Right, here's a secret - bloke's actually like Valentine's Day. We say we don't, obviously, because publicly admitting that you feel an emotion outside of football is akin to saying you're basically a girl.
But we do. Valentine's day is fun. It's nice to be told that you're loved, that you're attractive, and that your wife/girlfriend still fancies you even though your hair is making a fighting withdrawal and your belt (if it could talk) would be making "she can'nae take any more, captain! She's goin' tae blow!" like Scotty from Star Trek.
The problem is, there are bits that we hate. Obviously, I can't speak for every man out there. But I'd bet a considerable amount of money that most blokes don't want cuddly toys. We also don't need another Lynx gift set - it's only been six weeks since Christmas and we should be fine till around November.
But there are plenty of things that we do want on Valentine's Day - aside from the obvious…
One of the best things, is something to do together. Assuming you and your boyfriend/husband actually like each other, spending time together is normally a pleasant affair. Afternoon teas are the obvious one, but it can be something you've never tried before, but need a good excuse. Most blokes won't buy a spa trip for themselves, but if there's a voucher, well, then it would be silly not to. Breaking the mold a little, craft workshops and similar experiences are a great way to not only spend time together, but to make a lasting souvenir you can enjoy afterwards. The Green Wood Guild in London have some superb day-long carving workshops. Or if, you've got wedding bells planned, make your own cake knife at Oldfield Forge. There's bound to be a pottery painting place near you, and remember, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece- the main thing is doing something fun together. Although, if you're the type of couple who bicker when putting up Ikea flatpack, make sure you're each making your own thing and not a collaboration before booking.
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach (or up and under the rib cage, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett), so food is always a safe bet. Beer is always nice, and if he likes a beer a selection pack is OK. But if he's a Real Ale snob, then trust me- whatever you buy will be awful and worse than dishwater. But then Real Ale snobs love nothing more than complaining about Real Ale (believe me, I should know), so you might be on to a winner. Like beer, chocolate is OK. No one is going to complain about a nice box of Thorntons, or a bar of of Hotel Chocolat. But with just a little more effort, you can sort out something a bit more special. There are dozens of companies that do mail-order pies, or you can get some nice steaks in the post. Planning and sorting out a meal for your beloved is a great way to show that you care, but also to put time aside to spend together. It's a nice thing to look forward to as well. I mean, you can just stare lovingly at your husband while he drinks the six bottle pack of beer you got him. But personally, I think a meal you can share is a much nicer present.
Stuff is always a tricky one. Some men are compulsive hoarders of anything possibly useful, or, like myself, wage a constant one-man guerrilla war against the amount of tat in the house. If you're getting him a thing, make sure the thing is either useful, beautiful, or both. Novelty junk is complicated. On the one hand, I adore my BBQ sword, and use it at every opportunity. On the other hand, I've lost count of the generic "man stuff" I've sent to the charity shop over the years. Choose wisely, is what I'm saying.
Finally, sometimes the best gift is the one you think is the stupidest. Remember the old adage "Love is patient, love is kind." And sometimes patience and kindness mean getting him something you think is bloody stupid. Most men have at least one irritating hobby. Get him something for that. You might not understand WHY he's so happy that you got him yet another shade of green for his Salamander Space Marine army (or as you may know them, those little plastic soldiers he paints for hours on end), but the point is, he's happy. And what you're saying to him is "I don't have to understand it, it's important to you, and I love you."
Happy Valentine's Day!