February 12, 1996


Valentine Aid for Lovers on the Web

A bouquet of World Wide Web sites promises users the chance to point and click their way to sudden charm, leaving no excuse for being lonely or inept this Valentine's Day.

Valentine Be Mine, a site dedicated to "the romantically dysfunctional," begins with basic advice, "Wear something red," and progresses to a recipe for "hearts-filled-with-lust cookies."

A site called 1,001 Ways to Be Romantic could skip the other 1,000 and just go with No. 274: "Spare no expense." The page, based on a book by Gregory J.P. Godek, has Valentine tips for both the cheap ("Pop your own popcorn while watching a video at home") and the bold ("Greet him at the front door wearing a big red ribbon -- and nothing else").

Tongue-tied? The Love and Romance Home Page offers six love poems, five love letters and nine poems for use on greeting cards. "Dearest (Name)," the forms say, and suggest the witty sign off, "Love."

The poetry is not exactly for the ages. A sample:

Wildflowers bloom on a mountainside,
As icy waters on their tumbling ride,
Flow in haste to meet the Sea,
On a cycle that will always be.

Art clashes with technology on this site: several love poems last week were labeled "Under Construction."

This might not have been the way Shakespeare or Elizabeth Barrett Browning thought of the creative process. But if you want to find -- and send -- samples of these poets' work, you can find love-letter links to them at the site.

The two-week-old Wooing Tools page, on the site of Kaplan Educational Centers, the test-preparation company, recasts Browning slightly, asking: "How do I love thee? Let me look up the ways." It links to "Roget's Thesaurus."

Sugarplums, created by a designer of Web sites for food companies, has sections on aphrodisiacs (figs!), "flower foreplay" and arousing aromas (doughnuts and licorice). The creator, Cynthia Denny, assumes the persona of a randy Martha Stewart. She says she makes her own lavender water, and suggests hanging lacy sachets from the bedpost.

Aphrodite's Love Palace, a site that lists the phrase, "I love you," in 10 languages, has a gift section that offers this can't-miss advice: "A car is likely to make a big impression."

To make the night last, consider visiting Give Your Valentine the Stars, a site that allows users to name a star for their loved ones. "The cost of being remembered for all eternity is a negligible $49.95," the site says. Or to make things official, log into the Chapel of Love ("probably the most tasteful wedding chapel in Las Vegas") and post an engagement notice.

Those who somehow still wind up in Valentine hell should check out the Lonely Hearts page on the cheeky Kaplan site, featuring links to an Apology Note Generator, a depression page and the Divorce Page. "Dump your beloved electronically," one link says. "Send a Dear John or Dear Jane E-mail."

Then cheer up by surfing back to Aphrodite's and clicking on a big, sloppy, 110-kilobyte kiss.

Taking In the Sites is published weekly, on Mondays. Previous columns are available.

Related Sites
Following are links to the external Web sites mentioned in this column. These sites are not part of The New York Times on the Web, and The Times has no control over their content or availability. When you have finished visiting any of these sites, you will be able to return to this page by clicking on your Web browser's "Back" button or icon until this page reappears.

  • Valentine Be Mine
  • 1,001 Ways to Be Romantic
  • The Love and Romance Home Page
  • Give Your Valentine the Stars
  • Chapel of Love
  • Sugarplums
  • Aphrodite's Love Palace

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