It's a truth universally acknowledged that men tend to be near impossible to shop for. 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.
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 (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 can't wait to hit the road again: Best Made Limited-Edition Nature's Heart Bandana, $25
If he's emotional about national parks — what? That's a thing! — this bandana will let him wipe his eyes in the most appropriate way.
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 Limited Edition Red Hot Always Pan Bundle, $175
The pan that's forever selling out is back — for a limited time — in this special bright red hue. And yes, it really does do it all.
For the guy who's into Tom of Finland: Jonathan Adler Macho Macho Mug, $32
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 AM routine, no matter how he likes his coffee.
For the guy who practically (or literally) lives outside: Breeo X-series Firemaster Package, $779
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 generally (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 Bundle, $75
The fabulous Beekman boys have channeled their inner David Rose with this latest collection, and the results are, well — you can read the tote.
For the guy with a serious sunglasses collection: KOMOLab Valet Tray, $85
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, $12
If you and your boo had a standing art museum date for Valentines' past, a poster from 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: DRAM Bitters Gift Set, $30
With unusual flavors like Palo Santo, this sampler from DRAM will give some unexpected edge to his Old Fashioneds.
For the guy who is "clear" on his music preferences: Transparent Sound Small Transparent Speaker, $550
No, he probably still won't let you curate the playlist, but at least the musical decor will be up to your standard.
For the guy who's finally ready to upgrade from Old Spice: Hawthorne Work & Play Custom 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 Wheel-On Bike Trainer, $500
Spin class? What's a spin class?
For the guy who's on the verge of a breakthrough with his novel: Olivetti Valentine Typewriter, $508
Even if the book advance doesn't pan out, this MoMA-approved 1960s design by Ettore Sottsass will definitely stand the test of time.
Somewhere between a letter opener and a boxcutter, 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 exotic chip flavors: MOUTH Snack subscription, $60/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 Auto Fragrance, $10
So much better smelling than hanging one of those old-school pine trees from the rear-view 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, $30
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 R2D2 Popcorn Popper, $100
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 AM 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 re-runs: Tom Dixon Tank High Ball Glasses, Set of 2, $110
A little midcentury, a little space-age, and definitely destined to be the coolest thing on his bar cart.
For the only guy you'd ever ride a bicycle built for two with: Billykirk No. 211 Frame Bike Pouch, $115
This sleek on-frame bike pouch will stand up to his 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?
Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.