It's a truth universally acknowledged that men tend to be near impossible to shop for, whether they're a significant other or your own dad — that is, unless they happen to have some extremely specific and always-evolving hobby or interest, in which case you're probably set for life, you lucky duck, you.
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Most gifting options targeted toward men (especially, it bears repeating, around Valentine's Day) operate under the assumption that the fellow in question is indistinguishable from a one-dimensional caricature — an Outdoorsman, a Video Game Dude, a Man Who Drinks Alcohol (and the list goes on). But what if your guy is more complex than those cardboard cutouts? To be fair, most humans are.
We've got a few ideas. They might play into a trope or two but hopefully with just a skosh more nuance. (And if not, there's always next year.)
For the guy who's trying to keep his phone out of the bedroom: Schoolhouse Analog Flip Clock, $99
Flip-board technology may have been retired from Grand Central Station, but it can live on in your bedroom.
For the guy who knows how to get steamy in the kitchen: Our Place Always Pan, $145
The iconic Always Pan is a forever favorite for any home chef, especially with its dreamy hues that will complement any kitchen. And yes, it really does do it all.
For the guy who's into Tom of Finland: Jonathan Adler Utopia Macho Man Mug, $34
If he's less of a macho man and more "Macho Macho Man, Yeah!," this tongue-in-cheek, two-sided mug will be an irresistible addition to his morning routine no matter how he likes his coffee.
For the guy who practically (or literally) lives outside: Breeo X Series 19 Smokeless Fire Pit, $349+
Okay — it looks like a fire pit, but it's not just a fire pit. It gives your guy the power of a grill, a 360-degree sear plate (think: Hibachi vibes), and even a little cauldron that can hang from a stake over the smokeless fire. So, whether he's just been spending more time entertaining outside in general (gestures broadly at 2020-2021) or he's bordering on "prepper" territory, he's set.
For the guy who really, really can't stop trying to nail the Moira Rose accent: Beekman 1802 x Schitt's Creek Rose Apothecary Whipped Body Cream, $38
The fabulous Beekman boys have channeled their inner David Rose with this limited-edition collection.
For the guy with a serious sunglasses collection: Komolab Valet Tray, $85
Here's a handmade walnut tray lined in natural felt to keep those sunnies (or watch bands or trinkets...) lookin' good.
For the guy who's rereading Kerouac: HAY Turn On Table Lamp, $175
If reading is his passion, this sleek table lamp from HAY offers just the right amount of ambient light for before-bed page-turners. Plus, the cylindrical aluminum base can be turned up or down depending on the vibes.
For the guy who likes his modern art a little on the rude side: Baron Von Fancy "Double Tap Me" Poster, $30
If you and your boo had a standing art museum date for Valentines' past, a poster from the artist-collab shop Prospect is the perfect way to keep the tradition alive (in a way).
For the guy who's upgrading his home cocktail game: Uncommon Goods Cocktail Bitters Set, $37
With flavors like smoked chili, this sampler from Uncommon Goods will give some unexpected edge to his Old Fashioneds.
For the guy who is "clear" on his music preferences: Transparent Sound White Speaker, $549
No, he probably still won't let you curate the playlist, but at least the musical decor will be up to your standards.
For the guy who's finally ready to upgrade from Old Spice: Hawthorne Work & Play Tailored Cologne, $100
The days where every dude smelled like Axe Body Spray are long gone (thank goodness), and now it's all about originality. Hawthorne lets thoughtful gifters take a quiz about the guy in question and develops two personalized colognes based on the results — one for work, and one for play — so you can guarantee he won't open your V-Day gift and sigh, "Oh, I have this already."
For the guy who has brought his bike obsession indoors: Wahoo Kickr Snap Bike Trainer, $499.99
Spin class? What's a spin class?
For the guy who's on the verge of a breakthrough with his novel: Blick American Crafts Typewriter, $199
Even if the book advance doesn't pan out, this retro design is fully functional and can act as a fun home decor accent too.
Somewhere between a letter opener and a box cutter, this sleek "desk knife" looks impressive when not in use (and will make short work of breaking down all those cardboard mailers).
For the guy who always knows which bodega has the best chip flavors: Mouth Snack Subscription, $60 per month
Let's be honest, this is kind of a gift for you too (if you happen to cohabitate).
For the guy who just learned what Oud is and won't stop talking about it: D.S. & Durga Holy Ficus Auto Fragrance, $12
It's so much better-smelling than hanging one of those old-school pine trees from the rearview mirror.
For the guy who just wants to stay in and lay around on Sunday: COYUCHI Unisex Cloud Loom Organic Robe, $148
We have it on good authority that dudes love these robes. They're soft, they're airy, and since they're from COYUCHI, you know they're way better for the environment than anything he'd buy himself. (Each robe equates to four miles of driving emissions avoided and 997 days of drinking water saved, according to the company. So it's three gifts in one, really.)
For the guy who always has White Light/White Heat spinning on his turntable: Do Angels Need Haircuts? by Lou Reed, $22.46
Post-Velvet-Underground Lou Reed lyricism for the coffee table.
For the guy who keeps explaining that "Baby Yoda" isn't the actual Yoda: Williams Sonoma Star Wars R2D2 Popcorn Maker, $99.95
The advent of Star Wars crossover kitchen appliances is eternally bewildering, but this is actually pretty awesome.
For the guy who is particular about his a.m. routine — but not in a Patrick Bateman kind of way: Discommon Straight Razor, $800
Aerospace-grade aluminum + a very cool profile = a super-close shave for guys who like gadgetry.
For the guy who takes notes during Mad Men reruns: Tom Dixon Tank High Ball Glasses (set of 2), $115
A little midcentury, a little space age, and definitely destined to be the coolest thing on his bar cart.
For the only guy with whom you'd ever ride a bicycle built for two: BillyKirk No. 211 Frame Bike Pouch, $185
This sleek on-frame bike pouch will stand up to its fair share of spills, inadequate bike infrastructure, and altercations with kids on Lime scooters. Plus, you can opt to have it embossed with initials (or three other significant characters) for a more personal touch. Aren't bikes romantic?
For the guy who's a self-proclaimed plant dad: The Sill Classic Plant Subscription, $50+
Whether he's a new plant parent or has a hefty collection, any plant lover will appreciate a subscription from The Sill.
For the guy who is obsessed with his dog: Dog Threads Great Plains Flannel for Pups + People, $42+
You know the saying that humans and their pets start to look alike? Well, this matching flannel set will speed up the process.
For the guy who loves Ryan Reynolds: Aviation American Gin With Two Glasses Gift Set, $27.99
If your guy loves gin and Ryan Reynolds, this one is a no-brainer.
For the guy who picked up indoor rock climbing and now wants to try it IRL: 57Hours Adventures, price varies per person and trip
Put those indoor rock-climbing skills to the test with guided adventures all over the world.
For the guy who says he's not into astrology but low-key is: Uncommon Goods Written in the Stars Birth Chart Class, $60
See what's in the stars with a 12-month astrological forecast with astrologer Emily Klintworth.
For the guy who always says, "I think I should start a podcast": Blue Snowball iCE Plug 'n Play USB Microphone, $39.99
Here's an affordable and highly rated Amazon find to finally get that podcast started.
For the guy who swears he doesn't like The Bachelor but gets mad when you watch it without him: UrbanStems The Finesse Bouquet, $80
A sweet but not so subtle reminder that watching The Bachelor together is appreciated but not always guaranteed.