If it seems like we’ve been a little “blasé, skip it” about Valentine’s Day this year, it’s because we have been. Truth is, historically, the lovers’ holiday has consistently been a bit of a letdown, so color us less than enthused.
But apparently, we’re not alone in that attitude. As reported by Business Wire, discount haven Groupon recently conducted their own survey on the heart-filled holiday. Their findings? While 70 percent of people in a relationship say receiving a gift for Valentine’s Day is “very important” to them, 60 percent would give their partners an “F” for effort on the holiday, likely the same 60 percent who are hoping a little attention to V-Day will translate to rekindling the romance. (In fact, only 15 percent of respondents would give their partners an “A.”)
If that sounds bleak, consider this: chances are, your significant other isn’t really looking for more than a little quality time and a token of your affection. Groupon identifies the top five desired gifts as a romantic dinner, chocolate, flowers, a massage, and a home-cooked meal. Is that really so difficult?
Apparently so—and surprisingly, it seems men are far more invested in Valentine’s Day than women (or, maybe they’re just spoiled). Over half of the men Groupon polled “expect their partner to make a maximum effort in getting them a Valentine’s Day gift,” compared with just 36 percent of women—because again, history has proven this holiday to be a letdown, in that respect. In fact, one-third to over one-half of women reported never experiencing romantic surprises like a day out, a picnic, or a weekend getaway.
(Seriously, y’all. How are you even catching folks in the first place, let alone keeping them?)
Clearly, there’s some work to be done here, and while Groupon has their own list of experiential offerings at the ready, we’ve also got a few gift suggestions that will keep you from looking like you’ve consulted Cupid rather than phoning it in (again) this year. And guess what? Because almost all of these options are experiential, ongoing, or choose your own gift/adventure, you won’t look like you waited until the last minute—which we both know you did. But we love you anyway.
It’s not just a cliché: seven out of 10 people surveyed are looking forward to getting busy on Valentine’s Day. But why wait for an annual holiday to spice things up? If you hope to keep things hot all year round, gifting an Xtra VIP membership from Savage x Fenty ($49.95 per month) will keep the size XS to 3X woman in your life (bra sizes 32A to 44DD) in fresh and flirty sets. And thanks to the “Savage Quiz,” she can choose options that suit her personal style, meaning she gets to feel comfortable in her lingerie (for an extra 25% off full-priced styles), and you get to enjoy the very sexy results. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
Is your love more turned on by classic masculine styling than lingerie? Harrison Blake Apparel has all the accessories your dapper-loving darling needs—including gift certificates and monthly subscription boxes to keep them looking debonair all year long.
No shade to your typical store-bought brands, but a special occasion calls for a gourmet touch—like a Signature Sampler from black-owned chocolatier Viveré chocolates (16 pcs. for $45; 32 pcs. for $80). And yes, you can sneak that order in just under the wire, but your procrastination will cost you: $25 for two-day shipping, to be exact. But you do know chocolate’s an aphrodisiac, right?
Remember that whole weekend getaway thing? There’s really no better place to reconnect—on every level—than away from the daily grind, so why don’t you surprise your sweetie with an invitation to spend some time alone together? You can check out the African American Association of Innkeepers International to choose from a few luxe locations, or reference The Root’s own curated lists of black-owned boutique hotels and B&Bs. Then, you can enjoy some much needed pampering and pillow talk.
Remember, the couple (or more) who plays together, stays together. But even if you just want to incentivize your situationship with some sexy new possibilities, a “Cause I Like You” gift card ($25-$100) from pleasure purveyors Feelmore Adult Gallery should get the message across loud and clear. And whatever your pleasure, predilection or partnering preferences, Feelmore has plenty of possibilities. No judgments, just orgasms.
Want to satisfy your sapiosexual’s deepest desires? Gift them with a copy of the nearly 30-year-old sensual anthology Erotique Noire/Black Erotica ($19.95 on Amazon Prime), which features some of the best known black authors in the world—including Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde and Chester Himes—writing about sex and intimacy in all their iterations.
Another romantic pick for an avid reader or deep thinker? bell hooks’ Love Trilogy, which places the depths of our love in a deeply philosophical, racial and gendered perspective.
Want to get cultured—and a bit buzzed—together? Start a regular wine tasting habit with Theopolis Vineyards. The award-winning black-female owned vineyard offers three wine club memberships to accommodate novices to expert oenophiles (and different budgets). Make your love a true vintage, with help from this acclaimed winery.
Want to let your significant other know they’re worth a major splurge? Show them your love is luxe-level, with a PJ or lounge set from Waraire Boswell. And if your one and only is truly a one-of-a-kind treasure, consider gifting them a bespoke suit from the designer.
Some may find gift cards impersonal, but it only takes a little effort to make even the most low-maintenance gift personal. For instance, if you want to thank the makeup junkie in your life for being such a good kisser, a gift card to The Lip Bar will let them indulge themselves in the brand’s emollient textures and rich pigments to their heart’s content ... and will likely make you all the more kissable.
What do you get the shoe lover who has everything (or the shoe fetishist who loves them)? The luxury of a made-to-order pair of nude satin heels from Salone Monet. This black, female-owned designer shoe brand hires women artisans and female-owned companies around the world to help create their wear-them with-everything heels in a range of hues to match every skin tone. Our favorite? The sleek and sexy Sable slingback stiletto ($395). Clothing optional.
Ready to make it official? Hopefully, you haven’t procrastinated on that life-altering decision until mere days before Valentine’s Day. But if you’re planning to shop for the engagement or wedding rings together, may we suggest ethical jewelers Moijey Diamonds? Aside from the assurance of their zero-tolerance policy on conflict diamonds, you can’t beat the convenience of being able to choose your stones and build your ring online—a team-building exercise, if ever we’ve heard of one.