If you’ll allow me to speak in sweeping generalizations for a moment, guys don’t give a shit about Valentine’s Day.
They don’t! The holidays just wrapped; who knows when your birthday is; and, oh crap, did he remember to write down your anniversary somewhere? There’s just too many culturally-appointed gift exchanges.
Some women don’t care about Valentine’s Day, either, but consider us suckers for an excuse to celebrate l-o-o-o-o-o-v-e (and also, maybe, to show off our superior and endlessly thoughtful gift-giving skills. See: Knope, Leslie and Wyatt, Ben).
The point is: if you’re coupled up, there’s probably gonna be presents. And if you want to nail your Valentine’s Day present to your husband, boyfriend, or partner this year, think functional — not romantic.
Sure, he might like a sterling silver bracelet with a lyric from “your” song inscribed on it, but…probably not. But that’s not to say women have to fall back on utilitarian, boringly masculine gifts like whiskey stones and power drills! The best gifts are stylish and functional.
My friend and her boyfriend have been playing this interactive murder mystery game for the last three months, and I’ve gotta say, it sounds SO fun. Over six “episodes,” delivered as monthly subscription boxes, you investigate a murder with the help of documents, letters, and more that reveal details that will help you solve the case. Think: police reports, surveillance images, audio files, and photos of the main suspects. The couple that solves crimes together...stays together?
If it’s early days of a relationship, giving a guy a plant is the adult equivalent of your high school home ec teacher’s bag of flour baby assignment.If he can keep a ZZ or monstera alive, he might be a good person to have children with?
And yes, I realize that the bar is low, but if it’s early days, you don’t want to risk the safety of a gifted guinea pig quite yet (also, who would give someone a live pet as a gift?! That’s just weird).
Long-time love you know will kill it but needs some green in his life? No sweat, just go faux.
What is it about guys and EDC (“Everyday Carry” for the uninitiated)? The un-famous equivalent of Us Weekly’s “What’s In My Bag?” feature, it seems like men just...love talking about the stuff they carry around.
Massage Envy and Hand & Stone are both national chains, and less “spa-y” (a very real term I definitely didn’t just override autocorrect to keep as is) than local spots that serve cucumber water and pipe Tibetan chants into treatment rooms. Guys can feel like they’re simply there to work out some old sports injury kinks, not indulge in “me time.”
Drybar’s founders also recently launched Squeeze, which looks quite cool and millennial-friendly, but that’s only in LA right now (though, if they have half the success of their blowout bar chain, there’ll be one coming to your city in 3, 2, 1…).
Another experiential self-care gift! It seems like more guys are (finally) taking care of their skin, but have yet to go all-in on getting regular facials with extractions and the whole nine yards. Thankfully, there are more options for un-spa-y options than ever, like Heyday, Glowbar, and others.
If he’s a whiskey lover, he probably has his favorites and you refilling his stockpile isn’t so much a thoughtful gift as it is saving him a run to the liquor store. If he isn’t a whiskey drinker, you’ve just fallen into a terrible cliche of gift-giving conditioned into you from years of gift guides touting whiskey stones as the be all-end all in men’s presents.
Instead, give him a bottle of something new and different he doesn’t know much about. Bonus points for gifting it with the accouterments necessary to mix up a cool new cocktail neither of you has tried before.
Does anyone else think of Sam Seaborne buying his friend who worked as a call girl to put herself through law school a briefcase for her graduation in the first season of The West Wing whenever they consider buying a briefcase as a gift? No? Just me?
Anyway, I thought it was a very thoughtful, practical gift then, and I still think so now! If your s.o. needs a new work bag, do him a solid and buy him one he wouldn’t buy himself this Valentine’s Day.