What do I get for a Valentine’s Day gift?

Valentine’s Day is a week away and I’m already nervous and confused about what to get my girlfriend. Last year I completely blew it, got her something stupid she didn’t want, and also got her flowers from the grocery store which apparently is not cool, which I didn’t know. I have learned my lesson: no electronics as Valentine’s Day gifts. Added to all this is the pressure I’m starting to feel from her, her family, and her friends to give her an engagement ring, which I’m not ready for. I’m afraid to give her any kind of jewelry in a box for fear she’ll think it contains a ring.

What do I get her?

I like to pick on Mr. To Chea because once he got me a satellite radio so I could listen to baseball games on the radio. Which I did, which was nice, but also…he listened to an awful lot of baseball games on the radio. And one time, back when they were new and exciting, he got me a video iPod and proceeded to load it up with all of his songs and a movie and wouldn’t let me touch it for an entire plane ride. And then there’s the time he showed up with our own personal golf cart and claimed it was my birthday present…

Lucky for him, I liked all those things. I was excited to get them, and it’s sort of nice to spend your money on something we would both use and enjoy. So it seems to me like the problem here isn’t the actual gift itself, but the fact that what you think is the right thing doesn’t match up—at all—with her expectations. For instance, I looooooove getting jewelry. I also lose between two and three dozen earrings a week, so it hurts my husband deeply to get them for me, but he does it anyway.

I think it’s nice that you got her flowers; to me, it doesn’t matter if they came from the grocery store. Some people might say she’s being high-maintenance, ungrateful, picky, and setting you up for failure. (That would be me.) Other people might say she just knows what she likes and there’s nothing wrong with asking for it. (Those people would be other high-maintenance, picky, spoiled women.)

So jewelry is good. Most girls like it. Just make sure it doesn’t come in any sort of jewelry box. Put it on her breakfast plate (not with the actual breakfast) or get a necklace and sneak up behind her and put it around her neck. Whatever you do, don’t say, I have a surprise for you, or make any long speeches about how you love her, or give her anything small in a tiny box, or call her father at any time before Valentine’s Day.

And the next time anyone “pressures” you to propose, cheerfully tell them, “I’m just waiting until she accidentally gets knocked up. Otherwise, why bother?”

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