We Asked Straight Men What They Really Want For Valentine's Day

Oh god. Oh no. It’s here. Cthulhu Valentine’s Day has arisen from its syrup-coated Hallmark basement lair to once again assault our eyeballs with pink and red flowers, crappy candy, balloons, and mass-produced stuffed animals painstakingly stitched together by child slaves. This day of sappy Instagram captions, overcrowded restaurants, lackluster sex, and general disappointment is almost upon us. If you, like many halves of whole couples, are, for some reason, looking forward to the idea of this made-up holiday, congratulations and good luck. Shopping for men during Valentine’s Day is about as easy as pretending to be excited about anything after age 30. I’m not bitter, you’re bitter. “How am I supposed to figure out what he wants for Valentine’s Day??!” – Things I scream into the ear of my closest CVS employee. And I wonder why I am not welcome back on the premises.

Anyway, I once again annoyed my father, brother, and husband for information about what they’d really like come Valentine’s Day morning. If you didn’t read my Christmas gift roundup and aren’t aware, here’s the breakdown:

Kyle, my husband, is a 35-year-old hipster construction superintendent (don’t ask) who enjoys sudoku, beard grooming, and flannel. Geoff, my brother, is a 26-year-old director for a large poultry corporation, owns an OCD Border Collie that knows math, and was recently forced to watch The Bachelor for the first time (Madison, you’re my fav of Geoff’s girlfriends so far). My dad, Fran, is a retired 60-something who lives on a lake, is a long suffering Jets fan, was born and bred in New Jersey, and looks like a better-groomed version of Anthony Bordain, RIP.

Let’s dive in.

A Nice Watch

“For when I don’t want to check my phone, but I’ll probably check my phone anyway.” Geoff and Dad are all about getting watches they won’t use, so if you’re really into the idea of widening their jewelry collection, go for it. Note: You don’t have to go out and buy a Rolex. Kyle’s favorite watch is his Tense, which is made from wood he thought was neat.

Tense Hudson Watch

Tense Hudson watch


“Craft brewskis so I can keep Saturdays for the boys,” says Geoff. Such a Geoff response. To be fair, beer is always a safe bet, especially if you’re trying to be cute, ironic, and not spend a sh*tload of money. Grab a growler of his favorite IPA or whatever from that local brewery where you can’t tell if the bartenders are hipsters or Civil War soldiers on leave. He’ll love it.

Nerdy Chocolate

“If it’s gonna be candy, something better than that sh*tty Russell Stover in the large red heart box,” says Kyle. This could have to do with my job at French Broad Chocolate, a bean-to-bar spot in Asheville that churns out amazing truffles. Kyle frequently insists I bring home free chocolate, which no, get your own. But there are lots of amazing “nerdy” chocolate bars and truffles to be found on the great internet. Dandelion Chocolate, Maverick Chocolate Co., and Raaka Chocolate are all bean-to-bar, too (meaning they responsibly source and aren’t using child or slave labor to make their sweets) and have created award-winning bars and bonbons. So, if he’s a hipster and into candy, this checks the box.

Maverick Espresso ChocolateMaverick 65% espresso dark chocolate


There’s some truth to the whole Steak and a BJ Day trope. Buy a man a really good steak and cook it for him. He will be forever grateful. “How about something weird, like an elk or bison steak I can grill. Do bisons make steaks?” Oh, Dad, no. But he has a point. You can go the usual steak route or you can get something interesting. Either way, it will appeal to his man-sense to kill and eat something.

Interesting Underwear

…for you. If you’re looking for something for yourself in the way of a nice new bra and panty set, you can buy it guilt-free and then go the extra mile by cooking dinner in it for Valentine’s Day. “Yeah, I thought marriage would be more lingerie, less socks with holes in them. TV misled me,” Kyle declares. He’s kidding, calm down. Considering he has three sisters, he knew EXACTLY what he was getting into.

Literally Nothing

“I don’t want anything. I just want to watch Game of Thrones until the new season.” Alright, Geoff. Dad said the same thing. “Leave me alone. This is a dumb holiday that I always get in trouble for.” Hey men, buy some flowers and it’ll be alright. But for the men in your life, it sounds like nothing actually is an option. And no, they aren’t trying to trap us.

A Nice Dinner Out

“I just want to be fancy and feel fancy” says Geoff. He’s not wrong, either. Kyle and Fran agreed that a nice dinner out seems a perfect fit for Valentine’s Day. So call and make reservations now, because everyone and their mom (and mom’s live-in friend, Rosco) are making rezzys for Vday.

Images: Maverick Chocolate; Tense; Giphy

Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki aka Betchy Crocker writes about food, fashion, and whatever else she's in the mood to complain about for Betches and like, some other people. She resides in Asheville, NC, where she spends her time judging hipsters and holding on to her Jersey heritage and superiority. Yell at her on Instagram @sarahnowicholson