It’s hard finding true love.

It can be even harder telling your true love that they’ve been found.

In first grade, Bag Lady and Shopping Siren attempted tactics like giving the cutest boy in class the coolest paper Valentine a mom could buy — something Star Wars or featuring a skateboarding dog — but without, you know, signing our names. Because that would be embarrassing.

In junior high, we slipped anonymous notes into our crushes’ lockers. At least we hoped the lockers were theirs. There was also a stint of writing our first name with his last in a notebook over and over and over but then hoping, Dear God, don’t let him see it, but maybe, um, let him see it?

By college, we’d graduated to drawing hearts on dorm room door white boards in the middle of the night or, when we got really bold or really egged on by friends, writing our initials plus his initials equal sign “4 eva.”

Hey, we were lusty/shy/conflicted — you know, average.

But we’re older now, and wiser, and nothing if not loquacious. And our love notes have matured right along with us. It’s an art form, really, telling your secret crush that you’re crushing on them.

Never penned a secret admirer note? With Valentine’s Day coming up, there’s no better time than now.

* Prinz Rev’em “Let’s Ride” frame, Photo Finish, $29.95

Industrial metal-looking frame with a motorcycle molded into the corner and “Let’s Ride!” etched across the top. Slip in a 4- by 6-inch snapshot of you and your crush and let it speak for itself.

Note: If you do not have a natural picture of you and your crush together, do not cut out separate images and glue them together so it kinda, sorta looks like you’ve sipped mai tais on a Hawaiian beach while entwined in each other’s arms. And definitely don’t Photoshop your faces together to show what your future children would look like. There’s a fine line between secret admirer and scary stalker person, and the line is there.

* Reflections silver ballpoint pen, Things Remembered, $19.99

A fine writing instrument for penning the perfect sonnet or creating a love song dedicated to The One. Engravable, so you can commemorate the date your secret crush became your open crush.

* Lemon, your local grocery store, about 50 cents

Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl, soak up a little with a cotton swab, then write your secret message on a sheet of white paper. When it dries, the ink will disappear, reappearing only when exposed to heat. For the super secret admirer, or when your crush is Bond, James Bond.

* “Sealed with love” stamps, book of 20, U.S. Postal Service, $9.20

Send that lemony missive sealed with a heart-emblazoned stamp. We love the idea of sending an actual card or penning an actual note for romance and posterity. You’re not going to show your grandkids the text message in which Grampa first asked you out. I mean, we hope/shudder.

* Jumbo cards, Spencer’s Gifts, $5.99

At over 2 feet tall, this would take an inordinate number of stamps, however, left on a car windshield? Leaned against a front door? Quite the first impression.

* Funny T-shirts, Spencer’s Gifts, $19.99

Our favorites: “I cuddle on the first date” and “I would cuddle you so hard,” in blue or black. Kind of adorable. To be worn by the very bold when hand-delivering the above card.

Best find: Bling-encrusted silver fortune cookie, Things Remembered, $4.99

Little metal fortune cookie laden with crystals, and half its regular price. Opens up to reveal a tiny plate that can be engraved with your message. Not enough room there? Add a slip of paper to provide your beloved with his or her own personal fortune. Something like, “You will soon fall madly in love with Frank.” But only if your name is Frank.

Think twice: Pole dance kits (poles included,) Spencer’s Gifts, $99.99-$149.99

They come in old-fashioned (nonspinning) and newfangled (electrified, spinning.) Hey, everyone expresses themselves differently. We get that. And for some, that expression comes in the form of interpretive dance. Using a pole and, er, some degree of writhing. But to us it frankly sounds way too forward for crush-enlightening purposes.

Better to bust a move with that sonnet.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who express their love by barking) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected]


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