shit i bought and liked no. 64: the clueless boyfriend’s guide to valentine’s day
Shitters! We are BACK with another clueless boyfriend’s guide—this time for VALENTINE’S DAY. You might be thinking: It’s January and/or I’m not a (clueless) boyfriend. Doesn’t matter. The phrase gets you guys to open emails, and starting to think about this in January gives you a little more time to be thoughtful than the alternative—remembering that the holiday exists approximately four days before you need a present/dinner reservation.
Let’s start with some nonnegotiables. If you are in any sort of functional romantic relationship, Valentine’s Day should be observed with some kind of sweet action/gesture at the very least. Even if you’ve been married 30 years. Even if you’re a brand new couple that’s nowhere close to tossing L bombs around. Valentine’s Day is a reminder to take a step up and let your partner know that they’re special to you (preferably with gifts).
For the people in new relation/situation-ships contemplating how to acknowledge the day without “doing too much,” I hear you. But if you like someone and you want your relationship to go somewhere, acknowledging the day could help that happen with waaaay less ambiguity (and not doing so could have the complete opposite effect). I like an edible gift in this scenario—a box of chocolates or chocolate covered strawberries, maybe even a few red velvet cupcakes or the new Deux flavor (the packaging has to/from’s like elementary school valentines—code PRIYANKA gets you 20% off your first order). These are all low stakes and relatively inexpensive, but indicate that you were thinking of them and wanted to do something nice, which, in the case of a budding relationship, is a great thing.
Let’s take another step up, shall we. You’re in a real deal relationship where there is zero ambiguity around whether or not Valentine’s Day will be observed—the question is how (a great stage to be in, congrats on the love). Here’s where the gifting options open up based on your budget/shared interest level in observing the holiday. What follows are some fun ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Gifts for the clueless boyfriends & co. to give:
Polaroid cameras: Who doesn’t love Polaroids?! Your millennial partner sure does!!! Pack it up in a cute gift bag and tell them you can’t wait to keep making memories together (aw!). These cameras are so fun (my friend Alex brought hers out for a party last year and it was a real highlight), but the film is definitely pricey, making the starter bundle with film a great gift to get set up with. There is a cheaper option with smaller photos, but I’m a sucker for the original size.
Cozies: Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to give/get a cozy, luxurious gift. Think cashmere sweats (more on this below), ROBES (linking my favorite ones here—plush Turkish cotton, snuggly blanket-style, luxurious silk, or the best-ever soft sweatshirt material), supersoft pajamas (these are my affordable go-to’s, but check out Lunya if you want to splurge), weighted blankets (Bearaby’s are super luxe and beautiful)—you get the idea.
Venus Et Fleur: Duh, duh, duh. The nicest roses out there that last for a year-plus. I already did the legwork for you based on your vibe. Sweet thoughtful guy: Le Mini Round. Guy whose got taste: The Florentina. Guy whose got money: Fleura Vase with Eternity Roses. “Money is no object” Guy: Serene Vase. Money is actually no object Guy: Le Plein. Note: You do not have to be a guy to buy these. Color-wise, if you’re buying for Valentine’s Day, I’d go with classic red, pure white, pearl, rose gold, MAYBE a pink, or burgundy. Try all others at your own risk.
Jewelry: You guys know how I feel about Catbird (see: Clueless Boyfriend’s Guide to Buying Jewelry). Grab a Sweet Nothing Bracelet, consider adding a Tiniest Alphabet Charm—boom, done, a perfect present. I’m trying not to micromanage all my future gifts, but this is such a good one at a very good price!!!!
A waffle iron: This is BACK from last year because I think it’s such a great gift. I’m typically anti any gift that makes your recipient do more work, BUT this is the best waffle iron of all time. If your partner loves a cozy weekend brunch at home, get this and all your fixings of choice and whip them up a SPREAD. This is one of those gifts that everyone benefits from.
DIY Coupons!!! Listen, I write this newsletter—clearly I love shit that comes from stores. But there’s something extra special about a gift you make yourself, and I never stopped thinking these little coupon books/jars of notes are adorable (linking for the visual in case you have no idea what I’m talking about). Because you’re the one making (or printing out) the coupons, you can decide what goes in them, which means everything can be relatively inexpensive if you’re on a budget, or you can add in some big ticket items if you’re not (“field trip to Credo,” anyone???). I love the idea of going high/low with your coupons (and making them yourself—we love an art project!!!). Maybe one or two are pricier (think a massage, a meal somewhere nice, a weekend away to their destination of choice), and others are inexpensive or more time-intensive (you make them breakfast in bed, your turn to vacuum, their pick for movie night, etc). I think I just came up with my dream gift.
A puppy: Never mind, this is my dream gift.
Gifts to give to the clueless boyfriends:
Cashmere: Upgrade their life, get them cashmere!!! I’m obsessed with Naadam’s Recycled Cashmere Hoodie—they make it in women’s sizing too and it’s on supersale at the moment (runs pretty true to size). It’s soft and snuggly, and made in a casual cut that works for lounging or going out and about. If the Naadam sale sells out, Quince also makes a bunch of men’s and women’s cashmere styles. I haven’t tried personally, but my coworker/dedicated shitter EJ raves about the full cashmere sweatsuit (the pinnacle of luxury and an amazing present to give or receive).
A massage from someone who is not you: I love to treat myself to a massage every now and then (especially in the colder months), but I realized that in all the time I’ve known my boyfriend, I’ve never once seen him get one. Not because he’s opposed or anything, I just don’t think the thought has crossed his mind, which sucks because he spends all day at a desk doing lots of stressful shit. Picking up a massage or facial gift certificate for your partner is such a nice way to treat them to some professional TLC. Bonus points if you book the appointment for them and add it to their calendar. If you’re in NYC, Melissa at Rhemedy by Rhed is a gem.
shitstuff: This rec comes from grade-A golf wife Juliet Weiss, who got her (very lucky) husband a pair of these super flattering pants in a chic Iron Blue along with a portable Sonos speaker to bring with him on the golf cart. My household is partial to the Bose Soundlink (I’ve watched this thing entertain an entire backyard of people on its own), but both come highly recommended. Speaking of speakers, you can also go the budget route and pick up something waterproof so they can listen to their podcasts (What A Day on Fridays!!!) in the shower.
Dopp Kit: This kit was part of the gift I gave my boyfriend last year, so as far as ideas go it definitely has my stamp of approval, especially if you’re doing the long distance thing. It’s great quality for the price, comes pretty quickly for something personalized, and is nice and roomy (I went with the XL and added a lil monogram). I added in a few fun toiletries because at the time he was complaining about his hair feeling dry (if you are dating a straight man, take any opportunity to upgrade their life products-wise—they need it). I went for travel-sized options from Aesop, but most lines offer gift sets/travel sizes depending on the types of things they need.
And of course, experiences: I will never say no to a gift-gift (if you’re on TikTok, I am what is known as a “material gworl”), but Valentine’s Day is a great time to splurge on something you can do together (especially after the past couple of years of not being able to do much at all). You can go the traditional sports game/concert tickets route. You can also try wine-tasting, skydiving, surf lessons, a meal somewhere with one of those 20 course tasting menus, a trip to get your auras photographed in Chinatown (I’ve given multiple friends gift certificates to Magic Jewelry—I love that kind of stuff). Between the experience and the ~memories~ it’s like double the present.
There you have it, team. All my best ideas for Valentine’s Day! Believe it or not, with this much prep I STILL haven’t finalized my gift (and haven’t the slightest clue what to wear the night of, though that is definitely a February problem), but I’m giving myself a 48 hour deadline from putting this sentence into the world to get it done. Perhaps a good deadline for all the other procrastinators out there too! If you liked this newsletter (and would like more gift ideas in the future), make sure you’re subscribed at shitiboughtandliked.com. And if you want to drop a hint, forward this email to your partner. Or slide into my DMs with their email address, I’LL forward it to your partner! No more chocolate-less Valentine’s Days!!!!