Massages are a classic Valentine's Day gift for the pampered beloved, and they're even more special (and nicely priced) if you give one yourself. But although a massage might seem pretty simple to give, the inherent messiness of using oils, candles, and maybe the odd rose petal or two means that a few minutes of planning is a very good thing. A little preparation can keep you from needing new sheets or, worst case scenario, can prevent a particularly embarrassing visit from the fire department. So what should you have on hand before you get romantic? For the checklist, just read more.
- Clean towels — A must. There should be at least one towel underneath your boo, preferably two spread out so that if/when they roll over, you don't get a bed/couch/carpet full of sexxxy fake-strawberry-scented massage oil. It's gross when you're not in the moment, hard to get out, and even if you think you'll be careful, it's just not worth the risk.
- Clothes hangers — These may not sound as appealing as a pile of rumpled clothes on the floor, but if you're really focused on taking care of your love, slowly removing garments and putting them on hangers is romantic, too. And then nobody has to walk around with oily patches or candle wax on their clothes.
- Massage oil — Some people like to give massages without oil, but honestly, it's just not the same, and definitely not as sexy. If you're paranoid about it, use a massage bar — Lush has a ton of them. Get this one before the day of, and if you're not sure what scents your significant other likes, pick something natural and pleasing like apricot or almond oil.
- Candles — They're great for creating atmosphere, and overhead lighting isn't as romantic. Instead of real candles, though, try electric votives ($13/dozen). The same glow without the fire hazard. Plus, you can use them over and over.
- A fire extinguisher — I'm not kidding. If there's going to be wine drinking, lots of sexy (real) candles, and massaging going on, you definitely need one. They're good to have around the house anyway, and you'll be thankful that you had it on hand if something goes awry when you're tipsy.
- An iPod playlist or CD with romantic music — Massage engages all of the senses, so a soft, romantic soundtrack takes things to the next level and makes you look like the caring, thoughtful date you are.