Like I promised earlier this week, I’m going to be spending a lot of time this month talking about my least favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day.
I think one of the reasons I dislike it so much is because it seems so completely one-sided: it’s all about getting the girl.
It’s so patriarchal, no? Get a girl flowers, get a girl diamonds, get a girl presents and men will get what they really want.
The modern American construct of Valentine’s Day just supports the idea that women are machines you put kindness and gifts into until sex falls out.
Personally, I like the idea of a romantic day where all partners (straight or GLBTQ, monogamous or poly, or whatever you are on the spectrum) feel adored and appreciated.
But Google “Valentine Presents for Him” and you’re left with a few options: etsy sellers who seem to think that all presents for men should be beer or bullet themed, or an old article from Cosmo saying that all he really does want is lovin’ and that’s all there is to it.
I polled my actual, personal male friends to find out what they wanted for Valentine’s Day. And here’s what I found out!
- A handmade Valentine. My friend’s wife drew him a Valentine and wrote him a nice, long love letter. Simple, inexpensive, but thoughtful
- A piece of luxury. Personally, I know that my BF loves nice sweaters (and I also think he looks rather handsome in them). If you couldn’t go all-out for Christmas, now is a time to get them something luxurious, like this Rag & Bone cardigan, on sale now for $197
- Art. Granted this poster from etsy ($16, smallglow) isn’t fine art, but it is cute, lovely, and makes a nice gift for a home or office
- Romantic ambiance. Chances are, you’re going to be spending some time smooching, so you might as well set some sort of mood with candles or flowers. Try the feu de bois candle from diptyque ($32 for 2.4 oz) which smells like a roaring wood fire
- Something funny. A few of my friends said their SO got them something that reminded them of an inside joke. If you don’t have any yet, start one with a cute and funny Valentine ($4, ANABdesign)
- Sweets. Chocolates and baked goods aren’t just for getting into your pants. You can order French macaron cookies from ‘lette online (12 for $23)
- Undies. And I don’t mean “male lingerie” which always looks stupider than you think it’s going to. Just good old-fashioned undies (supima cotton boxer briefs, $6.50/pair, Uniqlo)
- Experiences. I think dudes have definitely been conditioned to appreciate experiences more than presents, so what about a nice weekend away, or even a staycation? But you can also surprise him with some nice new luggage (black leather duffel bag, $400, Rimini)