Kelly Van De Walle: Gentleman’s guide to Valentine gifts

In addition to the cliché’ nature of your standard Valentine’s Day gifts, they also present other, largely overlooked problems. For example, did you know some women are actually allergic to jewelry? My wife, for example, cannot wear earrings. If she does, after a day she will return home looking like she spent the afternoon with her head inside a beehive. Naturally I “forget” this at every opportunity.

Me: “Here’s your present, my love. Notice the blue box signifying Tiffany and Co., which is an unnecessarily super expensive brand, the contents of which in no way takes the place of that new driver I’ve had my eye on or food for our children for the next two weeks. You’re worth every penny.”

Wife: “Aw, that’s so sweet. Wait … earrings? Oh, honey, I love them. But, remember, I can’t wear earrings?”

Me: “Ohhh … that’s right! I completely and legitimately forgot about that. What a doofus I am. Bummer. I guess I’ll return them. This is an entirely surprising turn of events.”

This guide will help you avoid making critical Valentine’s Day gift-giving pitfalls, like remembering Valentine’s Day was four days ago.

Cliché idea: Flowers

Why this is terrible: Flowers don’t make any sense. Why not just give her some moss, algae or bundle of sticks? Those, too, are from nature. Nothing says “I love you” quite like personally witnessing slow, agonizing death as you turn your house into a plant hospice. Be cautious as she could also be allergic and end up dying or, worse, forcing you to maintain the stupid things. They DO present the delightful opportunity to inadvertently knock them over every day, spilling murky vase water on your mail.

Alternative: Wax fruit. This shows you’re thinking about nutrition, so you can both live long, healthy lives together. It’s also cheap, generally can be purchased at the last minute and doesn’t really require wrapping. Just like your love, wax fruit will last forever, whether you want it to or not.

Alternative 2: It’s the color of the flowers women are attracted to, so just watch Finding Nemo or give her a bundle of Christmas lights.

Cliché idea: Chocolate

Why this is terrible: The ingredients in chocolate are said to have a significant effect on brain chemistry. So essentially, you’re giving your valentine a heart-shaped box filled with tiny fourth graders mixing beakers containing very serious, scary-sounding things like norepinephrine. What IS norepinephrine? Nobody knows. It sounds like a Decepticon. Why would you give your wife or girlfriend that? Chocolate also contains cannabinoids, the compounds that cause the high from marijuana, and a word that’s so closely related to cannibals that it can’t be a coincidence. Clearly chocolate leads to cannibalism.

Science journals say chocolate can contribute to lower bone density, trigger migraines and is a danger to pets. As a result, giving it to her could make her too brittle, stoned and incapacitated to responsibly keep the chocolate away from her hungry pet rabbit as she painfully lies on the couch plotting how to eat you.

Alternate: Instead of drugging her this Valentine’s Day (not gentlemanly), bake her a nice cherry pie. The only side effects of cherry pie are smiles. And who doesn’t like fresh cherry pie? If the answer is: “My girlfriend/wife because she’s gluten-free” don’t fret. You have an entire pie to eat to make yourself feel better.

Cliché idea: Jewelry

Why this is terrible: Jewelry is just shiny metal. Shiny metal attracts fish and old shirtless men on beaches searching for treasure; neither prospect is appealing when pressed up against your beloved. One feels weird, smells funny and has trouble breathing while the other is a fish.

Alternative: Mixed tape. Cassette tapes are personal and require time and effort because, really, who even carries cassettes anymore? Maybe old Cletus at the corner store in 1984. Unlike diamonds and sterling silver, commonly found in ANY jewelry store, cassettes are rare, special items – just like your sweetheart. If your significant other was born after 1990, he or she might not even know these exist, so tell them you engineered these music-capturing devices yourself. If I know women (and it’s pretty clear I do) they swoon over a man with engineering prowess.


Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at or via romantic candlelight hot air balloon getaways. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny for more excellent relationship advice and possible hug dates.