Well, what do you do if you don't have a significant other... or if you have more than one?! The answer seems to be "The same thing you do every day... only a bit more if you feel like it." Well, that's probably what people in relationships should do too.
It's always a bit sad to hear all the things that our single friends want in a relationship. It's like they've created a laundry list, and not anything that might resemble a real human being. Are you looking for a woman with a perfect body, who is the sweetest nicest girl you've ever met, completely hot and nasty in bed, and who is both intelligent and agrees with you on everything? Have you considered a woman with multiple personality disorder? Do you want a man who is tender, sensitive, and romantic, washboard abs, who loves art, poetry, and Broadway shows? Might I suggest the gay bar?! Did I mention that these 'ideal people' are usually spoken for, dysfunctional, or addicted to something other than you?
In other words, get real. That's not always easy, because reality isn't usually depicted as being sexy. I mean, pornography is supposed to be sexy, and is its goal to depict reality? Generally not. Even amateur pornography (or webcams) are usually not about reality, but about the illusion of reality, which is quite different.
So, what works? Seems like the overall answer is just to lead a happy life and make it a good day... make every day nice in lots of little ways. I'm not very good at the grand romantic gestures, but I hear I'm really good at the little things. I make good tea, sing silly songs, talk about pretty much anything, and cuddle a lot. I can usually tell when Kirsten is bored, antsy, depressed, or unhappy... and I do lots of little things to spoil her.
We communicate a lot, really. It's hard to underestimate the value of communication. If someone honestly conveys verbally how they are feeling, it makes it that much easier later on to get a feeling for the non-verbal signals they are putting out.
Last night was probably the big romantic gesture... I took her out to sushi and then to see Amelie; definitely a good movie for Valentine's. It was really nice. The thing is, it's always nice... even when it isn't. I mean, we disagree and grumble often enough, but we know it's not going to kill our relationship just because we got into a stupid argument. We don't let it ruin our relationship, and we still get in some cuddling before we go to bed. It took us years of communication, work, and compromise to get to this point, however.
In other words, we just might become one of those old couples that bicker and grouse, but stay married for their entire lives. Scary, huh?!
Ok, single people. You may proceed to hate me now.