The Art Of Romance

The Ultimate Gift Guide

Gifts are an essential part of romance. There are the obvious occasions that call for gifts like birthdays and anniversaries, but there are other moments when the perfect gift can say more than words. Gifts can even replace words that don’t come easy, like “I’m sorry I said your friend was hot,” or “I know it’s only been a month but I really like you,” or “let’s have sex more.” Gifts deliver a message, but each type of gift has its own meaning, so give wisely. To make it easy for you, I’ve created a simple breakdown of five different gift-giving scenarios and the perfect gift for each.

“I’m sorry” gifts: One way to apologize is to admit you’re wrong and say “I’m sorry.” But contrary to what you may have heard, those words are not a magic wand that erases all the hard feelings caused by your slip up. Trust and healing take time, but you can speed up that process with a thoughtful show of affection that should include flowers. Flowers with a side of groveling can get you a long way when you’ve fucked up royally. And if it’s a minor screw up, flowers may be all it takes. Resist the temptation to buy the cheapest bouquet at the grocery store, because then you’ll need some apology flowers for your apology flowers. Go to a florist and ask them to make an arrangement featuring your woman’s favorite type of flower or pick out a dozen stems that match her personality and beauty.

Here’s a quick flower guide:

Roses are sexy and classic. A red rose is like a siren who looks stunning and confident in stilettos and red lipstick. Pink, yellow, and white ones have more of a subtle sexiness.

Sunflowers are, well, sunny. The sunflower girl is bubbly, bright, and sweet. She loves to laugh and doesn’t have a dark side.

Peonies are romantic and feminine and perfect for the pretty lady who loves to wear dresses, read poetry, and listen to female singer-songwriters on vinyl.

Calla Lilies are elegant, alluring, and mysterious. This kind of woman may have a dark side, or at least she’s a little edgy. One of my favorite flowers, in case you’re wondering, is the black calla lily (which is actually a very deep purple).

Tulips are sweet, pretty, and traditional. This is for the woman who is gregarious, has a ton of friends, is great with kids, and always decorates for the holidays.

Carnations are for the low-maintenance, down-to-earth type. The carnation woman cares more about the environment than makeup and clothes, and her love is enduring and strong. Also, carnations are one of the few flowers that don’t die within a couple of weeks after you buy them, but be warned, carnations were notoriously coined “filler flowers” on “Sex and The City.”

Orchids are exotic and high-maintenance. The orchid woman can be demanding, but will reward you for your affection by letting you into her beautiful and exclusive inner circle. These flowers, like your lovely lady, don’t come cheap.

Lilies look beautiful and smell amazing, but their pollen stains like a bitch, so I would stay away from them. Some florists can cut away the nasty bits before you buy them, but I’m not sure the same goes for that type of woman.

“Because I Have To” Gifts: There are four holidays when you’re pretty much required to give your woman a gift: her birthday, your anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. Don’t waste your energy boycotting these traditions with clichéd opprobrium on Hallmark, corporations, consumerism and the like. Just make your life easier by making your woman happy. And if you happen to forget one of these special occasions, then refer to the “I’m Sorry Gifts” section above.

Keep the holiday gift-giving process simple by sticking to what is traditionally and equally adored by all women: jewelry. Don’t worry, jewelry doesn’t always have to involve diamonds. However, tasted in jewelry is very subjective, so you should have an understanding of your woman’s style before you go shopping. First decide what type of jewelry to buy: earrings, a bracelet, a necklace, or a watch. Pay attention to which type of jewelry your woman tends to wear most often, and start there. Did you notice what I left out? Rings. Do not buy your girlfriend a ring until it’s the ring.

What style of jewelry should I buy her? Think about your woman’s clothing style. Is it classic, edgy, glam, preppy, romantic, bohemian, hipster, minimalist, sporty, or eclectic? Does she like to dress up when she goes out or does she keep it casual? Does she wear bold colors or prints, or does she like a more muted palette? Describe all of this to the salesperson, and she should be able to point you in the right direction.

How much should I spend? Mostly that depends on your budget, but here are some guidelines: Don’t spend anywhere close to what you would on an engagement ring, but don’t buy her a cubic zirconia knock-off either. Start with something on the low-end in the beginning of your relationship, and spend progressively more after that.

Is she going to act like she loves it, but secretly wish she could return it? Very possible. Jewelry can be hard to get right. Still some women may prefer you to do the heavy lifting, but I personally am a big fan of my man letting me pick the piece out myself, and I know I’m not alone in that. You can make arriving at the jewelry shop a romantic surprise and then let her do the shopping. This is basically every woman’s dream. But make sure you pick a store that sells pieces within your budget!

“Because I Like You” Gifts: Gift giving in the early stages of courtship can really help take your relationship to the next level. But you don’t want to come on too strong and scare the woman off. So the gift should be inexpensive and silly, as if to say “I’ve been paying attention because I like you.” Hopefully you have been paying attention, because the best novelty gift should be very personal. Perhaps she’s mentioned that she once stole a pack of watermelon bubble gum as a kid, or that her favorite Jerry Seinfeld episode was the one with the black and white cookies. Find her that very specific thing to let her know you’ve been hanging on her every word. Make it funny and light-hearted, and you’re sure to win her over without looking like a sap.

“Because I Love You” Gifts: Money can’t buy a woman’s love, just as it can’t prove yours. The best way to show your woman you love her is with a big romantic gesture. This gift should be a surprise and without agenda. The only purpose is to make your woman feel special, and in turn you win her affection and probably more sex too. You don’t need to spend money, you just need to get creative and perhaps a bit sappy.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Make a video that portrays the story of your relationship.

Put together a scavenger hunt with a series of clever and romantic clues.

Take her on a surprise picnic.

Write her a poem or love letter.

Serve her breakfast in bed.

Create a playlist for her commute to work and include a heartfelt message.

Call in sick to work and take a spontaneous day trip with her.

“Let’s Fuck More” Gifts: Gifting your woman with lingerie is a win-win. It makes your woman feel sexy which in turn means more sex for you. Lingerie is the perfect way for you to communicate your desire for more sexy time without coming off as critical or demanding. If you want your woman to put more effort into being sexy, save yourself the fight and don’t tell her with words, help her with lingerie. If you do accidentally tell her that you would like her to give you more sex and for her to look better doing it, then give her lingerie, plus some flowers, and maybe jewelry too. Here’s a guide for buying lingerie:

Where to go:

Victoria’s Secret is the Toyota Corolla of lingerie. It’s affordable, and it gets the job done, but it’s not luxurious. If you’re early on in the relationship, start here.

Your local lingerie boutique will have a lot of mid-range lingerie lines, comparable to an entry-level Lexus or BMW. Plus these shops typically come with a helpful sales lady who has a passion for lingerie. This is a good place to shop for your girlfriend of a year or two.

Agent Provocateur is the Porsche of lingerie. Shop here if you can afford it and your relationship has the staying power to justify such an investment. Warning: once your woman tries Agent Provocateur (or drives a Porsche), nothing else will do.

What To Buy: The best thing you can get your woman is a lingerie set. A set includes a matching bra, panty, garter belt, and stockings. It’s possible to buy each item separately, but that would be like buying your woman a car without the tires. The key is to hand her a gift that she can take out for a spin right out of the box.

Sizing: Before you go to the store, sneak into your woman’s lingerie drawer to figure out her size. Determine her bra size (cup and band), panty size, garter belt size, and stocking size.

Here are the size ranges:

Bra Band Size: 30, 32, 34, 36

Bra Cup Size: A, B, C, D, DD, E, F

Panty Size: XS, S, M, L, XL

Garter Belt Size: 1, 2, 3, 4

Stockings Size: A, B, C, D

Remember, a gift is only a good as the intention behind it. Even a diamond ring that screams “I love you” won’t feel like enough if your woman doesn’t believe the message. Material things can never replace the gift of love, and your woman wants both. Also, don’t forget that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, because I promise you your girlfriend hasn’t.