Shopping Solutions for Valentine’s Day

Shopping Solutions for Valentine’s Day


Singles advice guru Marnie Macauley has humorous and savvy solutions for avoiding the pitfalls when you’re single and shopping for Valentine Day gifts.

Shopping Solutions for Valentine’s Day

Jorgo Photography / 123RF Photo


Dear Marnie: I’m a divorced guy, 32, who has been dating one woman for about two months. On Valentine’s Day, when I was married, my ex and I would go to dinner and I bought her flowers (until the last year when we were seeing lawyers!) Here’s the problem. I want to give Amy (my girlfriend) something, but now that I’m single, I’m clueless. Any thoughts are much appreciated. She’s already been “hinting” to make sure I do something. But what? – BryanLA

MARNIE SAYS: For you, and all my readers, I shall give you my definitive thoughts and advice on the matter. (Sit, darlings.) You’d think with cute little cherubs flinging arrows, love is in the air. Right? Wrong.

I refer to this “holiday” as VD, for Very Depressing – whether you’re blissfully single or paired. Now, before you accuse me of being a hopeless Love Grinch. I adore love. I adore showing love. What I HATE … is love by hype and hand grenade. For example, last night I saw an ad: “Real Men Give Diamonds! It means never having to say ‘I’m sorry’ again.” I went straight for the Maalox. Proving your passion on this one day has more minefields than Angola. Before you get all wiggy on me, I promise to offend each gender with tender equality.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* Get with the problem: She walks in with female expectations: “If he loved me he’d know what I like and get me something I can stand.”

This is built on the ridiculous notion that what you give us is equal to how much you love us. Foul! The truth: men want to make us happy, but face it; the average male is shopping-challenged (unless we’re talking sump pumps and tires). But shopping for us? Forget it. Personally, I’ve been gifted with a size two bustier, a Chia head, a Thigh Master and a Ron Popeil pocket knife — by men who adored me.

* You can survive V-DAY with a few simple strategies.


* Think motive! Ask yourself, even when he bought you that mustache remover was his intention to make you happy? Yes? Get it gals!

* Separate his intention from his taste. He’s not guilty of lack of interest in you. No. He’s guilty of lack of taste (and being shopping- challenged).

* Partner the guy. Men aren’t mind-readers. Either tell him what you want, or get an emissary to intercede (like your BF or your mother).

* Be specific. For example: “I’d like something for my finger … not a parakeet,” or “Glove department, 3rd floor, talk to salesperson 2667.”

* Appreciate his attempts, no matter how strange. (Admit it! How many times has a man tried and we reacted like we just ate a rotten clam?)


* Attempt to please her. If your mission is to make her happy then don’t get her something that a) you’d like for yourself; b) is a one size fits no one; c) anything with tassels.

* Notice what pleases her. If she has one she might like two (hand-dipped chocolates not heating pads).

* Wrap it well. Wrapping is to gifts what location is to real estate. Wrapping in something other than a baggie shows you care.

* Use words! In this economy when most of us can’t afford Big Bling, trust me! One “I cherish you” attached to an apricot rose beats a box of rock hard caramels and a cut-out card from K-Mart.


The good list:

If you’re on a budget, small and elegant beats huge and inexpensive:

* Notion departments, in stores or trusted online sellers are terrific for finding what he/she would love. For example, hand-painted thimbles, miniatures, charms, ornaments, collectables.

* Photo albums or framing a photo that means something is a terrific gift that’s both personal and sensitive.

* Write a poem. Even if it’s goofy, it’s “your” goofy.

* A little pricier: a gift certificate for a massage or golf day.

* Re-create a wonderful memory of say, that first date at Zoo Land and bring a bottle of wine.

The dangerous list:

Caution! Assuming you wish to survive Valentine’s Day unscathed, avoid the following:

* Expensive items or those things that are too personal too early in the relationship. You’ve been out on maybe three dates. You haven’t had “the discussion” yet, but there’s a spark. Park the “To My One and Only” hearts and roomfuls of flowers. Too much, too soon is way too scary.

* Too functional for the not-very-functionally inclined, for example, magic mops and other assorted dishpan hand gifts for her, or weed whackers for him.

* Infomercial gadgets to make one more gorgeous, thinner, less wrinkled or (heavens!) younger … will turn you both gray!

* BULK anything. Who needs (or wants) 500 toothbrushes or Bath soaps from Huge Lots? More is not best! Go for less.

* Eau de Poo! Avoid cheap perfume at any price.

* Stay away from strange waters. If you don’t know his/her size, and you think Gucci is a brand of Italian pasta, don’t gift with clothes! Whether you buy too large or too small (or too ugly) … you’re innocently sabotaging your noble intention.

If you’re flying solo, celebrate with good pals. Not only are you spared those torturous decisions, but you can always tune in to what “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” are doing for Valentine’s Day. Watching these hooty bling-meisters will make you bless your marvelous singular reality!  And you’ll be relieved that you’ve been spared the agony of shopping for the “perfect” gift.

Copyright © Marnie Macauley /2013 Singular Communications, LLC

Marnie MacauleyAdvice guru Marnie Winston-Macauley — therapist, author, speaker — has been a radio, TV, and syndicated advice columnist and counselor for over 20 years. Witty, wise and totally irreverent with a self-professed loathing for psychobabble, she’s written over 20 books and calendars, along with  hundreds of relationship columns and features for prominent publications.  She has her MS degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.  In media, her work has garnered her Emmy and Writer’s Guild Best Writing nominations. She is widowed and now living single. For personal advice, you can also find Marnie Macauley on or on Presto Experts. She invites you to join her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 
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