Love a Little Better

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Valentine's Day may be a crass, purely commercial holiday, but don't try telling your lover you're boycotting it. Even if the object of your affection sympathizes with your conscientious objector platform, it's a safe bet your hard line will bruise her tender heart.

Bottom line: You had the opportunity to buy her a gift and you didn't do it. Will you pay for that down the road? Personally, I wouldn't want to roll those dice.

Thankfully, there are alternatives. You can, in fact, turn your back on the mountain of V-Day junk at Walmart ( WMT) and seize the opportunity to help build the world you would like to see.

The idea here is simple: Be proactive. You have to participate, but as you do you can choose to raise the level of the cultural conversation by some small degree. You win, she wins, everybody wins.

My few suggestions are all related to music I happen to like -- take them or leave them but, hopefully, if you choose to do the latter you can catch the spirit and apply this same thinking to other areas more specific to your Valentine.

No. 1: They're Playing Your Song

If there's a local jazz club, or a restaurant that has live jazz, go for it. Reserve a table, pick up a single rose, have nice dinner and enjoy the band.

Obvious, right? But this simple choice is magical in its effect.

Assuming the musicians are being paid, your money is going into the grassroots pockets of the culture business. You're also showing the local restaurant that hiring a band does indeed draw in customers. With that, your money is already working doubletime.

From your date's perspective, nothing is more romantic than jazz -- except, maybe, you. Even when you don't know a whole lot about the music, it still has a flirtatious appeal.

All those sultry jazz associations from old, black-and-white movies? They haven't faded one bit but are just lingering there in our collective subconscious, waiting to be activated. (Just don't say, Here's looking at you, kid. Bogart's ghost is likely to step out of the shadows and slap you.)

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