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Somewhere, deep down in the unromantic recesses of your mind you know that 14 February is Valentine's Day. It may not have surfaced into your consciousness yet. If it this is the case, you run the risk of damaging your relationship or at least having a blazing row when you get home.

Time is short but don't panic. First of all, go here. This is a Valentine's card site, it's easy and it's quick. Now send an email to whatever email address your loved one is least likely to have looked at today. This will form an essential piece of your defence.

Incidentally, if at the moment you're thinking that this is no big deal, snap out of it. Quick. You must do something. Now, you're too late to book a meal - you'll never get a table. Unless you work very fast in fact, pretending you've planned a surprise night out will not work - too many factors, too risky.

So, you must suggest a quiet night in as if this was your intention all along. Tell her/him that you hate the commercialisation of Valentine's Day and you'd rather do it proper and stay in for a bit of loving. That's better than any meal - just the two of you. Then, announce swiftly afterwards that nevertheless she/he deserves a night out, so keep next Wednesday/Thursday night free and we'll have a meal then.

Now, we'd love to tell you how to get the essential gifts online but you're too bloody late. Instead, go to the supermarket quick quick on the way home. Get some good wine and some nice food (if you can't cook, GO to the best takeaway in your area). Flowers may be difficult but give it a whirl. Do NOT turn up at the house until you have at least three gifts.

Overwhelm, overwhelm, overwhelm. If you pull it off, snatching victory from the jaws of argument will be even sweeter. Good luck. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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