Just in case you missed the sudden armada of stuffed animals with heart-emblazoned chests that have formed ranks on aisle four in your local grocery store, or in the event that you have escaped the sudden onslaught of ethnically-diverse Kay Jewelers commercials, or if you have circumvented the overwhelming amount of theatrical releases of hastily produced rom-coms… If you have evaded all of this, I am here to inform you that Valentine’s Day is upon us once more.

Through either bad luck or carefully constructed, subconscious self-sabotage, I have never been in a relationship over Valentine’s Day. Consequently, I have never had to buy a Valentine’s Day gift.

A little while back I asked my three guy friends– Aaron, Jason and Michael– to help me compile a list of “10 Signs He Is Not Mr. Right,” so I thought I would ask their opinion on Valentine’s Day gift giving.

They drew on personal experiences to help me compile this list that is filled with suggestions that may seem “common sense” or “obvious” or “plain stupid.” But just remember that someone, somewhere will be giving their significant other a keychain, and if I make even one person forgo such an egregious error then, on the night of February 14th, I will sleep soundly in my singularity.

1. Spongebob Chia Pet

Aaron: “But the Chia Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle are acceptable.”

2. Socker Boppers or Moon Shoes

Jason: “I have never given anyone these, so I am not sure if these would be a bad gift or an amazing gift.”

3. Plastic Roses

Aaron: “Get her real flowers. But don’t give her flowers you picked yourself until you have checked for bees.”

4. A keychain

Michael: “She was always losing her keys so I thought it would be like a practical and useful gift. Also, it had a surfing penguin on it so…”

5. A Live Animal

Jason: “Have you guys ever thought ‘Man, she is gonna love this hamster.’ No? Just me?”

6. A Taxidermied Animal

Jason: “Have you guys ever thought ‘She is gonna get a kick out of his squirrel dressed up as a cowboy.’ Only to find out that she doesn’t.”

7. Black Licorice

Michael: “Because no one ever deserves that.”

8. A balloon that says “Happy Mother’s Day”

Aaron: “I was in a rush and grabbed the nearest inflated thing. It was a mistake that only Freud could dream of. We ended up having an hour-long conversation about the psychological implications of my gift”.

9. A Book on WWII airplanes

Michael: ” I don’t know– she liked airplanes. Looking back on it, I see my error.”

10. Something that you actually want for yourself

Aaron: “I bought my middle school girlfriend heelies… in my size. We broke up, it was probably for the best.”

Remember, the above should be read as sardonic guidelines for your gift-giving consideration. Maybe a Spongebob Chia Pet is exactly what your significant other wants, and maybe that is exactly why you are with them.

Picking out a present for someone you care about can be stressful. So, I hope that these alleviated some of your stress by showing you that you could do worse. Much worse.

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