What (not) to gift on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is now just hours away. All the stores are full of roses, musical balloons, cakes and all kinds of reminders that you need to buy a gift, fast.But you are still racking your brains, trying to think of what to buy, and more importantly, what not to buy. For you know from long experience that this is very dangerous territory. One wrong step, and you could land in quicksand. No wonder you are terrified of making a decision.

Fear not, the comprehensive guide to Valentine’s Day gift-buying is here. We will tell you exactly what to buy, and what not to buy.

1. Flowers: We love flowers. They are perfect. But not just any flowers. Did you realize that flowers have meanings? Yes, they do. So when you give us yellow carnations, we wonder if you are looking at us with disdain. Do the yellow chrysanthemums in your bouquet mean you really dislike us?

Perhaps you don’t really mean any of this. Perhaps you are the sort who cannot distinguish between a carnation and a cauliflower. In that case, you should just stick to roses. Not just any rose. Don’t give us yellow roses, they might mean you are jealous. Or white roses they mean so many things we have no idea what you are talking about. A dozen red roses is safest.

But then, red roses are so passe. And hey, flowers are only an accompaniment, they are not a gift! You think you can pass off a dozen measly roses as a V-day gift? Think again.

Pic by cohrda2. Chocolate: We do love chocolate. Some of us love dark chocolate, and some of us don’t. But none of us will like the stuff you get in the grocery store. A bag of Hershey’s Kisses? Was that something you bought along with your bread and potatoes? No, it has to be Swiss Chocolate, or the gourmet stuff. Lindt, Ghirardelli or Neuchatel. Or even fair-trade, organic chocolates – we actually like your concern for cacao beans growers in deepest Africa.

But chocolates are not gifts by themselves. Unless, perhaps, they are gold coated chocolate hearts. (Or the $25,000 Frrrozen Haute Chocolate). Otherwise, they are just accompaniments to the main thing.

3. Perfume: No way. What are you telling us that we smell? Plus, we don’t think too highly of your taste in perfumes anyway. You are very likely to buy something that smells like old leather shoes.

Also, do you have any idea what perfume we like? The men who can instantly name the exact brand we like can only be found in books.

4. Jewelry: We love diamonds, of course. You cannot go wrong with diamond earrings, or pendants. What’s more, diamonds do count as gifts (with or without the roses).

Just make sure though, that they are not “blood diamonds”, have no enclosures and have the right cut, carat, color and clarity. You see, we tend to be just a little bit picky about our diamonds. Don’t buy us the cheap cubic zirconia instead, we will always know the difference. Or that’s what we will tell you.

Whatever you do, never buy those cheesy heart-shaped earrings. Do you really think we would like them, or wear them to work?

5. Stuffed animals: We do like stuffed animals, just as we like flowers. But don’t buy us the $5 stuff you saw at the gas station. And like flowers or chocolate, these are accompaniments, they don’t count as gifts.

6 Gym Membership: Are you telling us we look fat? This gift is obviously the biggest mistake you can make.

7. Appliances: No, we do not want a vacuum cleaner for V-day. What do you think we are – maids?

We also do not want crock pots, cutlery or coffee machines. Or anything that even remotely reminds us of work. These vie with the gym membership for the “worst possible gift” idea.

8. A box of CDs: This may even count as a gift (suitably accompanied by roses and stuffed animals, of course). But make sure you know our taste in music well. Or else you could go horribly wrong.

If we dislike the music, we will still use those CDs – as coasters for your coffee mug.

9. A spa membership/ gift card: You can never go wrong with this one. We love going to the spa, we wish we could go every weekend. Do remember the red roses though.

10. Books: Like CDs, if you know which authors we like, and you know we have not read the book twenty times already, you can buy us books. Hard cover, mind you. Or you can buy us first editions of classics, we will not object.

11. Handbags, clothes or shoes: This is really dangerous territory. Do you have any idea what we like in bags or dresses? Most of the time, we ourselves don’t. We will only know what is “perfect” when we see it. But when we see it in your hands, we will most likely dislike it. So don’t even think of buying us any of these things. And no, a Saks gift card is just not a gift.

Okay, now that you know exactly what to buy, we suggest you head to the store right now. The last thing you want to end up buying us is a greeting card that says “Sorry, I forgot”.

There is no way you can get away with that one.

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31 thoughts on “What (not) to gift on Valentine’s Day

  1. That was a very informative post. Hope the DG (designated gifter) didn’t have to read it and learn from it.

    Lol @ the NYT frozen dessert. First time I’ve heard of a mushroom being part of a dessert. Too bad they didn’t come up with this idea last year – can’t imagine too many Wall Streeties being willing to part with that kind of green this year, what with the bad bonuses and all. Couple of questions though – what is the diner supposed to do with the 5g of gold that is mixed in? Do an MGR and ingest it for a fairer complexion? And would the Indian guy that presents this dessert to his valentine then be confronted with this tearful question, “Oh, you think I am dark!”

  2. What’s even worse than perfume…deos!!

    And what’s worse than not giving a gift at all…asking a girl friend to find something suitable to gift your fiancee; the two girls never having met!!

  3. tabula rasa: You can’t say you were not warned 😉 I can hope, right?

    BPSK: I wonder too, what the diner would do with all the gold. Would anyone actually eat anything that’s worth $25000 ? 😮

    Vinod: That perfectly captures R’s sentiments, I am sure 😛

    gooddaysunshine: If deodorants come in aerosol cans, they must be perfumes, right ? 😉

  4. What about lottery tickets? I can’t think of a better gift than that. I mean $1 of the cost goes to the Somalian Coffee Growers Association and it shows we want big things for you, which can’t be said of roses, stuffed animals (Maneka Gandhi might have a problem with this one) or even jewelry. It also shows that we are optimists and you should be happy that you ended up with us.

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  6. km: I watched an old episode of Star Trek sometime back, and was amazed at how (can I say) primitive the production quality was, even compared to later versions like Voyager. The costumes were hilarious. Am I committing blasphemy here?

    Nandita: I wish too 😉 But do you think they would follow the list, even if you give them one? Given that they are notorious for not reading instructions and manuals? 😛

    rajk: Thanks 🙂 Good to find a kindred spirit.

    Mungi: We are not that difficult to understand..and anyway all the women scientists already know exactly how women’s brains work 🙂

    ArSENik: Lottery tickets? You present an excellent rationale, and we commend your optimism. But you see, we are very logical people. In Expected Value terms, lottery tickets are worthless 😦 Much as we like promising young men, we prefer the paying ones 😉 Or the “presenters”.

    Srivalli: You should have said, it’s the day when cooking4allseasons wants the Taj’s cooking 🙂

  7. Only if I had read this post few years back…

    But strangely, my V-Days have been pretty much unmemorable because thankfully I was lucky to be with people who didn’t think of it as much either.

  8. 7. Appliances: No, we do not want a vacuum cleaner for V-day. What do you think we are ? maids?

    We also do not want crock pots, cutlery or coffee machines.

    Ha ha. I would say appliances should not be gifted unless the lady specifically asked for one. My buddy actually gifted his gf a vaccum cleaner. She must really love him because they’re married now.

  9. Patrix: I can see you are a marketer’s nightmare 😦

    Santosh: If it was a Roomba, we might excuse him 😛
    But we women are quite resigned by now – we only hope you guys don’t get us one of those Swiffer Wetjets or mops 😦

  10. ok, one more point where I agree with you, Lekhni….re ur reply to KM, I always have found Star Trek etc. hilarious and ridiculous….while my hubby watches them with stars in his eyes!! Blasphemy? so be it!!

  11. All you really need to do is make sure that the woman in your life has no idea about the different meanings attached to flowers. The Ex used to send me anthuriums and birds of paradise because they reminded me of my childhood or white roses because I thought they were pretty.

    The spa membership is still the best bet though.

  12. Mungi: You mean he gathers dust as he sits motionless on the couch, right? 😛

    rajk: I love Voyager, but now when we look at the original Star Trek, I guess our standards have changed 🙂

    Aishwarya: Hey, your ex was not far off. As this website says, anthuriums mean “hospitality” and birds of paradise mean “joyfulness”. But yes, spa certificates are best.

    tabula rasa: In that case, what? Don’t leave us in suspense! In that case, are you also guilty? 😉

  13. I gave my wife a vacuum cleaner for Valentine’s Day a few years back because that’s all she said she wanted. She was thrilled with it. And yes, we’re still very, VERY happily married. Got her a stand mixer for Christmas 3 years ago too. Why, other than because I’m an “insensitive jerk”? Because it’s what she wanted.

    You’re putting WAY too much importance and thought into such a contrived ridiculous holiday. It’s just another day. Besides, flowers mean more to my wife when I stop and get a $3 gas station rose for the hell of it than do the obligatory dozen roses on Valentines Day, because the gas station rose says “I was thinking about you for no special reason”, whereas the bouquet on VD says “I’m buying this because you expect me to”.

    You can all concern yourselves with diamonds and really expensive stuff. My wife prefers the stuff that REALLY means something- love, affection, caring, etc.

  14. Johann: I agree with comment #15, it’s okay only if your wife asks for an appliance 😉

    Can I also point you to the tag for this post – “Humor”. Or the tag line for my blog? I am not the one here who is taking V-day (or V-day gifts) seriously.

    Having said that, if you like to get all riled up then you should read this post. Guaranteed to leave you fuming.

  15. Yeah, I did see the “Humor” tag, but there are way too many women who actually do feel that way. If the post was TRULY a joke, then I apologize for being so pissy.

    I just find V-Day to be a ridiculous holiday, partly because of the overblown big deal that is made over it, that’s all.

  16. not guilty, melud, just pointing out that much pleasure may also be obtained from the judicious application of a little hand-held vacuum cleaner. pleasure leading eventually to marriage.

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