Having spent many a Valentine’s Day in a relationship of one kind or another, as a Real Man (RM), I can attest to the fact that most of the heavy lifting falls squarely on us: getting the flowers, finding the perfect card, making the right restaurant reservations...and so on down the Valentine's Day checklist. And the reward for my efforts? Typically: a card. (Not that I'm not appreciative of cards, given that the women I've received them from have usually spent time and effort finding something suitably fabulous. However, a card is card.)
But here's a (dirty) little secret: we RM love getting gifts from our lovers.
When our Valentine actually takes the time to find that groovy gift, consider my heart pierced by Cupid's Arrow. So, to help your piercing process along, here are some fun, X-tra special gift ideas for your RM:
GEE YOU SMELL TERRIFIC: Few things are as sexxxy as a RM that smells good, but with so many choices, what's a savvy lover to do? Why not give him something foolproof that also reaps mega emotional dividends! Visit your local department store or Sephora and sniff a bunch of fragrances. Pick out your Top 5 favorites, and request samples; then have your Sales Associate sell you a Gift Card that will cover the cost of a typical bottle of fragrance. A good place to start is with the six fragrances that make up the Aramis Gentleman’s Collection, ranging from strong and spicy to fresh and clean: Havana, Tuscany Uomo, JHL, 900, Devin, and New West. Other good choices include Terre D’Hermes, Dior Homme, and John Varvatos. All are available online and at most department store fragrance counters for $45-60.
Editor's Tip: Wrap the samples, enclose the Gift Card in a cute card, and buy a little basket to stash everything in. You and your RM will enjoy your efforts when he unwraps them on Valentine's Day, not to mention seeing how the samples smell on him while you both enjoy sniffing the various perfumed spots on one another. It's the gift that keeps on giving...
CLEAN SHAVEN & SEXY: Whether you're hooking up for the 1st, 5th or 500th time, few things are as alluring as a clean-shaven man. The recent widespread rediscovery of the joys of using a shaving brush and a high-quality shaving crème have meant that a number of good quality badger hair shaving brushes are now available for as little as $16 (like the Tweezerman Shaving Brush). Pair with any of the excellent shave creams from Kiss My Face (around $10).
Editor's Tip: Looking to kick things up a notch? Splurge on the Truefitt & Hill Super Badger Brush for $70 and one of their accompanying fragrant shaving cremes ($30) - there are six to choose from. Warning: Greet your RM as he steps out of the shower, mug o' shaving cream in hand and a smile & offer to lather him up...and your dinner rezzy may go wanting.
DAPPER DAN: If you're early on in a relationship or just want to show your RM you're paying attention (but not trying to make him over completely...yet), try a stylish tie or snazzy scarf. One of my all-time favorite RM Valentine’s Day gifts was a silk Pierre Cardin formal evening scarf that added extra flair to my evening suits. For the fashion-forward RM, head straight to Hermes for one of their signature scarves ($250-$400+); worn ascot style, he's guaranteed to adore your fashionable exuberance. Got more dash than cash? FashionScarvesAndShawls.com will have him puttin' on the Ritz in a sleek black crushed number for under $25.
Editor's Tip: If you're wanting to tie one on (him), remember: the trend for 2010 is skinny. The Fashion Wheel has turned back to thinner ties, and a classic little black tie or perhaps something a tad bolder with diagonal stripes will be both fashionable and practical for the foreseeable future.
SENSUOUS MASSAGE: For maximum romance at minimum cost, treat your RM to a massage. Oils are $15 or less at The Body Shop or Aveda, and you can even customize. Alternatively, lube up his back or shoulders (or feet) with olive or sunflower oil; any common cooking oil will work - just add a few drops of your own favorite essential oil (our pick: Aura Cacia for a mere $3 to $5). Just make sure whatever you use is appropriately slippery and fragrant...and has the advantage of being edible.
Whatever you choose, rest assure that your RM will know his RW really cares...which, after all, is all we really care about.
- Mark Behnke
(image at top: via Veer)