kristy holland

I t's that time of year again: The weeks leading up to Valentine's Day are tough for single folks and couples in budding relationships. How far do you go to express your love -- when you're on a third date? What if your relationship is on the brink -- of breakup? What do you do on the most romantic night of the year -- if you're by yourself?

Well, the good news is that you're off to a good start if you're already thinking about how to steer Cupid's arrow in your direction between now and next week. With the seven-day lead up to V-Day, you've got plenty of time to either cement some plans with your current fling, drop her gently (pre-holiday) so you scar her forever, or put in a last-ditch effort to find a partner for some casual V-day merrymaking.

Here are a few ideas for whichever agenda you've got over the next week:

Cement your romantic plans: If you're interested in moving forward with your main squeeze, there's no better way than by putting some thought into a romantic overture in time for Saint Valentine's. First things first: Call (don't text!) to ask if she's available to join you. Most of Pearl's best eateries are offering pre-fixe menus for the 14th, so hone in on a favorite, like Aji Latin American Restaurant (1601 Pearl St.; ajirestaurant.com), which is offering a four-course menu of upscale south-of-the-border-inspired cuisine for $50/person (which includes a glass of sparkling red wine).


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Let your (former) love interest down easy: Don't wait until the last minute or -- God forbid -- the night of to break up with a lover that you're not interested in. I'll leave the details of the actual break up to you, but before you drop the bomb, slip in a casual conversation about the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts' newest exhibit, The Museum of Broken Relationships, which opens with a public reception on the 14th (free; 1750 13th St.; bmoca.org). If she takes the hint, the gritty exhibit is a great place for her to forget about you while in relationship-recovery mode with her gaggle of gal pals. As for you: See below.

Find a willing partner-in-crime: Single, eh? There's no better sure-fire shortcut to early-relationship ecstasy than a whirlwind romance that culminates on Cupid's day. Set your sights on finding a fling this weekend and your odds of a get-lucky Valentine surprise go up about a millionfold. Best bets: The crowd at Bácaro Venetian Taverna (921 Pearl St.; bacaro.com) gets cozier during the late-night DJ sessions, and Catacombs Bar at the Hotel Boulderado (2115 13th St.; boulderado.com) has an underground speakeasy vibe that makes it easy to start conversations with girls that catch your eye. The trick to a quick-start romance isn't diving right in, but starting things off slowly, building the anticipation with a week of flirting, then being a true gentleman when it comes to seducing her -- listening to her and taking her lead. Good luck!

Kristy Holland writes about date-night ideas once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com