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Burlesque artist Ava Garter offers tips for a romantic Valentine's Day

February 08, 2009|Max Padilla

Remember Jennifer Lopez's 2001 hit "Love Don't Cost a Thing"? It's the sort of tune you hope your valentine is whistling this year, given the daily doses of bleak economic news. But even if you're just entertaining in your living room over glasses of Barefoot Bubbly, there's no need to give romance the pink slip. The trick is in thinking beyond stuff to seduction, says burlesque queen Ava Garter, a protege of Dita Von Teese and teacher at the Black Glove School of Seduction. She offers these tips.

-- Max Padilla

What inexpensive romantic get-ups do you suggest?

Every woman has a black dress in her closet. You can save money by putting on that dress and borrowing accessories. A black dress should have a back or side zipper; you wouldn't want to get into a seduction scene and tug it over your head.

It's always very sexy to go with a pretty black bra, black garter belt, black panties with a bow and a nude sheer stocking. Black is slimming, and a nude stocking makes your legs look much longer.

I can't do without heels. Women should have a very deadly walk; you should glide without making a fool of yourself.

For the bedroom, you can use a pair of black gloves as a tool for seduction that's very cheap -- remove them very slowly, one at a time, and take as long as you like.

Beauty tips?

If you're having dinner with your boyfriend or husband for Valentine's Day, touch up your lipstick very slowly in front of him and let him watch. My favorite shade now is MAC Red She Said, and it couldn't be more than $14. Eyelashes are a fetish for me. You can go light with color on your eye if you have a big gorgeous fringe of eyelash.

A perfect night in?

Pasta is inexpensive, easy and really romantic. I grate Parmesan cheese onto takeout and it's certified mine. A lot of guys don't like Champagne. Get a couple of beers and put them in a Champagne bucket.

The best Valentine's Day present?

One of the best gifts you can give a man is the gift of you, sharing time together and letting him off the hook for buying you something. We're in a serious financial downturn, and we have to make sacrifices.


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