A gentleman’s guide to Valentine’s Day gift giving

We’re in for a month of romance, folks. This February brings us Valentine’s Day and Leap Year Day to boot.

As difficult as it may be to believe I am not, nor have I ever been, a Romeo. I do, however, have nearly 60 years of experience in this game and I would like to share what I have learned about romantic gift-giving.

Just keep in mind that I have experienced failure.

VALENTINE CARD: A carefully selected Valentine card is the first and most important component of a gentleman’s gift -giving plan. Most gals prefer a sensitive card but if you never say anything sweet or sensitive at home be careful not to overdo it with a card. She may think you have ulterior motives. On the other hand, a card with too much humor may make her doubt your love. Humor with any reference to the body’s gastro-intestinal tract is strictly a no-no for a Valentine card.

FLOWERS: For the biggest bang for your buck, buy your lady flowers. The general rule for keeping your lady happy with flowers is “the-more-the-better.” Though roses always pay the biggest dividends most any flowers, properly arranged, will be appreciated. You can enhance your effort by having the flowers delivered to your sweetheart’s place of employment. Women, I have observed, seem to enjoy having their female co-workers envy their floral gifts.

CANDY: Chocolates nicely arranged in a box always score more points than a bag of lemon drops pulled from a rack at a gas station. Many stores sell such boxed candy already gift-wrapped, saving you the frustration of trying to fold and tape those stupid little corners of wrapping paper. And to show how much class you really have, let her make the first selection when she opens the box.

CLOTHING: Buying clothing for your sweetheart is risky but, properly done, can pay big dividends. At nicer stores, a sales clerk will help you pick out something attractive and will usually package it in an expensive-looking box. (Warning: don’t buy something at a discount store and put it in a box from an expensive dress shop. While most of us guys wouldn’t know the difference, women do.) Now this is important: when buying sweaters, buy too large; when buying slacks or skirts, buy too small. She will appreciate your excellent perception even when she exchanges it for something that fits correctly.

JEWELRY: For truly potent gift -giving, give jewelry. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and pearls aren’t far behind. For most women, jewelry items should be limited to those appropriate for the hand, wrist, neck or ears. Caution: avoid jewelry with images of pheasants, ducks, dogs, fish, guns or trucks.

FRAGRANCES: Of all gift items, fragrances can be the most difficult to buy. If you test samples on yourself, your wife or girlfriend will wonder who you’ve been with. If the sales clerk sprays samples on her own wrist her body chemistry may alter the scent. My advice: just sniff the bottles as you would aftershave and pick the one you’d most like your honey to smell like (not including the scent of WD-40.)

KNICK-KNACKS: Though your sweetheart may complain about her frequent dusting chores she will always welcome another cute little thing to sit around the house and collect dust.

A salesperson at finer gift stores will help you select a knick-knack she’ll adore.

DINING OUT: A nice meal will serve as the crown jewel of your romantic gift-giving plan. Remember, romantic dining should feature unstained menus and non-disposable tableware. Cloth napkins are a nice touch. This is not the time to take advantage of a rocky mountain oyster feed at the local bar. Caution: even if she could be Miss America’s twin, don’t comment on the waitress’ good looks.

Though it is possible to find a Valentine gift at the big box lumber store or at a sporting goods store, be bold and expand your shopping horizons.

Guys, Valentine’s Day is a golden opportunity to make amends for the times we may not have been as chivalrous or sensitive as we should have been. Good luck!

Arvid Huisman can be contacted at huismaniowa@gmail.com. ©2024 by Huisman Communications.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $3.46/week.

Subscribe Today