There’s this perception out there that guys have it easy on Valentine’s Day. That somehow, all you have to do is buy some flowers and a box of Godiva chocolate truffles and you’re good to go for the next 364 days. While flowers and chocolates are nice, it’s a gift more played out than Gangnam Style.
You sir, are a custom suit sporting badass who knows the difference between a pocket square and a handkerchief. So while your single, man-cave dwelling buddies will tell you that Valentine’s Day is a holiday made up by Hallmark to sell greeting cards, you are going to be armed with the knowledge that it is actually the second most celebrated holiday in the world and has been associated with the ideals of love and romance since Geoffrey Chaucer walked the earth (all true btw!). Point is, many lovely ladies believe that V-Day is special. And that, pretty much settles the debate.
Some guys have already planned their V-Day dates / gifts months ago. Other guys probably didn’t have a say in the matter and already have a 3-page itinerary laid out for them. Since you’re not in either camp, we’ve put together a guide on what you can do for that special lady in your life. V-Day might not be the time to break the bank (unless your bank can handle some rib shots)…but this isn’t the season to play Scrooge either. So whether she’s a keeper or you’re “just dating”, our list is broken down by budget and relationship status, so you can decide what’s best for you. Without further ado:
1. Food & Drinks
If you’re a foodie, chances are you’ve gravitated towards a sig other who’s also a lover of all things epicurean. The trick here is to do something you don’t do every day. You two go out to eat in your ‘hood on the reg? Take her some place on the other side of town. Or better yet, cook her a romantic dinner she can Instagram the hell out of (and make her friends jealous). If, on the other hand, you’re a regular pair of gourmet chefs, then give yourselves a break and make reservations at the closest Michelin-starred joint. This meal is best paired with wine and something else from the list below. Here are our suggestions:
- Play chef with a home-cooked 3-course dinner. And assuming the night’s a success, surprise her with the best breakfast in bed she’s ever had. $ | ♥♥♥
- Go on a food marathon like this one done by Tim Ferris and knock out all the eats you and your lady have been meaning to try in a single day. Not for the gastronomically weak or the faint of stomach. $$$ | ♥(♥)
- Winemaking class – You’ve probably heard of wine tasting classes, but “winemaking”? City Winery (NYC, Chicago) offers winemaking sessions where you get to create your own blend then drink it to some live music. $$($) | ♥♥
- Take her to a secret cocktail bar - 2nd Floor on Clinton $$ | ♥♥(♥)
- Per Se – Why not let the world’s best do the cooking? $$$$ | ♥♥♥(♥)
Yes, we know. “Been there, done that.” Right? Nope. Not even close. Try “been there, done that…now do it again…and again.” This one’s tried and true for a reason. We’ve polled all of the women we know including our girlfriends, sisters, co-workers and even asked a few randoms at the bar; for almost all, jewelry made their top 5 list. Apparently, it’s not just a lump of precious metal; it’s more like a magical item imbued with powers of sentimentality that just happens to be made of precious metal.
- Giles and Brother Railroad Spike Cuff w/ engraving - Send her a message (get her initials right). $ | ♥♥♥
- Tiffany Twist Knot Pendant Necklace – The almost fail-proof Tiffany’s blue box is all she needs to see. $$ | ♥♥
- “Mine” Phillip Crangi Studded Bangle – Not one for the subtle. $$$ | ♥♥♥(♥)
- Eva Fehren Champagne Diamond Wrap Claw Ring - Just thought we’d throw this in here in case Mark Zuckerberg was reading. $$$$ | ♥♥♥♥
- Tip: Make it a game. Open up a Pinterest account and ask her to pin a dozen or so of her favorite pieces of jewelry. Tell her it’s for a friend who needs some female input on a gift purchase. Even if she suspects something, she’ll play along.
3. The Spa:
Yes, a professional masseuse can probably give a better massage than you, but your sig other might appreciate it more if you tried your hand at it. Don’t know how to give a proper massage? Google / Youtube it. Buy some candles, some scented body oils and set up your bed nicely. Too much effort? You can always just spoil her with a trip to the spa that will have her feeling rejuvenated and cleansed and ready to get down and dirty again. Happy ending? We think so.
- Gift cert for a mani-pedi for her and her best friend – She’ll have a blast and you’ll win some best friend points. Meanwhile, you can reap the rewards remotely while enjoying an afternoon of college basketball games. $ | ♥
- Deep tissue couples massage – Because you’re feeling a little stiff yourself these days. $$ | ♥♥(♥)
- Home massage – Take things into your own hands. Think of it as a prelude to a night with bigger things in store. $ | ♥♥♥(♥)
- Vdara Spa, Las Vegas, NV- Go for the pros. $$$$ | ♥♥♥♥
- One year massage membership - Instead of splurging on that one-time dinner that she’ll probably forget, give her something with a little more mileage that will remind her how awesome you are every month for 12 months straight. $$$$ | ♥♥♥♥
4. Weekend Getaway:
As much as your sweetheart has loved the bling bling thing for the past ten years, perhaps it’s time to think outside the Tiffany’s box. Or country. Plan ahead and give yourself an excuse to enjoy some R&R as well. Cliché or not, we are 100% certain that your girl would be floored by a surprise trip on V-day to the secret Mayan cave pool pictured above. A warmer and more affordable trip to the Caribbean (it’s pronounced Ha-wai-i for you folks on the west coast) will probably work just as well.
- Hershey’s Park - So she likes chocolate? What’s that about chocolate being an aphrodisiac? Why give her just a box when you can take her to the source–an entire amusement park dedicated to all things chocolate. – $$ | ♥(♥)
- The Big Apple – The best restaurants in the world, world-class spas, Broadway musicals starring Julie Andrews. These are a few of her favorite things… $$$($) | ♥♥(♥)
- Lake Tahoe (or Poconos, PA) - Cabin. Fireplace. Slopes. Hot tub. $$($) | ♥♥♥(♥)
- Montreal, Quebec – Channel a little France, stay in North America. $$($) | ♥♥♥(♥)
- Hidden Cave Pool, (Cenote Ik-Kil) - You know those exotic, “most amazing places on earth” you find yourself perusing on a random Monday afternoon? Take her to one. $$$($) | ♥♥♥♥
5. Shows / Concerts / Music:
The great thing about a taking your lady to a show is that you can sit back and enjoy the show as your girl gets emotionally juiced by her favorite act. You can reap the benefits later.
- $25 iTunes Gift Card – Warning: This gift may backfire. Then again, that might be your intention. $ | ♥
- The Philharmonic (or other forms of live music) - Find out what kind of tunes she’s into. $$($) | ♥♥(♥)
- Cirque du Soleil – Contortionists + Mood music + Weird clowns = Fun. $$$ | ♥♥(♥)
- Broadway musical – Great vocals + Live score + Orchestra seats = Fun. $$$ | ♥♥(♥)
- Coachella - Don’t know what she likes? Just surprise her with tickets to one of the greatest live music festivals ever. $$$($) | ♥♥♥♥
- VIP seating to a concert with her all-time favorite artist, Beyoncé. $$$$ | ♥♥♥♥
There you have it. Now you have no excuse to not do better than last minute roses at the corner florist this year. Simply choose one (or more) of the above, put on your custom suit and remind her why she’s the lucky one.
Think we missed something? or have a better gift idea? Share in the comments below!
Image Credits: GQ / Terry Richardson