The Anti-Valentine’s Gift Guide

Now, I’d like to start by saying that I don’t really approve of Valentine’s day. There is something mean-spirited about setting only one day aside per annum for romance. Better to spread the love across the year, non? Also, it’s tacky. I mean, so’s Christmas, but at least that doesn’t have a pulsing undercurrent of sexual desperation.

That said, I know that some of you will be obliged to venture into the world of Valentine gifting (that word should never have become a verb), so I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. Nice and early, so that you’ve got plenty of time not to screw it up.

Gentlemen, I’m looking at you.

1. Let’s start with the basics. Flowers. They are nice things. Everybody likes them. Inexplicably, however, only women can discern between those bought in a petrol station and those bought from a proper florist. Guess which kind goes down better? Yup: the ones that require a small amount of foresight on your part. Sorry about that. If by some quirk of fate you are forced to purchase the forecourt variety, pick the carnations out and take them out of the plastic. They will stil look awful.

2. Lingerie. My heart sinks just thinking about it. It IS NOT a compliment to buy your partner size 10 knickers when she’s a size 16. Similarly, a DD bra will not make a B-cup swell with pride. Check the size. Don’t buy anything in a red/black colourway, it’s not nice. Nylon gives us thrush. This is not the moment to introduce us to thongs; trust us, we’ve tried them already and thought better of it. And ladies, can I make a plea against comedy men’s undergarments? Please?

3. Booze. Not Lambrini. In my case, a bottle of Hendrick’s, some ice and a crystal martini glass. I must remember to email this post to Herbert.

4. Restaurants. Hell, no. Any other night of the year except Valentine’s night. There is nothing more dispiriting then sharing a room with a handful of love-lorn waiters and a group of couples who have not ventured out in each other’s company for at least the last twelve months. Stay home (see below).

5. Cooking dinner for your partner is a lovely idea. Keep it simple though, eh? A wily cook will assemble a feast from gorgeous items bought from that chi-chi local deli. An idiot (i.e. Herbert, two years ago) will arrive home with a pair of duck legs in a carrier bag, and then proceed to cook them with a black cloud hanging over his head, shouting whenever his partner enters the kitchen. He was forced to buy me a good dinner the following night by way of apology.

6. It’s cold outside in February. Whatever it is you’re planning, you will die of exposure. Don’t.

7. The card. If you harbour a talent for writing elegant, sincere messages in the damned things, well bully for you. A single question mark is not enigmatic, it’s cheating. You will just have to suck it up and say something sincere. Believe me, I find this every bit as painful as you do.

8. Only attempt breakfast in bed on a weekend. It’s not useful on a Monday morning.

9. If you’re planning on giving a gift that casts aside all that tacky Valentine’s convention and demonstrates your ability to think laterally: consider carefully. No woman is romanced by a Soda Stream (Herbert again). If it has been bought from a garden centre, she probably doesn’t want it. Unless she really, really loves gardening.

10. If your partner complains that you’ve not spent enough on their Valentine’s gift, dump them. Seriously. It will save you trouble in the long run. However, bear in mind that, when you partner shreiks, ‘What the fuck is this?’ on opening her gift, you may have bought the kind of thing mentioned in #9.

11. You shaving off your pubic hair does not count as a Valentine’s gift. Just so you know.

There! I expect outbreaks of marital harmony to flourish across the nation. No, really, don’t thank me.

Win a gorgeous Valentine’s Gift


Just in case you’re really stumped for ideas (or simply fancy a treat), Fair Squared, purveyors of ethical loveliness, have donated two of their fab gift sets in Love (rose) and Sleep (lavender). I have opened the box for a sniff, and they smell wonderful. Each set contains a scented candle, bath soak, soap and body oil, all wrapped up in a stylish box.

For a chance to win one of these, all you have to do is be on our mailing list – click here for the (very short) entry form. Existing list members can just add a comment at the bottom of the page to be entered. I will pick the winner at random, and then contact them via the email address provided, asking for a mailing address. The competition closes on Tuesday 8th February 2011, at 12pm.

Do check out Fair Squared’s website for other lovely treats – such as their Fair Trade condoms.

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14 thoughts on “The Anti-Valentine’s Gift Guide

  1. I would happily boycott every single Hallmark Holiday. I would also boycott Christmas if I could get away with it. Unfortunately the other half feels the exact opposite so a hamper would solve this year’s problem.

    I can never work out why a nice gift for no reason is greeted with glee but a mediocre one on a ‘made up day’ is the cause of stress, grief and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Hell I buy flowers more regularly than all my friends put together.

    Apparently my stance on cards being the biggest waste of time and money ever is universally booed. I have my work cut out for me…

    Number 11 is a prefectly acceptable gift if you ask me.

  2. I hate Valentines Day; I used to be subjected to it in a past relationship – it’s tacky and embarrassing, and I hate the enforced lack of spontaneity. So, at the beginning of my relationship, I told my husband that we don’t “do” Valentines Day – so we don’t. But, every year, he sadly mentions that he’s never received a Valentine, and that now he never will……

  3. Hello dear
    I have tried to sign up but no email has appeared in my email box.
    If you can see my name in your list database, can you possibly let me know what email address I entered incase I made a typo?
    Kavey
    x

  4. Unfortunately, timing never has been my thing and Feb 12th is our anniversary so we have double pressure to do the loved up thing. So, with Cupid yelling in my ear and telling me to play nicely, we’re having a sort of valentines weekend, no kids, no standing in the cold watching them play rugby, nor taking them anywhere else. Just the two of us, going to the gym together, (a swim for me, I’m at that age when I pee myself when I exercise) I’ll cook dinner at home, couldn’t face a tacky Valentines night set meal at the Harvester then we will happily and without any disagreement lovingly choose a film from sky box office. So far so good…. Sex of some kind, then sleep. Will try v hard to be nice to each other all day sunday before going to see We Will Rock You at the Dominion on Monday. I bought the tickets. Not keen myself but he likes Queen. I will have a lovely time. Just as well its only once a year or am I being a tad cynical?

  5. One year I got a new folder from my girlfriend at the time. I had made plans for home cooked dinner, made my own cake and got us tickets to see her favourite singer live and all I got was a folder. Apparently she knew as soon as she saw it that it was for me. I’m not being shallow honest, money is no option but come on is a folder the real way to make the man in your life feel that extra bit special?

  6. Excellent list. I’ve warned my boyfriend that we should not buy each other presents this year. For one, we’re both broke and Christmas was not that far away. Instead we’ll try and make ourselves some kind of a lovely meal at home, so it’s 5 for me!

    The only time I ever gave a bf a present for V day, he tossed it aside as soon as he opened it, so I’ve rather given up since then on making the effort…

  7. A very thorough step by step guide that I’m sure men will find useful though it got me thinking : what about a list for women? I tell you some gifts I’ve received before have been ‘disappointing’ to say the least

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