5 Things Guys Actually Want for Valentine’s Day

Do you find guys hard to shop for on Valentine’s Day? I do.

For one thing, it’s just not the manliest of holidays. Also, the gift is meant to be sort of romantic — and most guys just aren’t excited about sentimental things.

James, for example, would have been happy about the cufflinks I gave him for Christmas, but the only reason he was excited about them was because they double as USB drives. (Cue spy theme music.)

So ladies, because I used up so much of my brainpower trying to figure out what the heck to get my gentleman for Valentine’s Day, I decided to use my new knowledge for good by sharing it with you. And wouldn’t you know it — what works best for this holiday are activity gifts rather than stuff. Here’s what I mean:

Valentine’s Gifts for Awesome Guys

Event Tickets: Check around to see what’s happening near you in the next couple of months. We sometimes go to music shows, but we’ve also seen touring Broadway shows, as well as performances by David Sedaris, Ira Glass, and Mike Birbiglia. (We also belong to the group NPR Addicts Anonymous.) Of course, it’s easier if you have similar taste in these things — otherwise half the gift is enduring the evening cheerfully. This is the idea I went with this year! We’re going to go see the comedian Marc Maron on Friday night, which has us both feeling like Friday can’t get here fast enough.

Massages: Some guys get weird about getting massages, so make sure you know how he feels about them before booking one. But if he’s keen on the idea, it’s a great way to indulge. And while you’re at it, book one for yourself and make it a couple’s massage. (Happy Valentine’s Day to you!)

Classes: If your guy is always talking about learning Italian or how to make sushi, or if he wants to take better photos or learn more about woodworking, look into local adult education centers to enroll in a class together. For example, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education is near us, and they offer a pretty awesome selection of cooking, art, and language classes that last anywhere between one night and several weeks.

Master Shave: Every single guy I know would be down for a real luxury shaving experience. James says this about why men are drawn to it: “It’s a melding of manliness and pampering, which is hard to come by for guys.” He also explained that most of them have some difficulty shaving, so the idea of having it done well, as a craft, by a master barber is a pretty big deal. The Art of Shaving offers luxury shaves by Master Barbers, but you can also find similar services with an equally luxurious vibe at upscale barber shops and hotels with spas.

Staycation: It’s expensive to stay at nice hotels, but not having to pay for airfare makes it a lot more feasible to enjoy them. Book a night at one of the fancy hotels near you, and enjoy the city with fresh eyes — or stay in. On New Year’s Eve, we lucked out with a perfect view of the fireworks over the Charles River when we stayed at a hotel in Cambridge. It was so much fun that we vowed to hop around to the other upscale/weird/fun hotels in Boston to play tourist more often.

What are you getting your favorite dude for Valentine’s Day?

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  1. These ideas are awesome Joy. Your post is a nice reminder that an experience is sometimes the best gift of all!

  2. I got my guy tickets to see one of his favorite comedians at a local comedy club I have by me! =) There are cufflink USB drives?? That’s awesome!!! =)

  3. I LOVE this. I am going to go with master shave for Riley. Thank you!

  4. The shave is a great idea! So glad I stumbled upon your site. I’m definitely going to check our your recipes too! Looking forward to it 🙂

  5. I love experiences more than things! That’s usually what we do for each other. However, my boyfriend told me he is terrified of getting one of those shaves and getting cut in the jugular. Hah!

  6. Great ideas, Joy! The master shave sounds fun/unique. I love staycations/road trips… airplane travel is such a hassle!

  7. What great ideas! I would especially love the couples massage because it would be a gift for me too, haha!

  8. I’m with Stephanie: I think I’m getting the Mister a shave.
    p.s. I’m a member of NPR-addicts-anon too!

  9. Great ideas!! I am in such a tough spot… My bf insists that valentines is a day focused on him! So I’m not suppose to get him anything! I’ve gotten him a few cute little things and a card, but I feel guilty that all the attention will be focused on me!

  10. These are such great ideas! I really like all these ideas, for myself. 😉
    Hm, I need to look into this NPR Addicts Anonymous.
    The husband has been wanting a cool leather cuff/bracelet, so I’m on the hunt.

  11. Try looking at a more intimate idea: “love is art” make a canvas painting during an intimate moment that can be hung up to be a reminder of an awesome night 🙂

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