Labor of Love

Best Valentine’s Day idea ever and other ruminations.

This month’s issue focuses on the bright minds leading the exciting surge of tech startups in our city. As the profiles by writer Jim Leusner demonstrate, their efforts and enthusiasm—not to mention the apps they are developing—are yet another example of how Orlando is rapidly coming of age. 

High tech is great. But I want to talk for a moment about low tech, in particular how it relates to showing people how much we care for them. Of course, that’s on our minds this month because of Valentine’s Day. For many of us, it’s a day that we reserve for chocolates or cards or a romantic dinner. For others with a more creative bent, it might be an opportunity to present a personal poem to our beloved or sing a song written for a special someone.

Or how about this: Give your soul mate a huge Mason jar full of 365 handwritten love notes so that he or she can open one every day of the year. That’s what a 27-year-old Irish chap did recently for his girlfriend (as a Christmas present). As reported in various media, the hopeless romantic color-coded the notes—yellow for “moments & memories,’’ green for “quotes & lyrics,’’ and red for “reasons I love you.’’ The instructions on the jar read in part: “Every morning for the next year you can pick one note out and it (in theory) will be a nice start to the day for you.’’

The Dubliner, known as TheOnlyOne87 on the Reddit social website, posted his account, complete with photos of the project (search for them at And he reported that—no surprise—his girlfriend was “ecstatic.’’

The thoughtful act sparked a lot of response on Reddit—and some clever alternatives. One commenter recalled that in a box of chocolates he once gave his girlfriend, he placed a slip of paper under each treat stating a reason he loved her. (“She could have two a day.’’) Another gentleman demonstrated that heartfelt messages don’t necessarily have to coincide with a holiday: Before he left for an extended trip, he hid 50 notes of sweet nothings around the house so that his wife would find them and not feel so lonely. 

But alas, there was also some frustration with TheOnlyOne87. From the guys:

“I felt like the king with some flowers the other day. But now…’’

“All right. So all I need now is an awesome girlfriend.’’

As for the female commenters:

“I wish my husband would do something like this.’’

“Can you be my boyfriend too?’’

Need I say more? Resolve to dress up those chocolates. Reconsider buying that goofy puppy greeting card. Get out pen and paper and dig deep into your inner self (but perfect your love notes first on a high-tech Word document). Don’t have time for 365 notes? Scale it back to 30 or 20 or even 10. 

My work here is done. You’re welcome.

Oh, wait, not quite. As fate would have it, just about every department in this issue has something that can be used to complement an assortment of love notes. Jennie Hess looks at 10 things to love (there’s that word) about the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets to a show there would certainly make an impression on your significant other. Dining critic Joseph Hayes dishes on three places that would make great dinner dates, including the new Capa restaurant at the Disney Four Seasons. We get the scoop on seven chocolate-related gifts, as well as an out-of-the-way getaway to lovely Singer Island. Meanwhile, Greg Dawson opines on the frustration—and, yes, the science—of waiting in lines. Which, of course, you’re not going to do, because you need to start writing.

So how far should you take the jar? The possibilities are endless, as noted by this Reddit commenter:

“Hey man, what you should do is tape one last piece of paper to the bottom so it’s the very last note she picks. Inside the note will say ‘Will you marry me?’ ”

I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s an app for that.

Categories: Column