It is probably too late now to book that romantic meal out à deux you were planning on Saturday night. You know, something with soft lighting, pink champagne and a lot of gazing into one another's eyes over a plastic red rose and a candle you would have set your sleeve alight on anyway.
So you're back needing a present. Lingerie (if you're a bloke) won't work. She'll know that that is a present for you, not her, and that you're thinking something other than romance. Lingerie (if you're a woman) will likely be well received.
Chocolates, I'm afraid, are a little unimaginative and have an air of last-minute-stop-at-Texaco about them. Roses are expensive this time of year, especially in these cash-strapped times, and probably ecologically unsound (as well as bloody unlikely to arrive on time given current weather patterns). The box set of Series 3 of Battlestar Galactica (if you're a bloke) falls into the same category as the lingerie.
I have a different suggestion. How about a book? Not Mills & Boon - and especially not the bizarre rugby tie-in book - and not one of those books, but something that gets to the essence of love. Something beautifully written, profound, and - never underestimate the important of form - something wonderfully presented.
Something like the Everyman Pocket Classic's Love Stories. First and foremost it is a beautiful-looking book, thoughtfully illustrated. The PR notes that came with it emphasises that these books are "sewn, clothbound hardbacks with a slik ribbon marker and are printed on a fine cream wove, acid-free paper". When you read those words you wonder why they bother, but when you pick up the book you understand. Like all the Everyman books, it is done exceptionally well.
And then there's the content, thoughtfully assembled by Diana Secker Tesdell. What is impressive about this book is the way it reflects love in all its multi-faceted glory. The book opens with a short story from one of the masters of the art, Guy De Maupassant, whose classic Clair de Lune speaks of the raw, paralysing and surprising power of love. I also particularly enjoyed F. Scott Fitzgerald's Winter Dreams, an eloquent exposition on both the American dream and the illusory nature of love.
There's wit from Roald Dahl, a little eroticism thrown in from Colette and DH Lawrence and some really terrific writers I haven't gotten around to yet: Dorothy Parker, Tobias Wolff and Margaret Atwood.
Of course, not every one is the romantic type, even on St Valentine's Day. So if it's murder and mayhem you're after, I heartily recommend Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay, or for something a little gentler, Alan Bradley's exquisite thriller The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.