Like many things in Western civilization, Valentine’s Day began as a Roman pagan holiday. In this case, the original version of the holiday was called Lupercalia, which involved drunken, naked men hitting women for the sake of fertility. Fun! The holiday was eventually appropriated by Catholicism to honor a couple of saints who both happened to be named Valentine. But it took Chaucer and his contemporaries to make Valentine’s Day romantic. A line in Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules may be the first recorded association of Valentine’s Day as a romantic day:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
This Valentine’s Day, why not make like Chaucer’s birds, and stay in and nest while consuming your favorite movies, music, books, and TV shows? Plus, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Are you really going out on a Tuesday? You’re not crazy. But just because you are staying in for the night doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the pagan side of the holiday and let your lazy hedonist free for the evening. Here is the Overthinking It Gift Guide and Shopping List for having both a romantic and indulgent night in.
You may be wondering “what does a mortar and pestle have to do with love? Is this a weird cynical message about how monogamous commitment “grinds us down”?” First of all, this is not a mortar and pestle-it’s a molcajete, which is a Mexican mortar and pestle, and therefore is much cooler. Second of all, as Freud said, a molcajete is just a molcajete. If you and your loved one will be spending Valentine’s Day on the couch at home, you will need excellent snack sustenance. What better snack is there than freshly ground guacamole? Avocado is the pork belly of fruit—a fatty delightful mouth party. Think of how impressed your S.O. will be when you surprise him or her with the couch-side theater of making fresh guacamole in an artisanal (well maybe not artisanal, but it sure feels like it) molcajete, the joy in his or her eyes when you add that fresh squeeze of lime juice and those sweet out-of-season cherry tomatoes (or cilantro, if you’re nasty). It’s like visiting Rosa Mexicano but you don’t even have to wear pants.
This cashmere throw blanket needs no justification. Perfect for fostering intimacy and some good old-fashioned Danish hygge (hygge, the Danish art of coziness, is huge this year).
But why stop at a cashmere blanket? Why keep your coziness at a slight remove? Wrap yourself in the ultimate lazy person’s uniform: an adult size sloth onesie. Nothing says “I am committed to spending tonight at home with you” better than dressing like a sloth.
Yes, chocolate on Valentine’s Day it’s so…cliché, so hashtag basic. My friends, we know you are not basic. But this is a red box full of 36 mini-chocolate bars in bizarre flavors, like Maple Bacon, Pop Corn Pop and Firecracker (which has “popping candy” in the bar, a.k.a. generic Pop Rocks). This isn’t just a sweet gift but a shared experience for the both of you, a chocolate tasting menu that will take you on a vast journey through the peaks and valleys of flavor and texture. This box isn’t just an invitation to overindulge, but an opportunity for growth and discovery, a chance to learn who you really are. Are you a maple bacon man? Just how sweet and/or simultaneously salty is your S.O.? Do either of you like candied orange?
Self-Care (a.k.a. Charmander and Chill)
You are at home, relaxing. Consider taking this time to care for that body of yours which propels you day in and day out. After all, what is more indulgent and romantic than self-care? Nothing makes me feel more like a demigod than a hot Epsom salt soak. These Epsom salts come in several varieties, including a scented lavender variety to help put you to sleep. What is more romantic than the kind of deep trust one must feel to be able to comfortably fall asleep in front of another human being, someone who accepts you for the snoring, drooling, hypnic jerking freak you are? And while you are at it, give yourself a Charmander grapefruit sheet mask treatment. That’s right, you read correctly- you can give yourself a Pokemon facial. That exists on the internet. You’re welcome.
Or you can just get your Valentine this dog. It’s cute and makes for an awkward but soft pillow. When not being employed as an awkward pillow, you can let it sit there, staring at you both, the proverbial “stuffed dog in the room” as you wonder whether you will ever want to have children together, or if you wasted your 20s on this relationship and were a better match with your college sweetheart, who really got you, and how you still don’t have a career or how maybe you will never really find a real purpose in life, but what does it matter, climate change will soon flood your hometown out of existence in the next 50 years and your parents are on the slow trajectory to death….WHOOOOOOOA that got dark. Cute stuffed dog! With a giant rose! ADORABLE!