Save for the boldest, most men instinctively cringe at the mention of February 14th. It’s not out of distaste for love—on the contrary, love is great—but pomp, circumstance, and popular culture have built up such high expectations that it’s hard to come out on top. To help you thrive this Valentine’s Day, here are eight essential items to have by your side.
Though you may be partial to deep, musky colognes, Valentine’s Day is no time to smell like your partner’s granddad. If you choose to wear a fragrance, go with a bright, citrus scent—English Laundry Signature adds a touch of spicy coriander to keep things interesting.
A good deodorant is a dating fundamental—no suitor should have to fear sweat stains, even in a hot and crowded restaurant. Jack Black Pit Boss uses a high-powered formula to keep sweat and odor in check, and what’s more, its light citrus fragrance won’t clash with your cologne.
We all love the silky embrace of wispy, well-worn boxers, but if there’s ever a time to bring your underwear A-game, it’s Valentine’s Day. Swap out your standard boxers (or heaven forbid, your tighty whities) for a slim pair of boxer briefs, like this number from MeUndies.
A great hairdo will undoubtedly draw some gazes, but if all goes according to plan, it should draw some caresses as well. To accommodate, steer clear of crunchy, crispy gels, and choose a high-hold styler with a soft, touchable finish, like Sachajuan Hair Paste.
While a good styler should keep your hair firmly in place, accidents do happen, and a 10-minute break to fix up your pompadour simply isn’t an option. Keep a sturdy pocket comb on hand (or rather, in pocket) to ensure a quick recovery. For a comb befitting a gentleman, try Baxter of California.
A warm, witty love note makes a great start to any V-Day date. That said, the cards in a picked-over drugstore aisle don’t leave you much to work with. These love notes from Page Stationery strike the right balance between romance and restraint, with a series of lighthearted designs, and plenty of room for your amorous prose (or a sonnet, if you dare).
It’s one thing to come prepared, but Valentine’s Day is no time to be predictable. To keep things interesting, enhance your outfit with an offbeat accessory—the more character the better. A bracelet or tie bar are both fine options, but if you’re really going for broke, a bright blue lapel flower is hard to beat.
While gift ideas abound on your very first Valentine’s Day, the same can’t be said for your fifth. Or your tenth. For a sentimental gift that’s sure not to backfire, equip your partner with a Birchbox Gift Subscription. A personalized profile ensures they’ll like what they get, and better yet, they’ll be reminded of your caliber every time their open a box.
Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.