I ended up reading a Valentine’s Day gift advice article on MSN.com. Mind you, I didn’t read it because I needed any help; I happen to be very good at that sort of thing. Also, Katie isn’t caddy or inherently evil, and she doesn’t set me up to fail be secretly desiring some obscure Mayan artifact that she won’t tell me about and prepare herself for a meltdown come Valentine’s day when she opens… well, something else entirely. (a dead cat, shhhhh) She’s sweet like that.
This article that I read analyzed cliche V-Day gifts and suggested alternatives. There was truth in it, but not all cliches are bad. A woman wrote in saying how she was unfortunate enough to get a bunch of red roses with baby’s breath. To quote her:
Says Kristin, 40, of Lake Geneva, WI, “I was dating a guy who said he adored all my quirks and my adventurous spirit. Then he turned around and gave me a big bunch of roses with the lacy white stuff for Valentine’s. It was embarrassing, because I’m so not the kind of woman you give that to! It made me feel as if he didn’t really know me or get what I was all about.”
Adventurous spirit? It’s Valentine’s Day, and red roses, though cliche at whatever level… should be nice. They aren’t cheap (especially around Valentine’s Day). Should he have gotten her some mountain climbing gear? A sword? A gun? A pirate hat? I think that sometimes even a woman with an “adventurous spirit” might like something like roses. Cliche is usually cliche because it works. It’s classy. And it’s safe, especially for a gentleman that… you are only dating? Kristin is going just a little too far with her dissatisfaction. Also, Kristin- you live in Wisconsin; just be happy you didn’t get hunting gear, cheese, or a dead fish. Or… is that what you ARE all about?
The other thing was that in the entire 10 point article, only 2 vaguely referred to gifts for men. Again, my fiancee has no problems in this department, but I can imagine the letdown when gentlemen receive a tie or something similar for every gift-giving occasion.
9. A tie-What’s wrong with it: “Women actually have a harder time than men shopping at Valentine’s Day, because there are fewer gift options for men than for women,” says Silvestri. “Still, a tie is a big yawn.” It’s amazing how many women complain about generic gifts and then hit the tie aisle for their man. At best, the tie is by a great designer—which the guy likely won’t care about. At worst, it’s a novelty accessory featuring pigs, the Blues Brothers, or some other unwearable shtick. But usually, it’s just “about” the color the guy usually wears, meaning he already owns a dozen of ’em.
A simple solution: Head a little further into the menswear section and pick out a great scarf instead—it’s more casual and therefore more wearable; some fun or extra-soft (cashmere, maybe) socks; or another item that shows a dash more originality.
I think the tie analysis is dead on, but look at the solution. Just look. Buy your guy a great scarf? Fun socks? There are only 2 situations in which I would want to get a scarf.
1. It’s so cold outside that the skin on my neck is freezing and for some reason I am incapable of procuring a scarf
2. The gift giver made me a scarf
The casual scarf should not be mentioned as a generally acceptable Valentine’s gift for men. It’s preposterous. There are 4 main exceptions to this.
1. His family resides in New England family and “has money”
2. Your boyfriend likes to think he’s really artsy and that no one understands his struggle
3. Your boyfriend has part of his under-developed Siamese twin brother growing out of his neck
4. You are a man buying for a man
Fun socks? Fun… socks? I love a good pair of socks, but how DARE this person suggest FUN socks may serve as an acceptable V-Day offering after criticizing roses? If these socks are so much fun that they massage your feet, change color, AND make fart noises every time you step… well, you might be going in the right direction.
Here’s a suggestion- if there’s something specifically not cliche that you want for Valentine’s Day, ask for it. Also, if you have a male counterpart… don’t buy him a scarf unless your relationship falls under the exceptions listed above.