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Valentines day is great – if you’re a woman in a relationship. For the lovelorn man in her life, Valentines day can present something of an annual challenge.
For men, the day consists of trying to undertake some traditional manly duties – booking dinner, paying for dinner and presenting trinkets of love. This involves NOT going to Pizza Express, GBK or anywhere with a set menu (and if you really have too, don’t use a voucher for gods sake), buying time (together) appropriate gifts, choosing wine, picking flowers, adapting romantic lines from movies so they sound like something you’ve come up with , and generally trying to act like Don Draper whilst you’re at it.
Stressful times for the non-Casanova I’m sure you’ll agree, and all this in the name of a christian martyr who inconveniently lost his head, so unfortunately he can’t be given a hearty slap.
So it is, in the interests of wider gender equality that we provide a brief buyers guide concerning gifts for the men-folk in your lives this coming Valentines. It’s is fair to say that most men do actually enjoy giving gifts for their significant other, but they rarely expect any in return. So why not surprise them this year and make Valentines Day something for them to look forward too in the future with little something special (for the record skinflints, sex does not count).
Here are our recommendations:
I) Love Letters of Great Men, £10.95
Featured in some movie about women in New York having intercourse, the book itself is actually a fantastic collection of exceptionally romantic letters, some of which are genuinely moving; Napoleon and Ludwig Van Beethoven stand out. Simply pop up some fairy lights and have your partner adopt their best Patrick Stewart impression and let him read aloud long into the night.
II) Wet Shave at Murdock, £36
He may at first be a little suspicious that you’re wanting to change his appearance, but he’ll soon forget that when he enters Murdock, a gentlemen’s paradise in all but name.
III) 2 Man by Comme De Garçon’s at Niven & Joshua, £48
Buying fragrances can be a tricky one, it’s a pretty personal thing. There is also the mass marketing to contend with it’s whole alphabet of pretentious (even by my standards), meaningless names. Whereas most colognes seek to express the “softer side” of a man’s personality, 2 Man goes all out in the other direction. It’s a cologne formulated to represent masculinity; using vetiver, leather and mahogany to effectively represent it. 2 Man isn’t reminiscent of men’s changing room however; the lighter notes of nutmeg and saffron bring a subtlety that makes the cologne’s overall impact appealing to both men and women.
IV) Drive (Blu-Ray), £8
In that same way you love Ryan Gosling in ‘The Notebook’ (officially considered the third worst film ever made), he loves Ryan Gosling in Drive (he probably quite likes Christina Hendricks too, who also features) Get the most out of the neon Eighties visuals and too-cool-for school soundtrack by watching it on Blue-Ray.
V) Underwear, Sunspel, currently £10
Given that we’ve featured plenty of beautiful Lingerie on The Holborn, it’s only fair that we get the chap properly kitted out too. Generally try to go for something classic, novelty love hearts may seem fun, but from a distance it may look like he’s had a fungal outbreak. These nautical stripe trunks from Suspel are just colourful enough to represent themselves a present and are made fitted (it is Valentines) in a super soft egyptian cotton. As expected with Sunspel, they’re made in England.
VI) Tuck Shop Hamper, £34.50
It’s fair to say a great deal of men miss childhood, waving round a specially selected stick, beating their dad for the first time on Mario Kart 64′ and eating their own body-weight in gelatin. Help them re-capture some of that magic, and help increase their dentistry bills with this handsome box of retro sweets, complete with sweet shop -style paper bags (as if they’ll want to share).
VII) BFI (British Film institute) Gift Membership, £40
Ensure yourself plenty of decent night outs to come, who knows you might even get to see ‘Bringing Up Baby’ (above), ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ or… ‘Jurassic Park’ ! Membership brings with it discounts, special events and free screenings.
VIII) Woodford Reserve £28.89
If the man you’re buying for fancies himself something of a Mad Man, then help him to start drinking like one, no more Rose spritzers or Appletini’s. Woodford’s is a sour mash straight bourbon made at Kentucky’s oldest distillery. It is the only bourbon which is triple distilled in copper pot stills, the time-honoured method of production. It is then aged in new charred American oak barrels in the stone ageing warehouses alongside Glenn’s Creek. In other words, delicious.
IX) Hawksmoor At Home £16.00
Beef & Liberty! Essentially a bible for the meat lover from the home of London’s best Sunday roast. There are some great recipes in here including the Kimchi Burger, Macaroni with a Shin of Beef and the secret of a well cooked steak. Check out the Cocktails recipes too on how to make a proper Old Fashioned.
X) There’s little worse when it comes to nurturing romance than fannying around. So if you actually like the guy, just give him a kiss.