So maybe you're not a cynic. In fact, you're a romantic at heart. You take all this kissy-face, huggy-bear Valentine's Day stuff seriously - or you love someone who does.
But you're also busy, and maybe a little distracted. Or your sweetheart lives in another city. If so, all you need is a computer and a Web connection to do the romantically correct thing. Oh yes, a credit card helps - the best things in life may be free, but many others require plastic.
Let's start with the basics (for guys). Surveys have shown that most women expect candy, flowers or both, and despite their protestations to the contrary, extravagance is best. This is not to say that men don't appreciate candy and flowers. They're just not allowed to say so. In any case, don't procrastinate - order now to make sure your gift gets there by Sunday.
For candy, surf to the land of wretched excess at www.godiva.com, where a mere $55 (plus shipping) will buy your beloved a woven velvet heart filled with 12.5 ounces of strawberry cream leaves, vanilla truffles, hazelnut praline almonds, chocolate caramels and other outrageous goodies.
If your means are more modest (or your sweetheart is really hungry), you can have a 2-pound Red Fancy Heart filled with See's Famous Old Time Candies delivered for $32 plus shipping. If you've never left the East Coast, you may not have heard of the California-based See's confectionery, but it's definitely worth a trip to www.sees.com.
Speaking of candy, did you know that Necco has sold 72 billion of those little hearts inscribed with romantic sayings? You can learn more than you ever wanted to know about them at www.necco .com/holidays.htm.
Now to flowers. Forget the carnations and forget-me-nots. Valentine's Day means roses, lots of them. So point your Web browser to www.1800flowers.com/flowers/, where you can FedEx an arrangement of two dozen long-stems to your amour for $99.
While there's still plenty of time to buy a Valentine's Day card or two, there's nothing wrong with an electronic note that says "I love you." And the Web is littered with sites that will let you do it for free.
One of the best is Blue Mountain Arts, which offers a delightful array of animated electronic cards with musical backgrounds. Like most greeting card sites, Blue Mountain creates a Web page containing the card and music, then sends your beloved an e-mail message telling him or her how to pick up the Valentine online. Blue Mountain's specialty is publishing volumes of poetry, and you can really impress a Trekkie with a card bearing an original verse by Leonard Nimoy. Live long and prosper at www.bluemountainarts.com.
You'll find even more electronic Valentine customization options at www.123greetings.com, and an opportunity to send a quick but suitably romantic postcard at www.postcards.org.
Some of us, of course, are just plain tongue-tied. We'd love to express our love in words but just can't find them. Enter NandoNet's Cyrano Server, which will put the words in your mouth and deliver them electronically. All you have to do is fill in a little Mad Libs-style form (an adjective here, an adverb there), and Cyrano will create an eloquent if bizarre love letter - complete with illustrated hearts and flowers. Once the affair is over, you can ask Cyrano to send a "Dear John," too. Surf to www.nando.net/toys/cyrano.html.
If saying "I love you" in English isn't enough, why not try it in French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Arabic, Vulcan or 30 other languages?
You can learn how at www.america.net/seasonal/valentine/language.html. As they say in Welsh, "Yr wyf i yn dy garu di."
Finally, there are some people who can't be happy being in love unless they can analyze the relationship to death.
The Web offers plenty of help here, too. Check out Cupid's Bookstore at www.cupidnet.com, where you'll find a downloadable copy of the third edition of Rich Gosse's "How to Find a Lasting Relationship," along with other tomes on the art of loving. Gosse bills himself as America's foremost authority on the single lifestyle.
If you're interested in rekindling the old fires with your loved one, you'll find plenty of advice at the Time For Two Web site (www.timefortwo.com), including directions for "Seven Steps to a Perfect Night of Passion." Too busy for that? The author assures us that all you really have to remember is Steps 1, 5 and 7.