Note: While the points I’m making here are legitimate, this is meant to partially be humorous. I know that there are plenty of men who are excellent gift-givers and plenty of women who wouldn’t like any of these things I’ve mentioned.
For men, Valentine’s Day seems to be a lot of pressure, especially if you’re romantically involved. American commercialism makes this day out to be one that is completely symbolic of how you feel for that special person, so in other words, no pressure. I know “women are so complicated,” so I’ve noted here some helpful hints for you men on how to impress on Valentine’s Day.
1. Make sure the gift/display of affection you choose is relationship-stage appropriate.
If you’ve only been dating for a month or two, now is probably not the time to bring out the promise ring or Grandma’s antique necklace she wore on her wedding day or anything of the sort. For a relationship that isn’t so serious yet, get something fun and thoughtful. Something as simple as a book she’s been wanting to read or a scarf in her favorite color says, “I’ve been thinking about you” without saying “I’ve been thinking about our eternity together.”
If you’ve been dating for longer, remember that you’ve never been together too long to go back to the basics. Yes, your relationship might be a little past the point of the honeymoon stage, but that doesn’t mean that you suddenly have to start buying each other dish towels and socks (it’s not like you’re an “old married couple”). Women always appreciate the basics: flowers, cutesy cards, those sorts of things. Tailor it of course to the woman in question, but remember that serious relationship doesn’t mean super serious gift. It does mean, however, that you’re probably expected to put in a greater level of thought and consideration than you would for a new relationship. Which brings me to my next point…
2. It really is the thought that counts.
Valentine’s Day, apart from American commercialization of it, is not about gifts at its core; its about love. Thus, women don’t (or at least in my opinion, they shouldn’t) care about the gift itself. It’s more about what the gift symbolizes. This does not mean, of course, that if you are an expert BS’er you can buy your SO a plastic margarita glass from the dollar store and dazzle her with the “symbolic meaning.”
Like anyone else, women appreciate nice things. But just buying her something that “girls like” or something expensive is less important than buying something with real meaning. I’d personally rather get something simple with a really cute and well-thought out meaning than something super-useful. One of my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts received was a calendar of one of my favorite public figures (Michelle Obama), with all of the important dates of our relationship marked on it. It was simple and thoughtful.
3. On that note, cards are always a plus.
To draw from the last point, the thoughts are the most important part of Valentine’s Day. Especially if it’s a longer relationship, we know how you feel. But there is nothing more sweet than being able to read it in a nice card. A store-bought card with a nice note is always a good bet, especially if you’re someone who tends to be less vocal about their emotions. No one writes anything handwritten anymore, so we appreciate the gesture.
4. Unless you have strong evidence otherwise, stay away from suggestive.
We aren’t stupid. We know you weren’t really “thinking of us” when you were picking out that see-through, lacy, something-rather. I mean, you were thinking of us. But not in the way we’d like. Refer to #2; You can’t cover that one up with a good card. I’m being facetious here, but in reality women are pretty sentimental generally about relationships on Valentine’s Day. The last thing we want is to present you with whatever cute thing we obsessed over picking out and to receive something that seems better suited for a stripper than for your girlfriend. Again, assess the situation, but when in doubt, thoughtful wins over suggestive every time.
5. If you’re single, Valentine’s Day might NOT be the time to confess your love to that from-afar crush.
The years may pass, but Valentine’s Day always falls on the same day. The last thing you want is to forever ruin February 14th for yourself by associating it with heartache and rejection. That being said, use discretion when acting upon your romantic feelings on Valentine’s Day. If you’ve been thinging for a while, Valentine’s Day could be the perfect time to make the move and make things more serious. But if it’s a very I’ve-seen-you-every-day-at-Starbucks-and-we’ve-never-talked sort of thing, Valentine’s Day, with its connotation of love, might be too commitment-heavy of a day to make a move toward someone you’ve hardly talked to. Hey, if you’re feeling brave, props to you. Just be careful.
I hope these tips prove helpful. Men, what have you found that works? Women, what are your thoughts? Comment below!