Metro Man & Metro Home

By Kyle Mancini

A corny heart-shaped card, a box of chocolates, red roses. Traditional or trite? Try something new this Valentine’s Day and you’ll find out. We’ve asked some of our readers what Valentine’s Day gift they’ve given that was most memorable to their significant others, and why…and here are some of the top responses:

Richard is 40. He lives in Brooklyn and is a graphic artist.

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“Gifts for Valentine’s Day are not really about how much you spend, but they are about the thought behind the gift. Last year I gave my girlfriend books. Three, to be exact. Jefferson in Love – which is a collection of love letters that President Jefferson wrote to Maria Cosway, Rilke On Love and Other Difficulties – a collection of poetry by the German poet, and Intimate: Nudes by Marc Baptiste – a collection of beautiful nude images by the famous photographer. She loved the books and the thought that went into selecting them, and unlike flowers or candy she still has them and still uses them.

Matt is 29. He is a Trader on Wall St. and lives in Battery Park.

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My fiancée doesn’t really care for cut flowers and she is a health-nut so chocolate is out. Our first Valentine’s Day together was, for me, a challenge. I am the typical guy who will rush to a corner market for some flowers and a box of whatever candy is left after work on Feb. 14th, so this was new territory for me. I arranged for a couples massage at Ohm Spa on 5th Ave btwn. 28th and 29th. I also had a meal prepared at one of her favorite restaurants, which I paid my sister’s roommate to pick up for me and set up in my apartment – along with champagne, candles, music, the works. She still talks about it and I have heard several of her friends say they wish their boyfriends or husbands would think of something like that.

Ira is 43. He is a Real Estate Broker and lives on the UWS.

My wife is an animal lover and advocate. She is involved with several shelters, rescue organizations and charities. A couple of years ago she was upset over a couple of horses that had been abused and taken in by a shelter. The shelter was already stretched for funds, but had committed to taking the animals. I had heard her working tirelessly to raise money to help with the care and upkeep of these neglected animals. It was just before Valentine’s day and I knew that more than anything I could give her as a token, helping with this situation and taking the stress off of her would help. I gave her a card that let her know that I still think she’s the most beautiful and amazing woman in any room, and in the card I put a sizable check to the shelter. She could hardly speak when she saw it and to this day she refers to those two horses as her Valentines. Women’s hearts are multi-faceted…if you know your woman, you know what is most important to her.

Kevin is 32. He is a musician and lives in Midtown Manhattan.

When I first moved to the city I had no money. Typical struggling musician stuff. My girlfriend from Georgia moved with me, just on the faith that we could make it in the city. Our first Valentine’s day here, I got the idea that a tour by boat around the city would be romantic. Of course, I hadn’t factored in that it was February and insanely cold. Still, she was game and we got on the Circle Line three hour cruise around Manhattan. It was great and inspiring and we kept warm by huddling together and sharing hot pretzels from the vendor on the boat. The best part of the ride was that we were almost the only people on the boat and we spent the whole time talking about how we would make it in the “big apple”. She still talks about it as her favorite Valentine’s Day ever.

Michael is 35. He is in Advertising/Marketing.

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Valentine’s Day comes so soon after Christmas that I think most guys are still shell-shocked from the money they spent on the holidays. So I guess that’s why many of the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts are a little lame. This year, I am taking a new approach. I’ve been with my girlfriend for 5 years and I know that she loves art, antique, watches, furniture. She’s “that” kind of girl. She works in a gallery in SoHo and there is an artist whose work she has admired for some time. I’ve been in contact with the gallery owner, as well as the artist and even though it’s a bit more than chocolates and roses, I know that Jessica is going to love having this new piece in her collection. This is definitely going to be my most memorable Valentine’s Day gift on record. The best part is, I can enjoy it too…and she will realize that I put some thought into it. (No, he didn’t buy the Mona Lisa! – Michael requested that we not print an image of the piece he purchased).

Originally published February 2008
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