Being a woman, I was curious what men actually want for Valentine’s Day, since early in our relationship I struggled to get my husband any kind of gift, for any holiday or occasion. Because this particular holiday is traditionally considered more for the woman, I wondered if men had preferences about what their wives or girlfriends get them, if there’s anything they really hate receiving or if they even cared at all. So I interviewed a handful of men and here’s what they had to say on the subject:
“Really, I don’t want or need a “romantic” gift for Valentine’s Day. Either get me something I want and can use…or get lingerie or something fun. Valentine’s Day is so geared toward women and I have no problem playing along. However, that stuff doesn’t do it for me. I can’t even tell you what gifts I’ve gotten recently because a sappy card and some cheesy gift doesn’t work here. Silk boxers are the worst though. Zero usefulness there. Best gift? We went to a hotel and had sex and slept in!”
Takeaway: Skip the cheesy, gimmicky romance stuff and just arrange for a babysitter so you can bump uglies and sleep past 6:30 AM. Bonus points if you hit up Victoria’s Secret beforehand.
“I’m not real big on tangible gifts. For some reason accepting gifts is weird for me. Like, I’m a grown ass man, if I want something I’ll go buy it. But my absolute favorite gifts are things my wife gets for me that we can do together and both enjoy. A pair of concert tickets, a hotel room for a weekend away, dinner reservations at a nice restaurant. Those gifts are the best because we get to share them with each other.”
-Adam (my husband)
Takeaway: He’s not expecting you to buy him some elaborate gift for Valentine’s Day, so save your time and put your money toward something you can do together. For the past few years, we’ve nixed the gifts and done a somewhat fancy dinner out, someplace we haven’t tried before where we can get a little bit dressed up and feel like we’re on a real date (which beats the hell out of eating spaghetti over the kitchen counter.) Last year, since I was 10 days away from giving birth and in no mood to go out, we did an indoor picnic with summer-themed foods (homemade potato salad, chicken Caprese paninis and chocolate-dipped strawberries.) Every year, we’ve had fun just enjoying each other’s company without the inflated expectation of gifts on either end.
“I’m an adult, with an income, and access to the Internet. I have the ability to research, and select the exact item, and version of that item that I want, and 9 times out of 10, I can buy it for myself, when I want it. So, to be blunt, please don’t bother trying to read my mind and get me a watered down version of something that you think I might like. There is no need for surprise gifts that I have to pretend to like. Let’s have a conversation about it, or at least look at my Amazon wishlist. The only welcome surprise that would be nice is if I got the gift I wanted on a random Tuesday instead of a Hallmark holiday. Let’s buy each other the gifts we want, when we want them, not on consumerism’s stopwatch. If you really want to give me a gift on those calendar days that have fine print on them, write me a nice note on a sheet of paper, and seal it with BJ, and don’t act like a hero before during or after.”
Takeaway: Ask him directly what he wants, then buy it. Not something like it or something that relates to it that you think seems cooler, just buy the damn thing. Add in a card with a genuine, heartfelt sentiment (you really suck at remembering to take the trash out, but I like you anyway) and a blowjob (not a half-assed one either) and you’re golden. Feel free to ask for exactly the same treatment. Don’t wait for him to read your mind about what you want because 98% of the time, he’s not registering your oh-so-subtle clues. Ask for what you want very specifically (yes, the sexual favors work both ways) and you’ll be happily rewarded.
“Some of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten have been tied to my sports allegiances. So, hockey jersey, Red Sox tickets, etc. Plus if they are tickets (usually a pair) then it also works as a sort of date night for the two of us, which is mutually beneficial.
I also got a belt once, so yeah…go with tickets.”
Takeaway: Buy a pair of tickets to a sporting event your significant other will like and you’ll at least be able to tolerate (most of them serve alcoholic beverages, so that’s always a plus.) You’ll get to spend some time together and you’ll know you got him something he really wanted. Even if you’re not a huge fan of watching sports on TV, it really is much more enjoyable to see a game live, so chances are you, you’ll both have a great time.
“I like to think Valentine’s Day is more for the female than the male, so usually I’m stressing over what to do. Not to mention, we don’t tend to do much for it since we consider every day Valentine’s day (haha). But seriously, I think we just value spending the day together to do one thing special like a nice dinner or movie with unhealthy food. That is enough these days.”
Takeaway: When you have kids, it’s enough to just spend time alone together. Get a greasy pizza and eat it on the floor while you watch a movie after the kids are in bed. Even better if you can ship them off for the night to grandma and grandpa. If you both prefer low-key, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a nice, romantic night together: keep it simple and you’ll both be happy.
“My favorite presents to get are experiences that we can do, like going to a show, cooking class, or event, etc. Also, sometimes she gets me nice things that I’d never get myself (GoPro, for example), which is always fun.”
Takeaway: Believe it or not, your significant other actually wants to spend time with you. Getting him something covered in chocolate or a tacky stuffed bear really pales in comparison to a day/night out doing something you both enjoy. Of course, don’t get him a cooking class if you know he’ll absolutely hate it, but you can definitely find something you’d both really like, even if you’ve never tried it before. Think wine tasting, local comedy show, couples massage…the list goes on, depending on what you and your man are into. Hit up Groupon or Amazon Local for ideas and discounts on things happening in your area.
Bottom Line: Men are very aware that this is a woman’s (Hallmark) holiday. They are totally fine with skipping the gifts for them altogether and spoiling you instead. If you can’t get past the idea of not getting your significant other a gift in exchange, go for something simple that you can enjoy together: dinner out (or in), tickets or reservations for an event, class, hotel stay, etc., or the old standby, sex and/or lingerie. When in doubt, just avoid the silk boxers and stuffed “I Love You” bear and you should be golden.
What’s the best Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever given and/or received?