What do men really want for Valentine’s Day?
Women have been asking that question for ages. I bet Abigail Adams and her BFFs in 18th century America spent wakeless hours pondering whether to splurge on an Olive Garden gift card or a nice jug of Ye Olde Captain Morgan rum for their olde men.
Anyway, Valentine’s Day is not about spending a lot of money. It’s about spending time with the person(s) you love, creating memories and sharing experiences that you’ll talk about years later when you are old and gray.
It’s a day of giving, rather than receiving. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of the relationship you have with the most important person in your life.
Experiences, adventures and memories, that’s what Valentine’s Day means to this man. When I was dating the woman who 33 years ago in a lapse of judgment agreed to become my wife, neither of us had much money. Didn’t matter. She spent an entire Valentine’s Saturday in the kitchen, preparing for us a special meal from her grammy’s handwritten recipe. I recall that meal to this day. Once, she called my boss and told him I’d be playing hooky a week from Tuesday, my birthday. She kidnapped me for a day, packed a picnic lunch, which we ate on the rocks at Halibut Point in Rockport. After a hike, visiting galleries on Rocky Neck, and poking through shops on Bearskin Neck, she retrieved a second picnic basket and we had a cookout near the ocean. Seems like yesterday …
Gift cards might be practical, but they’re not romantic. A vacuum cleaner is a gift that really sucks. We’re both happy with a card, a kiss and a hug.
Fast, cheap and out of control describes most men I know. Why not surprise your man with an exotic car driving adventure that lets you choose from piloting a Lamborghini Gallardo LP550 or Ferrari 458 Italia. There are several companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire that provide this thrill ride for about $100.
Many of my male pals for some reason refuse to throw out their old, ratty underwear. Ladies, take control and buy your guy a couple of pairs of good quality boxer shorts. While you’re slipping into something a little more comfortable, he can do the same. But, please, skip the cheesy boxers emblazoned with hearts.
Candy is dandy! Men are happy with a bag of Peanut M&Ms or Hershey Kisses. A bar of dark chocolate with bacon bits is about as fancy as you need to get.
But liquor is quicker! A swanky packy stocks an awesome selection of obscure craft beers. Whether hubby is an IPA aficionado or prefers milk stouts, seek the salesperson’s advice to create your own six-pack of different suds. A bottle of 12-year-old Scotch or a good bourbon are also smooth gifts.
A romantic dinner at a candlelit table in a trendy restaurant is wonderful, but not on busy Valentine’s Day. Opt for a home-cooked meal instead. You and your beloved can sip wine and prepare it together. Heating things up side-by-side in the kitchen might heat things up later, if you catch my drift. No meat alternative or cauliflower rice allowed. A nice steak or salmon with mashed potatoes is the way to go. And, put that darn phone away for one night, why don’tcha.
Togetherness! Take a class. Go to a wine tasting. Try Hot Yoga. Spend a day at a museum, then, on the way home stop somewhere on the spur of the moment, for a cocktail and apps. Tip: The best mixed drink on planet Earth is at Mission on the Bay in Swampscott: Sneaky Rye, a Manhattan-like concoction, will knock your socks off.
Put together a playlist of songs that mean a lot to the two of you. Anything goes. “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Aqualung” might not be the most romantic songs out there, but if you danced to it the night you met …
Kind words and compliments will put boyfriend in a happy place. Trust me. Dimwits like me who aren’t handy around the house crave words of praise and encouragement. Let him know how much he’s appreciated. Thank him for fixing that clogged garbage disposal or for clearing the front walk of snow. More importantly, we should all find time in our busy schedules to say “I love you.”