In addition to the clich' 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 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. Notice it's a 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. You're worth every penny."
Wife: "Aw, that's so sweet. Waitearrings? 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 then."
This guide will help you avoid making critical Valentine's Day gift-giving pitfalls.
Bad idea: Flowers
Explanation: Flowers don't make any sense. Why not just give her some moss, algae or bundle of sticks? Those are from nature too. Only with flowers you can personally witness the slow, agonizing death. Your house essentially becomes a plant hospice. Super romantic. Plus, she could be allergic and end up dying or, worse, forcing you to maintain the things. If that's the case, you just bought yourself a confusing, slowly dying present and created more work for yourself in the process.
Alternative: Wax fruit. 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 women are attracted to, so just watch Finding Nemo or give her a bundle of Christmas lights.
Bad idea: Chocolate
Explanation: The ingredients in chocolate have a significant effect on brain chemistry. So essentially you're giving her what amounts to a heart-shaped box filled with candy comprised of tiny fourth graders with all sorts of beakers and chemicals to play with scary-sounding like norepinephrine, which is, overall, pretty irresponsible. 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.
So giving it to her could make her too brittle, stoned and incapacitated to responsibly keep the chocolate away from her hungry rabbit as she painfully lies on the couch plotting how to eat you. Present at your own risk.
Alternate food: Instead of drugging her this Valentine's Day (not gentlemanly) and covering yourself in bandages from female teeth marks, 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" then this guideline was necessary to save you heartbreak down the road. By the way, if you break up with her, I'll take your sadness pie.
Bad idea: Jewelry
Explanation: Jewelry is essentially shiny metal. Shiny metal attracts fish and old men on beaches searching for treasure; neither prospect is appealing pressed up against your beloved. One feels weird, smells funny and has trouble breathing; the other is a fish. Protect your woman from elderly pirate groping by searching for an alternative.
Alternative: Mixed tape. Cassette tapes are personal and require time and effort because, really, who even carries cassettes anymore? Maybe old Pappy at the corner hardware store in 1984. Now, unlike diamonds and sterling silver that are commonly found in ANY jewelry store, these babies are rare, special items just like your sweetheart. If your girlfriend was born after 1990, she might not even know these exist, so tell her you engineered these music-capturing devices yourself just for her. If I know women (and it's pretty clear I do) they swoon over a man with engineering prowess.
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via romantic candlelight hot air balloon getaways. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny for more excellent relationship advice and possible hug dates.