The Language of Love: A Valentine's Special

Fresh flowers...check.
Reservation at the fanciest restaurant you can afford...check.
Your spiffiest outfit (the one that makes your calves look aMAZing)...check.
Words to express your feelings...che - wait. Are you sure you've got this one covered?

It's normal to be unsure what to say on a date; not only are you nervous, but the structure of this weird, arranged little tryst between two people is so delicate that it's easy to say the wrong thing. The right words have potent magic when used at the right time. As Isabel Allende, renowned Chilean author and thinker once said, "For women, the best aphrodisiacs are words. The G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below there is wasting his time" (something similar applies for many men, and certainly for lexicographers!).

If the two of you are really into one another (i.e. making googly eyes at each other across the bread basket), you might be tempted to bring up the concept of "love." It's a bold move, but doing so is fraught with peril, as even just the words we use to describe love vary as much as the forms that this complicated feeling can take. "Love": that one little word carries with it such a vast array of meanings, implications, and nuances that, if you're not careful in your speech, you risk creating a very awkward situation. Don't let language be the thing that torpedoes your date - your personality can take care of that. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, let us at WinEveryGame (who are all well-seasoned veterans of love) give you a few tips to help your date go smoothly.

The first thing to do: set the scene for your tryst. It's very important that the restaurant you pick has the proper ambiance. The atmosphere should be calm and romantic, and preferably not too crowded - you don't want your date to miss your suave comment on the establishment's sophisticated milieu. Having a nice bouquet ready at the beginning of your date can also help set the mood. Whether this means a hefty tuft of roses or a simple (but well-placed) compliment depends on whether you have time to run to the florist's after work, but either can set your companion at ease by reminding him or her that you value them and you are worth being with on Valentine's Day!

Things are going well so far - at least, you haven't been nixed yet. At this point, it's pretty clear that you're both under some form of amorous spell, but before you act you might want to identify just what kind of love is in the air. If the conversation is more on the casual, superficial side, don't panic yet - things are just fun and loose right now. You're getting to know each other, and you don't want to spoil it by suddenly breaking out some poignant declaration of love. On the other hand, if your companion is gushing blithely about the names of your future kids, then take a second to consider your own intentions. If a steady, meaningful relationship is what you're after, then your amative efforts have been a success! Of course, the dynamics of a date aren't all about emotion; there's bound to be a bit of physical instinct swirled around in there too. We won't go into lurid details here, but if your date is bringing in some kind of aphrodisiac - maybe an appetizer of oysters, or a suggestive arranging of breadsticks - it might be a sign that the night may extend past dinner....

As great as practical advice is, though, the best tip we can give you this Valentine's Day is to just be yourself. That may sound trite, but the best way to make a real, meaningful connection is to be the person you legitimately are. Regardless of whether you date finds chemistry with you or not, chances are he or she will still respect you for giving them your honest self, and you might make a real friend! Honestly, love is kind of unpredictable, but mastering the language of love can do a lot to get Cupid on your side.

Still looking for some more help (or just interested in vocabulary)? Here is our bouquet of words for you:

Amative: Amative is a great word to use when you're powered by passion. Usually, it means to be motivated or struck by powerful feelings of love, but it can be used to illustrate anything that's characterized by deep affection. It's common to use amative to describe pure, Disney-cartoonish love as well as heated lust, making it appropriate for whatever your plans are this Valentine's Day.

Amorous: Do you long for love? Do you gaze, dewy-eyed, at the moon, hoping that somehow you'll stumble across that one person you're meant to be with (preferably by happenstance, just as it's starting to rain, on a lonely Valentine's Day)? Or do you prowl the streets at night, looking for a good time that you can walk away from in the morning with no regrets? Either attitude is fairly amorous, which, like amative, describes people and things that seek intimacy.

Aphrodisiac: Valentine's Day is an excellent opportunity to try an aphrodisiac, especially if the embers have not been burning bright recently. An aphrodisiac is an object or action that wakes up the sex drive, getting its users in such a mood that they can't wait to procreate. Do pay heed to Allende's advice though, as the right words are a more effective aphrodisiac than the best chocolates or herbs in the world.

Bouquet: What's one of the most cliché things you can get your date on Valentine's Day? How about the traditional collection of flowers, or bouquet? Although bouquet is most often used to refer to a grouping of flowers, it can also mean a medley of pleasant things, such as a wine basket or an arrangement of artistic pieces, as well as a gracious compliment. On second thought, maybe a bouquet isn't such a bad Valentine's Day present...after all, it's been done so much for a reason!

Lurid: Admit it: there's lots about Valentine's Day that gets idealized, from the thousands of meet-cute scenarios we envision to the mawkish poems we recite for our significant others. But real life includes plenty of lurid, or "graphic or unseemly," details. We'll tell you that lurid often refers to things that are sexual in nature, but we might leave the specifics up to your imagination.

Milieu: One of the hardest aspects of planning Valentine's Day activities is nailing the perfect milieu, or atmosphere. Will your date respond best to a heavy, lovey-dovey type setting? Or is a more relaxed ambiance the way to go? We can't help you decide, but we can tell you that a milieu includes everything about the surrounding environment from the sounds in the background to the attitudes of the people around you.

Nix: Up to this point we've been catering a lot to those who actually have dates on Valentine's Day, but what about those of us who don't? Don't feel embarrassed - it's perfectly okay if your Valentine's Day plans amount to nix, which is a great way to say "zero." Nix can also be used as a verb that means "to reject" or "to say no to," which seems to happen to a lot of us around mid-February. Oh, well - if you do get nixed, it's just a great excuse to stay home, avoid the busy restaurants and watch Netflix in comfy pajamas (which some would say is more fun anyway).

Trite: Unfortunately, you'll probably see a lot of trite gestures around Valentine's Day. Trite is an adjective that describes anything that's been done so often as to be rendered inane, useless, or insufferable. "Love is in the air" - trite. "Love is in the gallbladder" - not trite, but maybe worth getting checked out.

Tryst: Are you keeping your Valentine's Day plans on the down-low this year? If so, perhaps you and your special someone have agreed to a tryst, a prearranged visit between two lovers. Although you could call any date a tryst, the word often implies a meeting conducted in secret, perhaps because the love felt by the participants is "forbidden." The intrigue and romance of a tryst serves as the beginning of many enchanting love stories, and we hope your tryst leads to a happy one.

A Happy Valentine's Day to all our readers. We love you.