What Not to Buy for Valentine’s Day

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Stay away from these gifts unless you’re completely, absolutely, one-hundred percent certain that your Valentine will like and appreciate them. And even then, are you sure?

Think it over again and seriously consider getting something that reaches appropriate levels of thoughtfulness and romance.

Don’t give …

Exercise gear of any kind. Even if she’s asked for a treadmill, don’t go there for Valentine’s Day. Get it some other time.

Fat-free candy.

Fat-free cookies.

Sugar-free anything. Ditto anything low-fat or low-sugar.

A scale. Even if it’s pink and covered with hearts. (You getting the idea?)

Anything that’s strictly practical. Don’t buy a coffee maker, vacuum, or toaster oven, even if they’re fancy models. They’re all potentially nice gestures, but not remotely romantic.

Fake flowers. They say that your love is artificial too.

Anything you’d pick up on errands to the pharmacy. Heating pad. Shampoo. Nasal strips.

Anything you’ve seen her grandmother wear or use. Ditto for anything her mother wears.

Anything that someone else was throwing out. Or at the very least, never ever reveal where you got the item.

Phallic-shaped gifts. Save the penis pasta, penis candles, penis salt-and-pepper shakers—basically anything shaped like a penis—for another occasion. Say, never? Also: food shaped like boobs or other body parts.

Candy you bought for last Valentine’s Day and forgot about until just now.


Sports paraphernalia.

Stripper pole.

Anything that’s really for you. See: stripper pole, sports paraphernalia.

Lingerie in the wrong size. Too big is worse than too small.

Secondhand lingerie.

Lingerie that’s too slutty.

Lingerie that’s too prudish. (When it comes to lingerie, you need to know what you’re doing. It’s not for amateurs.)

Naked man surprise. It works on sitcoms, less so in real life. For some women, the only thing worse than a naked you surprising her would be a naked stranger sitting on her couch.

(Read: The Cheapskate’s Guide to Valentine’s Day.)