Love, Cleveland-style

I’m always on the lookout for good advice —something that makes life easier, a bit of knowledge that improves my health, relationships or how I do my job.

Actually, I’m a collector of good advice. Which is to say, I don’t always use what I’ve learned. (I’m very proud of my “eat better” and “fitness” collections, which rarely are removed from their protective plastic coverings.)

I’m happy to discover tips from just about anywhere (fortune cookies can be quite inspirational), but my favorite place (not surprisingly) is in magazines.

From Esquire, for example, I’ve learned what to spend on a wedding gift. (“The question here isn’t really how much you should spend, but how little you can get away with spending while still looking good.”) Apparently, that’s somewhere between $70 and $100, though something personal is always better and something circular has special meaning because it implies unity.

From Men’s Health, I’ve discovered that hugging your wife or girlfriend can improve her health. (“The smell of male hair and skin makes women less tense, nervous, and negative, according to University of Utah scientists.”)

From Cosmo, I’ve learned ... well, I’ll just let you check that out for yourself.

This month, we present our second February love survey, which uncovered that exactly 50 percent of you have followed love or relationship advice from a magazine or newspaper. So we’re out to improve that number. Our assembled group of love, relationship and dating experts has a ton of great ideas, stories and advice on everything from what to give this Valentine’s Day to how to get more out of Cleveland’s dating scene.

Wondering if that guy you met at the bar last night is really someone special? Here’s an easy litmus test from super mom Lisa Toohey, a regular contributor to her daughter Jen Toohey’s radio show on Q104. “You know a relationship is right when you get that butterfly feeling in your stomach. Just make sure you aren’t getting sick or something. But the other significant sign is when you’d rather be with him or her than your friends or family. And if someone will still kiss you when you have bad breath, you know it’s right.”

Want to make your Valentine’s Day one to remember? Try one of these suggestions from our readers.

“A clue every day of ‘Love Month’ (February), leading to a great present at the end once all the clues are pieced together.” Or a “Scavenger hunt with small ‘I love you’ presents and trinkets that would make the other person think of a special moment throughout their time together.”

Things to avoid, guys? A vacuum or small appliances. (That probably goes doubly for treadmills or a gym membership.)

And if you’re looking for a romantic getaway, maybe an indoor water park isn’t the best choice. “The last thing I want to do in the winter is get in a swimsuit and be around screaming kids,” offers a teacher who took our love survey. (We’re not buying it, though. Check out Amber Matheson’s couples experience at Sandusky’s Kalahari Waterpark.)

How about a unique way to meet someone new? “I sent him a note at the grocery store. I had the bag boy slip it into his grocery bag. He read my note when he got home, and called.”

Or try a night with your significant other that doesn’t involve the bar and club scene:

“Dinner at our house with a good bottle of wine (or gin, or both) and a deck of cards (and Catch Phrase).” Or if you spend too many nights at home, check out Andy Netzel’s three-step approach to creating a great date on page 82.

And then, there are these reader nuggets definitely worth holding onto.

On our dating scene: “I don’t think it’s any different than anywhere else. Changing locations doesn’t help. Changing your outlook does.”

On high-risk dating: “Dating a friend/ coworker is the worst because when it is over you still have to see them every day! Very awkward! As for [dating] the friend’s ex, what they don’t know won’t hurt them!”

On relationships no matter what your age: “Young is fun, old is skilled. Together is best.”

Here’s hoping you find something to add to your collection of good advice.
Share this story: