Valentine’s Day Gifts for Men

Hey, you know what’s gross? Those ads all over TV right now where a guy buys a girl some overpriced rocks on a string or a ring, and she lives happily ever after and cries and stuff because oh my god this is all she ever wanted in life. (And don’t even get us started on the Victoria’s Secret ads implying women are all dying to receive the gift of ludicrous underwear.) Valentine’s Day, at its core, isn’t evil: Great love is hard to find, so we see nothing wrong with celebrating it. We’d rather celebrate it every day without crass commercialism lurking, but whatever … Love is about compromise, so we’re willing to give Valentine’s Day a chance, but only by celebrating love with our partners as equals. Corporations want men to believe women are demanding bitches, and they want women to believe they deserve to be demanding bitches. We say fight the patriarchy by focusing on couplehood — and by giving the good men we love thoughtful tokens of our affection.

A few ideas, which apply equally to heterosexual women wrestling with sexist holiday traditions and queer women who need some inspiration, too:

Draw up a bubble bath — for your partner, or better yet for both of you — after you cook a nice, romantic dinner.

Book a couples massage.

Learn about something your partner loves, whether that’s playing Xbox, visiting art museums, or singing karaoke.

Sign up for a beer-of-the-month or wine-of-the-month club that will give you something to enjoy together year-round.

Hit a sex-toy store and stock up on goodies you can try out together — vibrators, lube, massage oil, restraints, blindfolds, whatever turns you on.

Dedicate a night to staying in bed, exploring each other, and doing all that stuff you usually don’t make time for. You know which stuff.

Tell your partner you love him or her. No one ever gets tired of hearing that.




Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong grew up deep in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, then escaped to New York to live in a succession of very small apartments and write about pop culture. In the process, she became a feminist, a Buddhist, and the singer/guitarist in an amateur rock band. She also spent a decade on staff at Entertainment Weekly, cofounded, and now writes for several publications, including Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest, Fast Company, and New York‘s Vulture. Her history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013; her collaboration with Heather Wood Rudulph, Sexy Feminism, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013. She is the author of the Why? Because We Still Like You, a history of the original Mickey Mouse Club published by Grand Central in 2010. She has provided pop culture commentary for CNN, VH1, A&E, and ABC, and teaches article writing and creative writing. Follow her on Twitter: @jmkarmstrong


  1. Jenna says:

    Those are nice gift ideas. Much, much better than the terrible ideas in the super sexist commercials.

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