The internet plays host to a million billion holiday gift round-ups, and Valentine's Day is no exception.
But, really, I am sick and tired of these douchey "personality based" gift guides that pretend to know you.
1. No one will ever know me like my Netflix account knows me (coming-of-age gay and lesbian dramas? HOW DID YOU KNOW?)
2. Coming up with vague categories for potential gift receivers like "Tech addict" or "Silly mom" don't even attempt to understand what this person is really like. Hey, news flash: everyone is a tech addict. Did you know that the tech addict I'm shopping for is also a meth addict? YOU DIDN'T. All of these iPhone cases and kooky USB ports are USELESS. THANKS FOR NOTHING.
So, we've put together a round-up of Valentine's Day gifts based on the condition of your relationship. Hanging on by a thread? Awkwardly new? We've got you covered.
1. If you think really hard, MAYBE you can remember why you thought you could tolerate this person for an extended period of time. Think back: you were single, you were happy, it was probably summertime and you were wearing Chambray and boat shoes and drinking Corona with lime. Fast-forward three years and you are a shell of your former tanned, smiley, checked-shirt wearing, Corona-drinking self. You're pale and sallow. You slump your shoulders and have started crying at Campbell's Soup commercials. Love has ruined your life.
You haven't made an effort at being even 10% romantic with your terrible significant other in months, maybe years. Make this the Valentine's Day where all of that changes. Tell them that you're planning a surprise. Light some candles, sprinkle some rose petals on the ground, and tack up this "Love Will Tear Us Apart" banner (Urban Outfitters, $14). Watch as their face lights up when they see the candles and rose petals, and then see the smile slowly fade from their face as they see the banner. "Look what I got you for Valentine's Day, honey. A shocking sense of self-awareness!"
2. Nothing says "You don't bring my flowers anymore" like an empty vase (Crate & Barrel, $49.95) Place it in the middle of the table so when you're eating your dinner in silence (like usual), you can both see how empty it remains. EMPTY LIKE YOUR HEART.
3. "It's been weeks since I've gotten a home-cooked meal," you tell your buddies, like it's fucking 1952. "Maybe I should leave a subtle hint for my girlfriend that I'd really like it if she cooked me elaborate meals like she did when we first started dating," you think. There's nothing more subtle than the COOK THIS Pad (Urban Outfitters, $7), where you can make meal requests and post it on the fridge or the bathroom mirror. This is a great way to say to your loved one, "I know you've given up on trying to impress me, but I'm really fucking hungry, so maybe you could try to make a little effort sometimes." Let me know how that turns out.
4. You never thought that your life would turn out so much like the "Pina Colada Song," but here you are, fantasizing about escaping your relationship, getting caught in the rain, and having anonymous sex with strangers at midnight. For whatever reason, you don't have the guts to make that fantasy a reality. Your only option for escape is to get them to leave you. Start dropping little hints here and there, like "You should start smoking," and "Did you hear that your old college boyfriend got a divorce? Maybe you should meet up or something..." and then cement the hints with this luxurious paperweight (Spoon Sisters, $38). "It's never too late to start your life over," it says. Put it next to a suitcase packed with a few of her things and see if she takes the hint. Good luck.
1. Good news: somehow you got somebody to love you despite the fact that you're emotionally retarded and you make a joke out of every legitimate human emotion because they are SCARY. Come Valentine's Day, you have two choices: you could stare deep into your lover's eyes, breath heavily, tear up and softly say "I love you," or you could get real and hand them this box of heart-shaped candies that says "I fucking love you" (Urban Outfitters, $8) on it. Your choice.
2. If you're not partial to expletives but you still need a way to express your love in a non-serious, non-verbal way (again, you're emotionally retarded), you can pick up this I'm Nuts About You keychain (Spoon Sisters, $24.75). Isn't it adorable? If your father or grandfather were still alive, they would tell you that you're an idiot for paying $25 for something you could make yourself after you spent 75 cents at the hardware store, but WHATEVER. True love knows no dollar amount!
3. Remember that Rufus Wainwright song, "My Phone's On Vibrate For You" that you never really quite understood, but it didn't really bother you that much because you're really not supposed to be able to understand the artistic ramblings of a former meth addict anyway (if you're counting, that's TWO meth references in a Valentine's Day Gift Guide. You're welcome)? Well, here's something called a "Phonekerchief" (Uncommon Goods, $15) that declares to your one-and-only that your phone is officially off, just for them. If you've ever ignored someone throughout a dinner, a serious conversation, or a make out session because you couldn't stop "checking work email" (ie: playing Angry Birds), this is the perfect way for you to atone.
4. Giving the perfect gift to someone is like standing on top of a mountain and shouting, "HEY EVERYONE, I'M NOT AN EMOTIONAL CRIPPLE!" And sometimes, despite your obvious, unavoidable emotional constipation, you surprise people with how sweet and thoughtful you can be. Enter the Personalized Stump Ring (Uncommon Goods, $210) (and ignore the fact that "stump" is probably the most unattractive word in the English language), where you can harken back to olden times where people would carve their initials into trees and cement because people back then didn't have Facebook walls and Twitter feeds to defile. You give up your initials and the initials of your beloved, and you have a genuinely thoughtful, romantic, one-of-a-kind gift that's perfect for your hippie, tree-hugging girlfriend.
1. Some people call it "boring," you call it "nesting." Whatever it is, you and your beloved spend assloads of time on the couch, sitting side by side, watching predictable sitcoms and not engaging each other in any form of conversation (because you ran out of things to talk about a year and a half ago). Why don't you make your comfortable silence even MORE comfortable with a Personalized Family Pillow (Uncommon Goods, $152)? You can customize it with ranging numbers of family members as well as pets. If you want to shake things up, add in a baby to the family configuration. When he looks at the pillow and says, "Who the fuck is that supposed to be?," roll your eyes and say, "That's the baby we're going to have when you finally decide to man up, put a ring on my finger, and give me the goddamned baby I've been begging you for for YEARS." Happy Valentine's Day to you, buddy.
2. Since you've long since alienated all of your real friends, you've embraced the fact that the person sitting next to you is your best (and only) pal. Remember: if you say something out loud enough times, it becomes true. Pull a Jerry Maguire and let your "soul mate" know how totally incomplete you were until they walked into your life with this cheesy friendship-bracelet-esque Missing Puzzle Piece necklace (Uncommon Goods, $85). And ladies, here's a tip: if you get your boyfriend to wear one half of this necklace, he is GAY. Love is in the air!
3. You know that stupid Katy Perry song where she says, "I've finally found you, my missing puzzle piece"—well, here we are with more puzzle piece crap (Urban Outfitters, $34). What IS it with people being obsessed with finding a half to their whole? "I was half a person before I met you"—newsflash! You're WEAK and crazy. And really, like Russell Brand could be serious long enough for anyone to be like, "Finally! THIS is who (what?) I've been waiting for all of my life!"
4. My favorite pictures are the ones that couples take awkwardly of themselves, holding the camera up high in an effort to fit both of themselves into the frame. It never works, so someone's face is always cut off slightly and their Facebook albums are filled with the same shot 15 times of them trying to make it happen. It NEVER does, and the last photo's caption is always like, "LOL we tried!" Great, guys. Maybe if you hung out with other people, they could take a picture for you. Maybe they could take a picture with THIS camera (Lomography, $119). Also, you look pale and unhealthy. Go outside and get some sun.
1. If you've just started dating and Valentine's Day creeps up on you, the cardinal rule is DON'T OVER DO IT. Sure, "every kiss begins with 'k'," but nothing says "I'm probably going to murder you later" than dropping $300 on a necklace for someone you've known for a couple of weeks. This is the only chance you'll ever have to take the cheap road on Valentine's Day, so make it count. Take advantage of the fact that all of your annoying habits are still cute and endearing because they haven't known you long enough to hate you yet. You're essentially still in the flirting stage, so a clever card dripping with sexual innuendo, like this one (Etsy, $2) and dinner may do the trick.
2. If you haven't had sex with this person yet (who are you, Mother Teresa?), but they have a fun sense of humor, the Why I Must Notepad (Urban Outfitters, $7) could be a way to break the ice and bring up the topic of why the hell you haven't done it yet in a humorous way. Hey, lady: I choo-choo-choose you.
3. Here's a revelation: women like chocolate. HAHA, bet you didn't see that one coming! This Wine Tasting Chocolate Kit (Uncommon Goods, $30) is classier than shoving a bag of Hershey Kisses from the drug store in her face, and might just trick her into thinking you know something about wine. It's like looking deep into her eyes and saying, "Baby, you're all that and a bag of Franzia." Just don't pull a Forrest Gump and eat any of the chocolate, or offer it to assorted strangers near the bus stop before you give them to her, unless you want her to think you're retarded (you probably don't).
4. All About Me (Urban Outfitters, $12.50) is a fill-in-the-blank book where you can detail all of your likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, fears, etc. In other words, this is probably the worst gift you could ever give to someone else, ESPECIALLY when your relationship is new. Don't be an over-sharer early-on. This person doesn't need to know that you eat sour cream out of the container with a spoon on Saturday afternoons or that Monster is your favorite romantic comedy. Act as normal as possible for as long as you can. Then, let the weird things you do slip slowly, preferably after you've moved in together. After all: nothing keeps a relationship going strong like the fact that you signed a lease and there's no way out.
Happy V-day, everyone.
I'll see you at that annual production of the Vagina Monologues at the Jewish Community Center in Crown Heights.