It’s time to get cracking on those Valentine's Day plans. The Going Out Gurus today discussed a few ways to say I love you. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Joining us for this special Got Plans? was Ellen McCarthy, who writes the "On Love" column in the Sunday Style section and frequently covers love, relationships, weddings and vegan cupcakes for the Post. Together, we answered so many romance-related questions, such as the ones here. Read the best of the chat below, and then be sure to check our slew of new romance-related best-of lists, with ideas to keep things hot all year.

Partying on Valentine’s Day

Hey, Gurus, any ideas for a few girls in their early 20s who want to party on Valentine’s Day but in an anti-Valentine’s way? Maybe a bar that is having drink specials and will be full of cute single guys? No cover would be nice (a girl can dream)! We usually like to party somewhere on the Red Line or on U Street.

Lavanya Ramanathan: There’s a funny party at the Bottom Line -- the annual Shred Your Ex, Find Your Next bash -- on Saturday you might want to hit up. And another one on Saturday at Town Tavern, where they’re declaring Cupid stupid and hosting an open bar from 8-10. As for Valentine’s Day itself, Bar Pilar hosts a anti-Valentine’s party, but it probably isn’t at your price point; You could always head to the Black Cat’s rock-and-roll dance party. It’s free, you can dance, and I suspect there will be a fair number of singles.

Avoiding the same old thing

Hey there, GOGs. After being married to my wife for 32 years, I’d like to do something different/unique for Valentine’s Day. We always do the dinner out, flowers, candy routine, so I’m hoping you guys could suggest something fun and different to do. Perhaps something with dancing or music? Any ideas would be welcome. Thanks!

Ellen McCarthy: A trip to the Carlyle Club in Alexandria might be fun. They have a swing band and a dance floor. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to a different era.

Dining out

What’s the best low-key option for going out to dinner in Arlington on Valentine’s Day (yes, I know that’s an oxymoron). My husband and I just decided we didn’t want to cook, and we are looking for a fun and easy dinner date. No dressing up and no special menus. Our first thought was Rustico, but it’s booked. Any other ideas?

Fritz Hahn: Why not just eat at the bar at Rustico? Seriously, I do that all the time. No reservations required. Other options: Pho 75, Ray’s Hellburger, the bar at Eatbar (again, no reservations taken/needed).

Valentine’s Day at work

I’d like to send a little something to my boyfriend at the office on V-day -- weird or ok for guys to receive gifts at work? Any thoughts on what to send?

Ellen McCarthy: It depends on the guy. If he gets embarrassed easily, I’d wait and give it to him in person. Unless you *want* to make him blush...

Fritz Hahn: I’ll agree with Ellen here. Depending on how long you’ve been dating, you should know your guy -- would he be embarassed? Would he think it was funny? If someone sent me a card or a pizza or a nice bottle of wine or something -- sans mylar balloons and singing valentine -- I’d be perfectly cool with that. But if his office is a little uptight, I wouldn’t chance it.

Lavanya Ramanathan: To add to Fritz’s pizza suggestion -- which I kind of love because it’s hilarious -- Fuel on K Street is doing heart-shaped pizzas for V-day. I think that would be an awesome boyfriend gift.

First date ideas

Hi, I’m looking for first-date ideas in the evening (and probably mid-week) that allow good conversation but don’t focus on sitting at a table and staring at each other like an interview. I like to be active, but it’s dark, cold and not conducive to a stroll anywhere. Museums are closed, music venues too loud, and hockey tickets are too expensive. Please help an online dater stay motivated!

Fritz Hahn: I hear you. Trust me. My ideas would include skee-ball, trivia nights, a happy hour visit to the National Portrait Gallery or American Art Museum (open until 7 p.m.) with a glass of wine in the courtyard first, a DIY-beer tasting with the little four-ounce beer tastings at ChurchKey or Meridian Pint, and the free wine tasting happy hour at Bistrot Lepic every Tuesday night.