone marrow and b√©arnaise whipped potatoes. The appetizer selections are stunning this year with oysters (of course!) a Maine Lobster salad, foie gras and salad to share of Gem lettuce, poached egg, chicharrons, Brussels sprouts and fiscalini.

To top all of this off, Chef Prendergast has brought in a retro Baked Alaska for dessert, over which you can ask your sweetheart to marry you. This special Valentine’s Day menu is available from Thursday to Sunday.

If after that amazing dinner you can’t walk home, the hotel has weekend specials on ocean view rooms, and as a hotel guest if you want to work off that dinner you can head over to the gym and spa, where after a good treadmill run, you can get a body scrub, and a massage.

Enjoy this Valentine’s Day and celebrate your love. I am actually quite the romantic, hard to believe I know as a divorce lawyer, but if there’s anything I’ve learned through the years of doing this, it is that if you don’t put as much effort into sustaining your relationship, as you put into getting it, the road will get rocky. Take this holiday and use it to reinvigorate yourself, and your mate. It’s okay to be sappy, gooey, over the top in love and make a statement, not for the world to approve, but to your partner, so they know you truly value them, not just in a Hallmark card way, but in a serious and committed way.

Valentine’s Day comes but once a year, show your love, feel the warmth, be a goofball. And thank me in the morning.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in fathers’ and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or (310) 664-9969. You can also follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.

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