With Valentine’s Day upon us, there exists no better time of year to return to the Love Lounge. For those of you new here, the Love Lounge is where we dismantle traditional relationship and unmask impostors in favor of real advice and tidbits you can use.

One of our favorite targets is AskMen.com which claims “10 million readers a month.” That thought absolutely gives the terror shivers because 99% of everything you read at AskMen.com is uninspired tripe, misogynistic invective disguised as “wit,” or poorly executed banality. Today’s example fits into that third category as our friends there offer up some “Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas.”

Perhaps this column should have been titled “Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas if You’ve Been Living in a Bomb Shelter Since the Red Scare” because I can’t imagine anyone failing to come up with these wholly on their own. Remember those old Highlights for Kids characters Goofus and Gallant? AskMen provides a great service to the world in demonstrating how Goofus would dispense advice if he were given a giant internet platform with which to do it. Fret not, though. Tomorrow we’ll have actual advice for how to Valentine’s Day up right (or laying down – heyoh!). She’s waiting in the wings, and we can’t wait to show her off. But that’s tomorrow. We got business here first.

So let’s see what novel items your dutiful AskMen.com editors have collected to solve your Valentine’s Day gift quandary. As always, here is the link to the original piece.The original article appears below, and my comments are in italics.  

Chocolates

Chocolates are a great noncommittal gift. Get her a box that emits class, not something from the drugstore, and get her a variety box if you don’t know whether she’s a caramel girl or more into truffles.

Relationship level: Not yet committed

Thus begins the haphazard advice AskMen.com always doles out like the poor teenager handing out flyers for some crappy local band after a concert. Just vague, uncommitted, and totally worthless. First selection: Chocolates.

Okay, neat. Any specific kind of chocolates? Having done some degree of journalistic backgrounding exercises here, I trust that you’ve uncovered some delectable gems that you can recommend to your plebian readers.

A variety box of chocolates.

Gee whiz, thanks fellas. Is there a guy out there anywhere reading this thinking “Wow, chocolates!! Why didn’t I think of that? That’s genius!” Calling yourself a “Gift Idea” column and then suggesting “chocolates” as your first gift is like calling yourself a sommelier and suggesting to your guest that they drink “wine.”

Dog treats

When you’ve first met a girl, you’re unlikely to know her likes, dislikes and diet restrictions.

So, two gifts into this, and you can already discard our first selection. Thank God we’re here to help you! 

You always, however, know what kind of treats her dog (or any other pet she may have) will appreciate. Buying a gift that’s healthy for her pet shows you’re sensitive to her beloved buddy’s well-being.

Relationship level: Not yet committed

On the contrary, how the hell will I “always…know what kind of treats her dog will appreciate”? I know nothing about dog treats. And P.S. If you’re dating a girl with a dog she thinks so much of, you get Rover a gift instead of her on Valentine’s Day, find someone else. You’ll be second place to that stupid mutt forever.

Flowers

While a bouquet of red roses may be a bit overzealous for a first date, other flowers may send your message perfectly. Do some research and choose carefully; gardenias denote secret love, orchids are always lovely, showing beauty and refinement, while yellow roses mean friendship. Just be sure to order your flowers early because Valentine’s Day can be a busy time for this industry.

Relationship level: Works for all levels

And if you’re reading this a week before Valentine’s Day, like when I found it (and if you look at the timestamp on the comments, they couldn’t even update thing from 2007), you’re pretty much screwed in terms of ordering early. Good luck, douche bag!

Also, the take-away point from this selection: “Do some research and choose carefully.” Who doesn’t know to do that already? WHO IS THIS ARTICLE AIMED AT?!

Heart-shaped pendant

Pendants were practically designed for giving to new girlfriends: They’re sweet (but not too serious), pretty (but not distractingly eye-catching) and tailor-made to make her swoon on a daily basis.

Relationship level: New romance

On the scale of things you shouldn’t get your wife/girlfriend/mistress for Valentine’s Day, whatever heart-shaped pendant your mall jeweler trots out in television ads this time of year falls somewhere between anal sex desensitizer and Chlamydia. There is nothing unique, creative, or insightful about buying a piece of jewelry that’s advertised to millions of people. But that’s perfect since there’s nothing unique, creative, or insightful about this article.

Hand-dipped strawberries

See what I’m talking about here? I see trite suggestion after trite suggestion, and I keep waiting for the author to break out of this article and ask, “And what’s the deal with airline peanuts?”

Strawberries in chocolate are a trademark seduction treat; they wonderfully mix the romantic with sexual fantasy, without being as obvious as lingerie. Buy these pretty, tasty treats, and prepare to nestle down and share. Or better yet — make them yourself.

Relationship level: New romance

And then you and your lady friend can compare notes about how white guys dance like this while black guys dance like this over your either store-bought or homemade (undecided) chocolate strawberries.

Bed & breakfast getaway

Bed & breakfasts offer a unique mix of comfort and luxury. Moreover, plenty of B&Bs offer treats like wine tours and nature walks. If you’re looking to underscore the romance in a new relationship, a getaway is the way to do it — and you will definitely sweep a new romantic partner off her feet with a local romantic trip.

Relationship level: New romance

And if you don’t feel like re-enacting every single sitcom to appear on television between 1992 and 1998, maybe take Mitch Hedberg’s suggestion, and take her to a “Chair Lunch Dinner” instead. It’s a little known fact that bed & breakfasts are the most overrated places on earth and that no one ever actually wants to go to one? Why? Because essentially you’re traveling to the middle of nowhere in order to sleep in a stranger’s house for $200 a night. Yahoo. There’s a reason we have hotels.

Gold bracelet

This piece of jewelry reminds your girlfriend just how much your time with her has meant to you, while also providing her with something she’ll be more than happy to sport every day.

Relationship level: Long-term relationship

And if your girlfriend is a middle-aged goomba on Staten Island, she’ll definitely be happy to sport this every day. Nothing says “I love you” like having her sport something that screams “wholesale plumbing supply salesman” or “World Series of Poker Champion.” Women are so easy.

Espresso maker

A gift that gives her one of her favorite treats right at home is thoughtful and kind. After you’ve been together awhile, it’s possible you’ll be spending lots of long mornings at her place and a coffee maker is the perfect gift to let her know how much you’re looking forward to them.

Relationship level: Long-term relationship

When you get married, you get lots and lots of kitchen gadgets. You can use approximately 10% of them because you can only keep so much stuff on your counter before it starts to resemble a shelf in the housewares section of the ARC Thrift Store. If she really likes coffee, this isn’t a bad gift. But from what I understand, making espresso is kind of a pain in the ass, and you may end up just cluttering up precious counterspace. Tread carefully.

Luxury lingerie

This gift sets a precedent for fun. It is a gift the two of you can share and will bring out the intimacy that your new union entails. On the whole, it is romantic and adventurous without being intimidating.

Relationship level: Long-term relationship

Here’s another one to tread carefully with. Back in Happy Friday #33, we linked to this and it would be in everyone’s best interest to consult it again. Lingerie’s a double edged sword though. Get something  uber-trashy like you want, you might chase her away. Get something conservative, what’s the point? Best idea: Go to the store together, watch her try it on, skrump in the dressing room. Booya.

Gemstone earrings

Although gift demands change over the course of your relationship, one thing doesn’t: Jewelry will always melt her heart. Remind her, that after all this time, you love her as much as ever. Surprise her and make her feel extra special with this gift.

Relationship level: Newlyweds

It wasn’t until writing this article that I was happy to have seen the awful movie Freddy Got Fingered. You’ll remember (or likely won’t) that Tom Green gives his paraplegic girlfriend a bag of “precious jewels” at the end to express his affection for her. When I read “gemstone earrings” in this idiotic piece, that’s all I could think of. If this piece had a movie equivalent, I think Freddy Got Fingered is apt.

Spa getaway

Show her that you’re looking out for her by giving her a treatment package from a local spa, or get one for the two of you to experience together. Either way, you’ll make her feel fresh and sexy — this gift is straight from the heart.

Relationship level: Newlyweds

Obliquely related to purchasing a spa getaway for your lover, is it possible for women to get messages with happy endings? Like, does the massage therapist offer to fix your “hysteria,” and then pull out a primitive vibrator that’s hooked up to a long hose that connects to a steam engine underneath the office and work out your mental ailments like in the late 19th century? How awesome would that be if they did? Somewhere Sigmund Freud is smiling. And that’s really who we write jokes for.

Couple cooking classes

Finding cooking classes in your area will indicate your interest in activities together; you’ll build cooperation skills and learn a new art.

Relationship level: Long-term relationship or newlywed

While I don’t think cooking classes are the best way to engender a stronger romantic partnership, the spirit behind this suggestion is the first thing this article has gotten right. Having fun together is paramount in a strong relationship, and whatever interests those are, you need to nurture them. Sarah Jessica Parker of all people had a great insight into marriage during an interview on “Ellen” a long time ago. She said she still loved her husband, but more importantly, she still LIKED him. Passion allegedly fades away, but having someone you like will stand the test of time.

And compared to offering up some boring heart pendant on a rope for the umpteenth time in a row, show her something unique that speaks to who the two of you are. AskMen.com is the absolute lowest form of advice available, and if any of their suggestions above were insightful, get your freaking head examined.

Because at CJS, we’re all about giving you something you can use. And that’s why today it’s out with the Goofus advice. Tomorrow, we call upon our very own version of Gallant. This is someone who won’t bullshit you, won’t waste your time, and will actually give you something you can use. And she’s damn funny to boot. Who is this foxy maven of romantic intrigue? You’ll have to wait until tomorrow…

See you then.

edagger@crujonessociety.com

One final note because I know he won’t mention it: Happy Birthday to the Cru Jones Society’s own Lee S. Hart! We love you, buddy! Hope you have a kickass day!