They say money can't buy you love.
But then, when it comes to romance, nobody likes a cheapskate.
So, with a worsening economy and a uncertain outlook, how is a lovebird of limited means supposed to show that someone special something special this Valentine's Day?
I have a few suggestions.
Now, in case you're about to question my bona fides in the love-doctor department, I confess to having no expertise whatsoever in affairs of the heart.
But I am a journalist, so, trust me, I know cheap.
Here are my humble ideas on how to make Hallmark, er, Cupid's day fun while not breaking the bank.
For the food lover:
Many restaurants around Modesto and the Central Valley will offer special, romantic prix fixe menus for two on Feb. 14. If you can afford a night of luxury, go for the all-inclusive dinners.
But if you can't, why not treat her or him to a delicious, decadent dessert instead. Prepare a nice dinner at home and then go out afterward for Death by Chocolate or crème brûlée for two at your favorite spot. Just be sure to call ahead to make sure your eatery is open to non-prix fixe diners that night.
For the music lover:
Both the State Theatre and Gallo Center for the Arts have romantic shows scheduled on Valentine's weekend.
The State has jazz and R&B duo Tuck & Patti on Feb. 13 (tickets $20-$28) and the Gallo Center has Latin singers Nelson Ned and Alvaro Torres on Feb. 15 (tickets $35-$85).
But, if you can't afford to shell out double the bucks for a show for you and your sweetheart, think smaller but no less fun.
Area bars and coffee shops will have music all weekend long at no or low cost. Call ahead to your favorite watering hole and ask who it has playing. If you aren't familiar with the band name, be sure to ask what kind of music it plays. No one wants to make googly eyes at her honey to the romantic strains of hard-core death metal — unless that's your thing, in which case, rock on.
For the movie lover:
Feb. 15 is movie day at the State Theatre, and whether you like sweeping romances or succinct short films, you'll find something to snuggle up with your sweetie in the back rows to.
First, at 2:30 p.m., the Modesto Film Society presents David Lean's 1965 classic, "Dr. Zhivago," featuring the dreamy pair of Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.
Russian winters, mink stoles and the Bolshevik Revolution? Now that's romance.
A special pre-film "Laratini," which is a vodka martini named after the film's Oscar-winning music, "Lara's Theme," will be for sale at the concession stand. Movie tickets are $8 ($5 for film society members)
Then at 7 p.m., enjoy a one-time screening of all the Oscar-nominated animated short films. The 88-minute presentation will include 10 critically acclaimed animated shorts. Tickets are $9.
(Note: At 7 p.m. Tuesday, all of the Oscar-nominated live-action shorts will screen in a special presentation at the State. Tickets are also $9. Run time is 94 minutes.)
For more information on either screening, visit www.thestate.org.
And, if all those options are still too much for your wee wallet, just remember that nothing says "I love you" like actually saying "I love you." So be unsparing with the sweet nothings.
Talk is cheap, and for once, that's a good thing.
Elsewhere around the Scene:
Conservative radio hosts Rob Johnson and Tim St. Martin are back on the Modesto airwaves.
The Modesto pair, formerly the hosts of a morning show on KFIV 1360 AM, have found a new home on new talk radio station The Patriot 840 AM. They debuted at 6 a.m. Monday and their new show, "AM Drive," will be on from 6 to 9 p.m. weekdays. Both men bring decades of radio experience to their new show.
The station is also home to such nationally syndicated conservative radio mainstays as Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Michael Savage. For more information, visit www.kmph840.com. ...
Merced artist Moon Trent made it onto the OutVoice Top 40 CDs for 2008 for his release "Quilt."
His album came in No. 17 in the Top 40 for last year's top gay and lesbian music charts. OutVoice has charted GLBT music online since 1996 at www.outvoice.net.
"Quilt, the Moon Trent collection, 1991-2007" was first released in 2007 through Trent's indie label, timmi-kat ReCoRDS. It is available on cdbaby.com and iTunes. For more, visit myspace.com/moontrent. ...
And finally, come celebrate the birthday of Queen Bean Coffee House owner Debra Martinez with music and drinks Saturday.
Enjoy drink specials from 7 to 11 p.m., as well as live music by Circles & Circles, Shadow Puppet Theater and A La Lune. No cover, but purchase is required. For more, visit myspace.com/queenbean_booking_modesto.