The bare minimum is plenty: You can’t go wrong with long-stem roses.
Valentine’s Day is a function of time, or, f(♥x) = dirty weekend. Buy no flowers from a hospital gift shop after your grandpa’s hernia operation. Three to Six Months You’ve a) used the word girlfriend out loud, b) found her stray underwear in your gym bag, and c) taken yourself off Tinder. To the baseline of flowers + candy, add the Nice Dinner. Somewhere quiet—if a DJ is spinning beats to dry-hump to, save it for next weekend. You know that signature dish your last girlfriend liked? Think ambiance, candles, wine—and, hey, how about that, she’s already at your place when the bottle’s empty! Six Months to Two Years You’ve met her folks, deleted pics of your ex, and she has several nude selfies of you with your face in them. Do not ask her what she wants—she wants everything she did before, only better, more, and harder. Her chocolates can’t be purchased at the same store as your condoms. Also, she’s allergic to roses and offended by restaurants that jack up prices for a saint beheaded 1,746 years ago in Rome. The happiest couples are those who remember the beginning, science says.Now that that’s off your chest, follow this formula guaranteed to make her swoon at every stage of your relationship on this completely imaginary yet crucial annual event. Try to make a good impression: E-cards are not actually cards. (She has those dick pics, genius.) Step up everything from the first two stages—flowers (hbloom.com) + candy (payard.com) + Champagne (veuve-clicquot.com) + dinner—and add the Very Thoughtful Gift. No, tailored to her taste: tickets to her favorite band, his and her cooking classes, the approaches infinity, Valentine’s Day is a Where’s Waldo? Do not buy household gifts: Trash compactor ≠ romance. She isn’t going to leave you, just make your life miserable till you get it right. This is such a layup: You’ve spent years banking a roster of excellent ideas from which you have to pick only one: candy-heart haiku. And if in doubt, jewelry is the HOV lane to a woman’s heart.
If you're looking for something slightly more risque, check out our Adult Gifts.
Yes, women are slaves to the liturgical Hallmark calendar, Cupid is stupid, and the perfect girlfriend thinks any given day is as romantic as the next.