Singles and Dating

A Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Idiots and Other Men

Valgiftguide I used to write for a friend's web magazine, Clark Schpiell Productions. This was published there on February 9, 2004. Other than a dated reference to Britney Spears, this list has withstood the test of time.

Let me start of by saying that I am intentionally being sexist with this list and it is because I think my husband may read this before Valentine's Day. Therefore, this guide is specifically aimed at men who need to give gifts to women. Women who need to give gifts to women should know what women want. All men want the same gift -- a blow-job -- so that's easy enough.

I am not even going to cover why Valentine's Day is such a commercial holiday, the true meaning of which is completely lost in modern times, buried under hearts and flowers and candy and all things pink and red. I am not going to cover it, because that's just the way it is, so suck it up.

First, you need to understand women a little bit better. Here are few key things that you need to know before contemplating a purchase.
   1. Women are liars
   2. Women are manipulative
   3. Women like presents

Don't even think that all three of those things don't apply to your woman, because they do. It is universal. Why is this important? It is important because you may have heard your woman say one of the following things:

      "You don't need to get me flowers. They just die anyway and are a waste of money."
      "I don't need anything fancy as long as we are together."
      "I don't like big diamonds. I think they are gaudy."

Lies. All lies. Women like flowers. Even the ones who say they don't like flowers turn to mush when they get that unexpected call from the receptionist telling them that they have a delivery. As for diamonds, really big diamonds are gaudy. However, since you are reading this guide, I am guessing your diamond budget is not the same as, say, Brad Pitt's. You should likely get the biggest one you can afford. More on that later.

Women are manipulative. You might not think your woman is, but that just means that she is likely very good at it. If you really still have no idea what to get her for Valentine's Day, you are probably a moron, and I am not just being mean. She has given you a dozen clues in the last week alone. Did she drag you to the mall at any point in the last month? I bet she took you to at least three stores, each containing at least one item that would make an excellent gift, which, I am sure, she pointed out to you. Retrace your steps and ask for help along the way. She may have enlisted the help of friends and family in the unlikely instance that you would think to call any of them seeking assistance. Does she have a sister, a best friend, a mother? I guarantee that one or all of them can tell you what your woman would like for Valentine's Day.

Women like presents. Oh, yes we do. If you haven't come up with anything yet, just hold on, we are getting to the good part. I will give you some easy-to-follow instructions. If you start to get nervous, thinking you can't do this on your own, just print this out and take it with you.

The Idiot-Proof Guide to Valentine Day Gifts for Women

  1. Flowers. This one is not optional. You must get your woman flowers for Valentine's Day. The best way to do this is to order flowers to be delivered to her at work. Because Valentine's Day is on a Saturday this year, you should have them sent on Friday instead. [In 2011, it is on Monday. Have them delivered on Monday, or die. - Ed.] Flowers are almost meaningless if a woman can't brag about them to other women. I said almost. If you fail to have flowers delivered to her at work, you absolutely must not forget to bring some home with you.
  2. Lingerie. This is the perfect gift for hookers, whores and assorted tramps. Most women, however, prefer to buy this on their own.
  3. Diamonds. Like I said, you ain't no Brad Pitt. If you are getting her a ring, try to get as close to one carat as you can afford. Platinum is the way to go for settings these days, but get white gold if you can't afford it. Going for earrings? One carat total weight is the minimum, two carats total weight is the maximum. Round diamonds look bigger. Don't bother with a platinum setting for earrings. Use the extra dough to get better quality diamonds. I can't go into quality here; that would take all day. In Southern California, Robbins Brothers is used to helping out hapless victims of consumerism like you. Don't let their extremely annoying commercials put you off. They will steer you in the right direction.
  4. Other Jewelry. I am talking about anything that isn't a diamond ring or diamond earrings. I think you should stay away from this category. Again, I am not trying to be mean, but you are an idiot. Only men with very good taste should venture into this territory and they don't need help from me.
  5. Kittens. If you are dating a teenager or Britney Spears, this is an appropriate gift. Live and/or stuffed are allowable.
  6. Weekend Getaway. I am sure that your woman has mentioned, on more than one occasion in your relationship, some nice places to go for a weekend trip. Pay attention already! Christ. Destination, in this case, is secondary. The primary thing that is going to score you points with a gift like this is the fact that you planned it all on your own. That means you have to take care of transportation, lodging and even some things to do while there. Although it is preferable to spend the actual weekend of Valentine's Day on the getaway, it may be too late for that. Presenting her with a brochure, or something similar, detailing what you have already booked and planned is almost as good.
  7. Candy. This is crap. If I find out that I put all this time into writing this guide and you read it and still went out and bought your woman one of those disgusting heart-shaped boxes of candy, I will find you and beat you about the head with a blunt object.
  8. Poetry. Seriously, have you not been paying attention to a single thing? Women like presents. I am sure you mean it to be all heartfelt and shit, but it probably sucks.
  9. Date. I hesitate to add this one to the list because it can go horribly awry. If you have it in you to plan a super fabulous date (and I am not talking miniature golf here) then, by all means, do it, but this has to be more fun than anything else you have done with your woman all year. Think over-the-top, like sky-diving, a cruise on a private yacht, heckling celebrities on the red carpet. I can't really help you out with more ideas because I am not all that fun, just mean.
  10. Spa. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a gift certificate to a spa. You likely have no idea what makes a good spa, so ask women you know. Stay away from anything that has "salon and day spa" in the title. Those are just hair salons with extra rooms. The best combos that are reasonably affordable are a facial and a massage, or a facial and a salt or sugar scrub. Two treatments is a perfect amount. Anything more and you risk picking something that she might not enjoy, like a seaweed wrap or a plantain pummel. For those in Southern California, Burke-Williams is your best option.

Good luck, muchachos!


Online Dating

Joanne asks:

I've communicated a couple times with a guy from a dating site but he never asks me any questions about myself. Is that a bad sign?

The phrase "online dating" is a misnomer. It should be called "online meeting." You meet someone online, you exchange emails or IMs or phone calls and then you meet in person and start dating.

I don't think it is necessarily a bad sign that he hasn't asked you much about yourself via email. Meeting someone for the first time can be awkward whether it is in person or online. It is almost cliche to put "excellent written communication skills" on your resume, but written communication is a skill entirely separate from verbal communication. Maybe your guy is not a great communicator in writing, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't make a great boyfriend.

I think that since you have exchanged a few emails, you should meet in person as soon as possible. Don't let the online conversations get too involved before you meet. Reserve your judgment of him until then.


A Way Out of Spinsterhood

Joanne asks:

In your opinion, what is the one thing a gal can do to help her out of her spinsterhood?

Honestly, I think the easiest way to get out of spinsterhood is to become more attractive. It sucks, but it's true. If you are single, particularly if you are single and over 30, your pool of potential mates is diminishing exponentially with each year that passes. It's simple math. You find potential mates by dating. Attractive people get more dates than unattractive people and, therefore, have a greater chance of finding future mates.

Of course you want someone who will love you for who you are on the inside, regardless of what you look like on the outside, but it is easier to reel them in and keep them around long enough to see the inside if the outside is easy on the eyes.

I suggest you do what I did. Lose weight, wear make-up, style your hair every day, meet a good man using online personals, fall in love, gain the weight back*, live happily ever after.

Second Opinion

You don't need to consult someone else for a second opinion - I have those, too. You should let your friends set you up on blind dates more. You should get friends who will be good at this.

*Gaining the weight back is an optional step.