January 22nd, 2021 / posted by paularath

Photo courtesy of Spanx

Note to readers: I totally get that most of my readers are women. So I’m writing this for you so you can pass it on to HIM in time for a thoughtful Valentine’s shopping excursion. And, hey, maybe I can help save a relationship with a little piece of advice about Valentine’s gift giving.

Valentine’s Day might be the holiday most paved with pitfalls. Some guys just don’t get it. Spanx is NOT an appropriate gift for a woman at any time, much less the holiday that celebrates love. C’mon, guys! Just try for a minute to see it her way. What is the message you send if you give a woman a gift of Spanx? Well, I can tell you several likely scenarios upon the unwrapping:

  • She will throw it in your face, then throw you out.
  • She will burst into tears and run away without a word.
  • She will scream: “You think I’m fat!” (And that’s the conclusion driving the first two scenarios too.)

Another Valentine’s gift booboo: an appliance, any appliance: vacuum cleaner, toaster, waffle iron, panini maker, dust buster. Is this gift for her so she can do stuff for you? Uh oh. The same goes for a gadget that you probably want more than she does.

Photo courtesy of Wolford

Lingerie is a gift that can backfire. Unless you have supreme confidence in her taste (would she actually prefer a flannel nightie from the Vermont Country Store?), lingerie can be a tacky, trite gift, or a flattering one. And, uh, sizing is a minefield. The best way to be safe with sizing is to check some of her favorite bras and panties or slips or nighties. If you’re not certain of sizes, the smart move is to go bigger on the bra size and smaller on the bottom.

Rumi Murakami’s Gwen Shirt
Photo courtesy Rumi Murakami

Clothing can be a welcome gift, especially if it’s something you know she wants (if you’ve been paying attention to subtle hints.) But the sizing advice for lingerie is just as true for clothing. Again, do your best to shop local. We have fabulous designers in every category, from work wear to evening gowns and bikinis. The blouse above is by Rumi Murakami, who recently opened a studio in Kaimuki. She can offer you great advice.

Perfume is lovely if you know what her favorite scent is. (And you get extra points for knowing that!) If she already has the perfume or cologne, perhaps you can buy her a body lotion or shower gel to match. One caveat: Avoid a scent that was beloved by a former girlfriend or spouse.

Bliss Lau Black Jade pendant from Bliss Lau NY, a local girl who grew up in Manoa

Jewelry is usually a welcome gift, especially if she has been shopping with you and mentioned a piece in a window that she loves. Sizing is not a problem with jewelry, but taste is.  Does she usually wear silver or gold? What is her birthstone? Does she choose pieces that are bold or delicate? Funky or classic? And please consider one of the many outstanding local jewelry makers we have in Hawaii.

Of course flowers and chocolate are always traditional and appreciated, but Valentine’s isn’t the time to buy flowers at the supermarket or chocolates at the drug store. Make sure they’re special. And don’t forget that Hawaii has some delicious chocolates right here. Diamond Head Chocolates is now available at Kahala Mall and Ward Center.

Perhaps you have a talent that you can share for Valentine’s Day. A poem, a song, a potted plant, a handmade cupcake or a hand painted card? My husband, Jerry Mayfield, delights me every year with a watercolor card that features hearts in one form or another. They are whimsical and loving and I have kept every one of them. He made the border with ohe kapala (carved bamboo sticks, a method used by the ancient Hawaiians to print kapa) a craft he studied with Philip Markwart. Here’s the one from 2001:

Jerry’s hand painted watercolor Valentine from 2001

One year Jerry was in San Francisco at my favorite card shop, Avant Card on Grant Street. He bought 14 Valentine’s cards, each hand painted with the word for “love” in a different language. I have some of them framed in the bedroom and appreciate them every day.

Jerry sent me a Valentine each day one year.

There’s one other thing I am sure your Valentine will appreciate: Don’t give her the job of planning your Valentine’s Day date night. Have courage and take on the task yourself.

Paula Rath

What are they saying?
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Duncan Graham
January 27th, 2021 at 1:23 am

Ah, Jerry’s such a romantic.

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