5. An air fryer
Yes, these were the trendiest appliances of 2020. But if you’re not careful, gifting kitchenware for V-Day could come off as a strong nudge at household roles. (Ditto for a cleaning product or device.) Don’t be a chauvinist swine, sir.
4. A gym membership
Have you learned nothing from Peloton Dad? Unless fitness is particularly on brand for your better half, tread lightly when it comes to gifts that nod at body image. Especially if the only exercising you do is curling a can of Corona every night.
3. An IOU
What are you, like, five years old? We’re all awaiting a return to normalcy, which is starting to feel like waiting on a new album from Rihanna. No one wants yet another check they can’t immediately cash — certainly not whatever favor, gift, or grand gesture you’re promising in illegible chicken scratch on a page torn from a memo pad. Keep your Massage Bucks in your wallet.
Nuff respect to designer socks, which have had quite the cozy come-up in the past decade. But regular-ass tube socks? Calf-high with the stripes? Are you a sociopath? (Yes, it’s happened. No, we’re not going into details.)
1. Something that’s actually for the person giving it
In the classic Simpsons episode “Life on the Fast Lane,” Homer gifts Marge with a bowling ball for her birthday. There was only one problem: Marge didn’t bowl. And the ball had Homer’s name engraved on it. In 2021, the mere thought of a germ-infested bowling alley might make you want to dive into a swimming pool of sanitizer, but the point stands: Don’t try to pass off your equivalent of a bowling ball as a Valentine’s Day gift. Even if it’s some kind of shared household gizmo that you just happen to be more passionate about, your partner will see right through that shit. And maybe they’ll make like Marge and actually learn how to “bowl” — with another dude. D’oh!