Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Is Thursday

Here at the Suburban Father Alliance, we like to think of ourselves as above-average husbands. We also like to help out our fellow husbands (hence, the title of this blog post makes no attempt at humor).

Most obnoxious graphic we could find.
When you've been married more than a few years, you have to work a little harder at annual events like Valentine’s Day. A box of chocolates might have been satisfactory when you were in high school. But, for the mother of your children? The woman who puts up with your pathetic attempts at humor? The beautiful face who still kisses you each time you return from a business trip? The cute little nose that has endured years of the world’s worst farts night after night?

Kind of puts it in perspective. She definitely deserves a little more than a box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day. So, what to get her? Here at SFA, we’re always going the extra mile for you. So, we asked each of our significant others for their top three picks in three different categories: gift cards, gifts and special occasion/celebrations (i.e. dinners, outings, etc.). Here’s what they said.

Top Three Gift Cards (Josh)

When I asked Tiffany for her top three gift card suggestions, she came right back with, “Well, for how much?” What? 

“Well, if you’re only going to spend $25, then I’d suggest something different than if you’re going to spend $100.”

Sweet Jesus. I’d never considered that. So, here are her top three gift card suggestions for three different amounts. (And, now I’ll look like a real heel if I don’t spend top dollar. D’oh!)

$25: O.K., you’re a cheapskate. Not a big deal, but you will have to put a little more thought into this. My wife recommends finding a place that she likes, but doesn't necessarily treat herself to on a daily basis. For instance, Starbucks, or maybe Kaldi’s Coffee. (John certainly is a fan.) She likes the double mocha latte with a twist of fanciness, but only splurges a couple times a month? Grab a gift card and let her have a week’s worth of treats. St. Louis Bread is another viable option. Though, it doesn’t have to be food related. Tiffany mentions that Sephora, or her favorite line of makeup, would be another good option.

$50: Now we’re talking a good chunk of cash. For $50, Tiffany recommends a gift card to her favorite retailer. FYI: Tiffany’s is Macy’s. But, she says there’s an ace in the hole if you’re not sure. “I’ve never met a woman who didn’t like Target,” she tells me. And, I thought it was just like Wal-Mart.

Also, Amazon has made it so stupid easy to get a gift card. Just buy one online and its immediately available . Click the link below to show the world of gift cards at Amazon.

Shop Amazon - Holiday Gift Cards - Instant Delivery or Free One-Day Shipping

$100: Alright, big spender. Before you whip out that kind of cash, do us fellow husbands a favor and don’t tell us how much you spent. You’ll just make us feel like jerks. My wife recommends spa services if you’re willing to pony up a C note. She says most of the good stuff, like a back massage, starts around $75. Go the extra yard and figure in a tip. Tiffany’s favorite is Aveda. They have a couple locations in the greater St. Louis area (don't confuse the spa locations for the retail shops). 

Top Three Gifts (Jamie)

If you've come up short on a gift card before (and who hasn't tried a coupon for an "hour of Joey love"*) you may have to bite the bullet and thoughtfully shop for the missus this Valentine's Day.

Make: If you -- wisely -- spent all of the time in your relationship up until now making your wife realize you're inept, it's about to pay off. Almost anything you can make a woman will score you some big time points. Timing projects to holidays isn't only smart, but often you can talk your mate into sharing some of the cost associated with it.

This is not to say that you can half-ass it.You don't have to be great at whittling or backsplashes or even keeping a notebook with a little love note every day for a whole damned year (yep, I'm a big wuss) but you do need to earn an E for "Effort" or you may just find yourself with a C for "Couchsleeping".
Also, it's important that if you do something where in you'll have to tip your hand about what you have in mind you'll still have to come up with a little something to surprise her on that day.

Buy: Have we discussed jewelry yet? Let's. It can be pretty tough to go wrong with jewelry, but it can happen. It has to be expensive enough that she wouldn't buy it at Kohl's to go with a single outfit. If you're going to get her diamond stud earrings but she already has diamond stud earrings, you'll have to go noticeably bigger.

There are a few tricks to do it right. Firstly, try to fill out her collection. Every woman needs a lot of jewelry to round out her collection and to arm her for any evening - look through what she's got, and if she doesn't have red earrings, get her some. No green necklace, buy one. Secondly, if you are going to go for something unique, try to go local. They'll like to have the little story about where a certain piece came from when they get complimented on it. Thirdly, jewelry likes friends. If you buy her a nice necklace, get her a matching (albeit possibly less expensive) bracelet.

Finally, I wouldn't recommend nice jewelry more than once a year, and spread it around the gift-giving holidays or else you'll get dinged for not putting enough thought into it.

The Kiss of Death: As someone who is even able to screw up golf, take my word for it - never buy your wife clothes. Even if they are great. Even if you are 100% sure they fit. Even if she has circled them in a catalog. Never do it. Ever.


*Editor's note: Apparently 'Friends' is not adequately archived on YouTube. If you don't already get the reference it looks like you never will.

Top Three Experiences (John)

Dinner can be broken down into a couple different categories. Sure you can always make reservations and take her out to eat, but Valentine's Day (much like New Years) is a feeding ground for restaurants to give you a fixed menu and lock you in. Here's how you can avoid that debacle, cook for your significant other. You may end up spending about the same amount as the restaurant but the Status Points you receive from her and her friends will be worth that of 35 dinner outings.

Road Trip
This year V-Day falls close to a weekend. Surprise her & yourself with a road trip to somewhere you've never been. Look at a map and pick a couple spots within a 4-5 hour drive and go for it. If you have kids that are semi normal in the car and can be babysat with a DVD player, bring them along. Let's be honest, if you are married with kids romance has a new perspective. Long gone are the days of roses (they die). But change a poop filled diaper??? That's some sexy stuff. Anyway, where I was going with that was kids can be a great part of your Valentines day and introducing your family to new stuff can be a great way to celebrate.

I think this is what my wife will be getting this year... A whole lot of nothing. No kids, no place to be, no rushing, none of that. Just some time to not be a mom and some time to reflect on how awesome of a husband I am without the deafening screams that come from fights about who gets to wear the pink sparkly head band. Peace. And. Quiet. 

There you have it, we just gave you about 95 items you can get for your life partner. Now get shopping NOW so you aren't fumbling like a moron on Thursday morning because you don't have a card.

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