When you're with someone you love, shouldn't every day be Valentine's Day? I'm not usually one for any form of V-Day celebrations, preferring instead to boycott the Hallmark holiday. This year, however, I'm feeling just a touch more romantic for some reason. (Sidenote: why in Cupids's name are there not more cards that say "FOR THE ONE I LIKE", or "HEY, YOU'RE PRETTY NICE!", or even "I LIKE HANGING OUT WITH YOU!" I mean, what if you just started dating someone?
So where did all this schmoozing and gift giving come from exactly? `Well, the Ancient Romans of course. This may not be 100% accurate, but you know when your friend quips, "some dude hit on me last night in (insert bar name here)..."; well, the origins of that may be somewhere on the cusp between domestic bliss and domestic violence. The annual day of all things lovely, red, and heart-shaped began way back when in ancient Rome, and if my sources are as accurate as I hope, the festival of Lupercalia (V-Day to us common folk) was spent celebrating fertility & health by sacrificing animals and whipping one another. Kinky! So, as an ode to our little bow & arrow wielding baby, and to help you out if you're feeling uninspired, here's my gift guide for that special dude in your life! Or—if you're single—my list of things to buy yourself:
8. For the Hairy Man
This has to be the best beard survival kit I've seen of late. This superb box of tricks contains pretty much everything any man needs to keep his fur neat and tidy. Known as one the top men's grooming brands over in London, Murdock have some cracking gifts for the man you love, the man you like—even the man you're casually sleeping with. Assembled in a fancy-ass box, The Beard Box includes Marvellous Moustache Wax, Beard Brush, Moustache Comb, flannel, scissors and to top it all off, Murdock's GQ Magazine Award-winning Beard Moisturiser. Sharp!
7. For the Money Man
Who doesn't love a new wallet? I remember picking up a brown leather wallet in Goa when I was 25, which I held on to for 5 years—yes, I get emotionally attached to things even when they are failing apart. After trading it in for a younger model during a trip to Edinburgh, last year, I felt like a new man unafraid to whip out my brand spanking new accessory. Guys, you can't skimp on a lot of things, wallets are one, so let yours show the world you're a style-savvy brother. Check out this one from Osprey, hand stitched in brushed leather. And, the gorgeous gang at Osprey London have given me 15% for you. All you need to do is use the code LOV15 online.
6. For the Always Late Man
We've all heard it's bad luck to give your loved one a watch, right? Well, trust me when I say, I've been in plenty of relationships where neither of us went near a clock or a watch and still ended up parting ways. Let's face it, if you're worried about a watch ruining your relationship, you have a lot more to be worried about. Get your latest squeeze some classy wrist gear as a sign of "nothing, not even stupid superstitions, can break us up...! This one from Irish brand Manlystuff.ie is one of my picks from the pack featuring a lightweight design and classic leather strap. Who says brown and black don't go together?
5. For the Musky Man
Nothing is more attractive than a musky, husky, sweet smelling gentleman—a man, who takes pride in the pheromones and subtle tones he wafts to the world. It may seem like a cop-out or an easy fix, but literally everyone I know absolutely loves receiving perfume or cologne for Christmas, V-Day, Birthday or any occasion in the interim. I've gone through my Hugo Boss phase; a Joop phase; now I'm loving Invictus. Yes, that's the one with all those uber sexy Gods and Goddesses of Olympus in the advert. The Perfume Shop is one of my favourite spots to pick up my latest and greatest, signature scent. And think, you benefit from it too. Win-win!
4. For the Lumberjack Man
Much like that myth about watches, I've heard, "don't buy anyone clothes...ever". If you know your man's size, and if he's comfortable with you picking his threads, give him the gift of style. He may have been slumming around in the same old shirts since you met, and if so, wrap him in something a little bit fresher. There are a few staples men should have in thier arsenal: an oxford button down, a polo shirt, a great fitting t-shirt, and a check shirt. You can't go wrong with either so for some inspiration, All Saints have plenty to choose from.
3. For the "Boxers or Briefs?" Man
If Valentine's Day goes as well as we all hope, no one is going to be wearing underwear for too long. But let's make a little effort, shall we? There's nothing worse than going 'down there' and finding some old jocks he's probably had for way too long! A few pairs of fresh, well fitting jocks make a great gift for any guy, like these classic black jersey shorts from the amazing Les Girls Les Boys.
2. For the Music Man
What's my most beloved gift to receive any time of year? An experience, not "a thing". In Ireland, we're lucky enough to have some of the most amazing festivals like Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, the Galway International Arts Festival; and for my readers overseas, you guys have some kick ass events, too: Burning Man (Nevada), Bestival (UK), Magnetic Fields (India), Electric Zoo (New York). Take your dude to a gig and party your way through the weekend. You know what I always say: "the couple who party together, stay together."
1. For the Travelling Man
Next Wednesday, maybe you should contemplate doing a total Oprah on it and roar "YOU'RE GOING TO AUSTRALIA!", in your man's ear, shortly followed by "Nah, we're actually just going to a hotel in Westport! The Land Down Under might be out of your price range but maybe a little staycation could be an option, or even that cornerstone of all healthy relationships,dirty weekend away in some funky European City. Rome, anyone? For cheapy cheap deals and last minute travel, I always check out Skyscanner and Trivago.
Now, after all that, I must dash off and panic-purchase something for my Valentine's date.