A very popular practice among old people and conservative brown-nosers is to feign concern over the way we celebrate holidays. In their warped, parasite-addled minds, everything has a deeply serious purpose: Christmas is for reflecting on the birth of Christ (who wasn’t even born in December). Thanksgiving is for earnestly thinking about all the things in life we’re thankful for. Independence day is for being grateful for our “freedom” and what that means to us. The Jewish holidays are for, uh… Jewish things (I apologize for my gentile ignorance)? And it’s BULLSHIT. Against all odds, our ancestors knew better—the proper response to the inevitable oncoming death and loss during winter, a bountiful harvest, or winning a major war isn’t solemn reflection. It’s to fucking PARTY HARDY. If Thomas Jefferson saw your Instagram story of you going around ambushing military dudes on July 4 by saying “sir, SIR! Thank you for your service,” he’d slap you silly. Then he’d probably see to increasing the national debt to purchase French butt wine and inquire about the nearest slave sex quarters, but that’s neither here nor there.
Similarly, Valentine’s day gets a lot of shit for being a “fake” or “commercial” holiday, which is just as dumb (what’s Arbor Day done for you lately, anyway?). Oh no, a “holiday” where we celebrate by expressing our love for each other and exchanging tokens of affection, however will we survive? The point is, if you have a man in your life (whether a steady boyfriend or as the result of “cuffing season,” which I maintain is not real), it’s ok if you want to buy each other presents. Valentine’s day is tough because no one wants to attach too much meaning to it, so the endless sea of generic gifts can be a lot to sort through. I’ve pulled out a few suggestions, and helpfully broke them out by how long you’ve been dating (and therefore, price). As usual when I do one of these, I offer one nice thing you can do for him, plus a couple of actual gifts. You’re welcome.
Stop Being Suspicious Of His Ex
Look, he’s dating you and not her, ok? He chose you. As long as he’s stopped starting every other sentence with “Well, Madysynn and I used to…,” it’s time to give it a rest. She’s not gonna stop following him on Insta until she’s good and ready, and him blocking her would be insane. Let him bitch about her when he’s drunk if he needs to; it’s part of the healing process. Just don’t pile on yourself. Remind him of why he’s better off with you, not worse.
We all carry a bunch of shit that needs electricity nowadays, but Congress has repeatedly ignored my motions for a public infrastructure initiative that would install wireless charging modules under every American street and sidewalk (I see no flaw in this plan). Until they come to their senses, it’s nice to have a little insurance policy in the form of a portable charger. I’d rather eat my own big toe than watch my phone switch into low power mode.
Everyone’s a fucking foodie now, aren’t they? I feel like that’s just how it is—either cooking is as foreign and unknowble to you as an uncontacted Amazonian tribe, or you spend your free time rage-commenting over how to properly make your own lump charcoal in your back yard. But if your man is One Of The Good Ones (i.e., into cooking but not an asshole about it), this book is a perfect gift. It’s less a collection of recipes, and more a nerdy scientific explanation of why shit tastes better in restaurants than it does at home—and how to bridge the gap. The Food Lab website has been my go-to when I want to be a snobby, know-it-all food jerk for a while now, and the book is even more in-depth. Plus, he can use it to make you nice things, so that’s a win-win.
Give Him A Goddamn Drawer
Assuming you’re not a couple of lunatics who’ve already shacked up/gotten married by now, odds are you’re not living together, but you are spending most of your time at each others’ abodes. That’s fine, but do you know how annoying it is to have to pack up a bag every time you want to spend a night Netflixing (chilling optional)? It sucks! Most likely, you’re spending most of your time at your place because you probably have your shit a little more together, whereas he might still live in a house with like six other bros that should have been condemned during the Clinton administration. Clear out maybe a dozen of your old sorority philanthropy t-shirts, and make space for him to keep some pajamas, a work outfit, a weekend outfit, and some basic toiletries. I’d say he should do the same for you, but you know damn well you planted a flag in your drawer after like the second week you were dating.
For the forseeable future, it looks like men are going to have to pretend that whiskey is something we enjoy drinking. It’s not that I can’t appreciate a decent scotch or whatever, but like, have you ever even had a gin and tonic? Much more refreshing. Anyhow, for as long as we have to keep up this charade, these glasses greatly improve the whiskey drinking experience by keeping his grubby paws from warming it up. Ice won’t melt as fast if he uses it, and if not, the room temperature hooch will remain… room temperature. It’s pretty weird when that’s the nicest thing you can say about something that’s twice the price of gasoline but tastes basically the same.
Broke: Fucking so loud your neighbors can hear you. Woke: Fucking so loud Jeff Bezos can hear you. Of all the creepy, always-listening Echo products, the Dot presents the best value. It does all the things the more expensive ones can do, and provided he has another, nicer Bluetooth speaker, its relatively weak sound quality shouldn’t be a problem. By simply speaking out into the ether like a crazy person, he can use it to check the weather, stream music, look up sports scores and even order shit like Ubers and takeout food. I use mine maybe once per month, but the technology is a little cooler and more advanced than I give it credit for. Signing your entire life over to one of a handful of mega corporations is somehow one of the least dystopian futures facing us (given current events), so you might as well embrace it.
Nine Months +
Couples who’ve reached this stage are really annoying, because they want so desperately to be taken seriously as a couple despite not being married, or even engaged. Things like moving in together or getting married may indeed be on the horizon, however, which means you’re involved in Very Adult Things like planning your career tracks, looking at houses/apartments and like, talking about your retirement accounts or whatever. The point is, with stability and familiarity comes routine. And while that’s necessary and not a bad thing in and of itself, it’s not exactly fun. Think back to when you started dating—you were probably doing shit in bed that would get you arrested in most NATO countries. You don’t have to turn into a porn star, but throwing on something a little flirtier and sexier than your go-to baggy t-shirts and sweats could deliver a big ROI. Just don’t let him pick it out. All the underwear will be crotchless and putting it all on will require more time and assistance than a medieval knight’s armor.
One mark of getting older and wiser is accumulating nicer versions of all the shit you never even considered important when you were younger. If he’s been carrying to the gym the same ugly, smelly company-issued bag he got at orientation five years ago, he’ll really appreciate an upgrade. It’s plenty roomy, but it’s still structured so it doesn’t flop around the way your boyfriend does when he’s playing pickup basketball. Plus, it looks nice enough to use as carry-on luggage without looking like a hobo. I don’t have this, but I have some other stuff from Herschel and can testify that it seems nice enough to justify paying these prices for a canvas sack.
I can personally attest that getting rid of my bulky, obnoxious wallet was one of the best things I ever did. There’s just no reason for it, because probably 90% of the shit we carry in there is shit we don’t need. But men are creatures of habit, so most of us will continue to give ourselves sciatica and develop that white-collar skoal ring in the rear pockets of all our pants. This Bellroy wallet still holds everything he needs (if not more): Up to 12 cards and a little bit of cash folded in the middle. I mean, how many cards does one man need to carry? I’m thinking a debit card, credit card, subway pass, ID badge, insurance card, and (maybe) a corporate credit card. That’s six. If your boyfriend carries more than that, I have some bad news about your financial future. Similarly, if he carries around more than a few bills in cash, he’s either a drug dealer or he thinks the government is tracking his purchases, neither of which are optimal. Either way, this will hold all his shit while staying slim enough to not ruin the line of his suit. Jk, we both know you’re not dating the kind of guy who wears a suit often (or ever).
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