February 10, 2013

Gifts to avoid on Valentine's Day


---- — Another Valentine’s Day is almost here and gentlemen, I urge you to be very careful.

We as men, of course, would not be apoplectic if our significant others forgot to honor this one special day — our undying love and devotion is, after all, spread equally among the year’s 365 days.

Unfortunately, it is my thoroughly sexist view that the ladies in our lives judge us unevenly based on our behavior on certain special occasions.

Forgetting Valentine’s Day altogether can be a deal breaker. Observing it improperly, however, can be similarly damaging.

Personally, I have tried a variety of different strategies. Gifts big and small; expensive and thrifty; lovingly handmade and bought from the trunk of a guy in the mall parking lot. Invariably I have failed, by every measure except for the widely debunked “it’s the thought that counts” grading scale.

It would be disingenuous for me to suggest what you should get your loved one as a Valentine’s gift. I clearly don’t know. What I can suggest, with complete confidence, is what you should NOT give the love of your life this Thursday.

Do not write your love a poem, pulled straight from your heart. Have you ever seen your wife sit down with a book of poetry? No. Because no one publishes books of poetry anymore, since no one reads poetry, not even poetry written by professional poets — which you most certainly are not. Your amateurish attempts to rhyme “roses are red” with “hair on your thighs” will not tickle her emotions.

Do not give your love surplus Christmas candy. Yes, I know the box is red and it was on sale, but if it’s in the shape of a reindeer, she is going to notice.

Do not give your love sexy underwear for yourself. Your wife already has to see you naked. A man-sized jungle thong is just going to make it worse.

Do not give your love sexy underwear for her. This is really just for you, and she knows it.

Do not give your love a copy of the mixtape that you gave to your high-school girlfriend on prom night. Yes, yes, I know there’s timeless meaning in the words of Air Supply. Sure, that Journey magic has worked before. Just don’t do it.

Do not give your love sugar-free chocolate. Instead, why don’t you just give her a card saying “Honey, don’t you think it’s about time you started that diet?” Hey, why not toss in a gym membership and a Thighmaster?

Do not give your love a kitten. Yes, I’m sure it’s very cute and she really wanted one … and soon, she will love it more than she loves you.

Do not give your love a baby. I suspect that the birth rate on Nov. 14 every year is significantly higher than on other days. Please be careful.

Do not give your love a box of wine. A tasteful bottle of a good vintage might not be a bad idea. A whole box says you think she’s a lush.

Do not give your love a buy-one-get-one-free taco. Not even if you give her both tacos.

Do not give your love a single black rose. A single red rose can be considered romantic (or on Valentine’s Day, cheap). A pink rose is OK; a white rose is fine; a yellow rose might be best saved for your mom or your sister. A black rose means “I better get a restraining order.”

Do not give your love a handmade card. Going to the trouble of making your own card with a crayon and paste just says you couldn’t go to the trouble of stopping at a store for a real card.

Do not give your love an appliance. I know, I know, the new microwave has 47,000 watts and can reheat a pizza in 1.4 seconds. This, however, is not a practical holiday. Trust me.

Do not give your love cash. Best case, it tells her that you have no idea who she is and what she likes. Worst case, she screams that she is “not some kind of cheap trollop you can just buy.” I realize that you as a man would gladly accept cash over almost any other potential Valentine’s gift. That is irrelevant.

I’d like to wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to all, especially to my beloved wife. Sorry dear. Again.

Email Steve Ouellette: