I’m half-watching the state of the union address. It’s on, but really, I’m searching online for a gift for Phil. With Valentine’s Day, and the envy attached to it, approaching, it means "gifts for him." Though let me first begin by saying women are pretty easy to please. That’s actually bullshit, of course, but it sounds good. And there’s always an overpriced florist to help do the trick. As a general rule, women want romantic gifts, nothing practical, and they want them sent to the office. A retreat at a B&B for you both also works nicely, especially when you’ve gone and packed for her and completely taken her by surprise. Here’s the thing: a MID did this for me once. He completely shocked me one night when he took me to a hotel, where he suggested we’d be meeting his friends. I wasn’t in the mood and fought him on it for a good twenty minutes. But I rallied and when we couldn’t spot his friends at the hotel bar, I gave him that "I fucking told you so, why are you wasting my time?" look. He suggested we look upstairs at the other, smaller, bar at The Paramount Hotel. "There’s also a rooftop bar," he insisted, but once we were in the elevator, he pressed the number 8. We weren’t going to a bar at all. We were going to our room. He’d been there earlier in the day. He’d loaded the DVD player with the original version of Sabrina. He’d gone ahead and packed me a bag, complete with all my hair products, birth control pill, fresh underwear, deodorant; he thought of everything. So I married him. And years later, I wrote a book about him and about how much I hate Valentine’s Day, and, oh, his mother.
The point is, for Valentine’s Day, we want to be treated as if you’re still courting us. You know us better by now, so maybe you’d tailor the fine details, but the effort needs to be there. Planning. We want to remember how it was in the beginning, when you were stumbling over yourself trying to impress us, and Valentine’s Day can help serve as a reminder. Day to day, we’re given small reminders, thankful that you’ll unload the dishwasher or tell us you think we’re beautiful. Valentine’s Day isn’t supposed to serve as a reminder of how much we love you, because we know it every day. It reminds us that we’re loved just as much now.
Roses are cliche , I think, when they’re from your lover. But they’re lovely when sent by your Grandfather or Father. In the years when I didn’t have a Valentine, either my father or grandfather stepped in, sending, or bringing home bouquets. My father brought home flowers for each of us. It’s one of my sweetest memories, knowing how special we all were to him.
And this brings me back to "gifts for him." Now while a woman might be happy with the idea of a treasure hunt, where she arrives home to find he’s purchased the perfect new outfit for her with a note, instructing her to be downstairs in her lobby by 7:30 PM, wondering what the night has in store for her, men aren’t as easy. Okay, men aren’t as hard. What? You get him a sweater and that’s that? Buying yourself new lingerie should certainly count for something, but again, a peekaboo bra really doesn’t fall under the category "for him."
I’ve never had a "him" who fit nicely into any of the "recipients who like…" categories. I’ve never been in a relationship come Valentine’s Day with THE WANNA BE CHEF, THE GADGET MONSTER, THE WINE IDIOT, or THE LUMBERJACK. And, I’m happy to say, I’ve never been with a man who’d consider, say, a scented candle a kick-ass gift. What can you really buy for a guy who’s into golf, aside from more lessons with a pro or a weekend away for a clinic? And nothing says romance more than sending your man away without you. Though it does say selfless, but please, this is Valentine’s Day. There are bubbly letters and cherubs floating around. Now isn’t the time to get selfless. Hmmm, so what does he like? Can I really get him a video game for Valentine’s Day? There’s just something so wrong there. Perhaps a new lens for his camera, certainly thoughtful. Practical. And that’s what men want. They want practical yet thoughtful. I don’t want another kitchen knife or a Bose sounddock for myPod unless you’ve preloaded the pod with a mix filled with songs that make you think of me. Planning, I told you. A scrapbook is always nice, but most men won’t go to the trouble. So this leaves us with some jewels, the right jewels. Because even this you can get wrong. But women… we’re so easy to please.