Privilege Blog

6 Ways To Win A Sturdy Gal’s Valentine Heart

Cue brief spate of curmudgeonly grumbling. Valentine’s Day, like Christmas at its nadir, has a bad habit of turning substandard stuff into “gifts.” I mean, if you didn’t want the bouquet of blackening roses and baby’s breath on February 13th, you probably don’t want it on the 14th either. So say Sturdy Gals.

However, give us something useful, we’re yours. If it’s also sweet, soft, sensual? Were yours for life. So how to transmute Valentine’s dross into red glitter? To whit.

1. Chocolate. Given the gourmetization of bar chocolate, i.e. hot pepper, ginger, and bacon flavors lining grocery shelves, one does not perhaps need boxed chocolates. However, Sturdy Gals know that one of the best ways to keep their waistlines in, well, line, is to deceive the cravings for cake and brownies with hot chocolate in 1% milk. And that Dagoba makes incredible cocoa powder. A tin of Dagoba, and a new mug, now that could warm the Sturdy February heart.


2. Flowers. I confess. If I am Grande anywhere, it’s with flowers. Significant Husband has sent me 3-Dozen-Red-Roses-No-Filler on Valentine’s Day, via 1-800-Flowers, for the last several years. The extravagance might be because I said anything less than 3 dozen wasn’t worth the effort. Unless that was some other diva talking.

3 Dozen Red Roses, No Filler

3. Underwear. What’s with the giving of uncomfortable underpinnings? The usually tractable Sturdy is apt to stomp around when presented with scratchy anything. Stabby underwires add injury to insult. But a pair of Swiss cotton somethings? As in, from Hanro? They last 5 times as long as Fruit of the Loom from Big Chain Store. Trust me.

All right then! And shipping with Amazon Prime is both practical and gratifying.

Cotton and lace Hanros

4. Silk pajamas? No again. Sturdy Gals wear pajamas to get the mail, take out the garbage, and, occasionally, deadhead rose bushes in the wee morning hours. Give us flannel. We will pay deference to the holiday by forsaking a matching top for a stretch cotton-blend camisole. We’ll even pink ourselves up something fierce.


5. Bedding. For the ultimate in practical Valentine’s Day presents, why not just buy us a whole new bed? That’s where this is all going, right? Sturdy Gals can occasionally be blunt. How about organic cotton sheets, and a reclaimed wood headboard? More pink, courtesy of the house. Via Coyuchi.


6. And finally, because High WASPs have extraordinary powers to convince themselves that jewelry is useful, let’s pause for a reminder that Beladora’s code, New Year, for $150 off any purchase of $750 and over, is good until the 14th. A sapphire heart for $1450. Raw and fancy, both. Or, because pretending is often as good as the real thing, an emerald by Asprey & Garrard for $18,850.


Or, I say, go kiss somebody. Surprise them. Sturdy Gals love to say that’s a perfectly sufficient present, in and of itself.

41 Responses

  1. I say give me an experience. Tickets to ANYTHING. Even a Monster Truck Rally. (I’ve never been.) Just not tickets to a movie-that shows lack of imagination.

  2. This Sturdy Artsy Grande wants that Steven Alan blue jacket from yesterday, tie it up with a pair of those plaid flannels above, and trim the package with a few long spears of freshly-cut rosemary.

  3. Ye Gods, let’s all run screaming from those tired, wilting, it’s-really-an-afterthought red-rose bouquets that lurk like cheap streetwalkers near every check-out stand. If I want to see crepey texture and brown spots, I can always look a little too closely in the mirror.
    I’m on board the Sturdy train here: flannel PJs in a fun print, an $11 bar of 3-oz artisanal chocolate rather than a large heart-shaped box bedecked like a Mafia funeral wreath…I’m your girl. But my Artsy soul is a sucker for the Valentine’s collages Mr. Artsy makes me. That and a good foot massage on the couch: I’m with Nancy on the choice experience thing!

    1. To Lauren:

      You know, come to think of it, if Mr Artsy came home with an actual Mafia funeral wreath for Valentine’s Day, I think that WOULD tickle me so much that a vow renewal would be in order!

  4. When I was in school I had a parttime job at a bridal salon. Many of our customers came in the day after they became engaged. Anyway, one young lady had a heart shaped diamond engagement ring. Ever since then I’ve been a sucker for them. Even better would be if the emerald were a ruby!

  5. I adore chocolate. We usually have a lovely dinner out. Time with my husband and a wonderful meal make a great gift.

  6. I am rather smitten by chocolate bars with salt crystals and I would never say no to a new orchid or a bare root David Austin rose bush for the garden.
    I do often feel like Valentines is a bit of a Hallmark event….but I am a sucker for those mushy golden retriever cards….they melt my heart every time.

  7. Wonderful suggestions! I have to let you know that I am getting the bangles from Beladora for a combined Valentine’s Day/ Anniversary present. I had been looking for a classic bracelet(s) to wear every day – I showed them to my husband and he, being the perfect husband, got them for me!

    Thank you for the suggestion and the discount!

    1. That is really exciting! I have 4-5 narrow gold bangles, and there’s almost nothing I like better for summer dressing up, or for a fancy night out on my left arm. They seem to immediately make me implausibly exotic. I hope you enjoy yours for years. Thanks for supporting Beladora – so appreciated.

  8. My sweetie & I came up with a Valentines tradition years ago that still holds. Flower – yes, but no roses, they are cliché and the practical girl in me just thinks they are marked up too much for the holiday. Chocolate – yes, but from a local chocolatier, and tell me about how you found them as we share the fruits of the discovery. Every year I am pleasantly surprised by what he has comes up with.

  9. *sitting in her jammies reading blogs*

    But jewelry IS useful! It sends a message, tells our story, even on the baseball cap-jeans-riding jacket days, a good piece of jewelry lets the world know you aren’t homeless.

    I never want flowers though – I’m a bit superstitious about cut flowers, but also in my line of work I can have all the flowers I want, and wouldn’t thank you for any of them.

    Chocolate…hmmmm now yer talking!

  10. Jewelry is useful and also thrifty, because you don’t have to buy such fancy clothes, as jewelry dresses up even jeans and a tee shirt – so it actually saves you money in the long run – (my husband has totally bought into this theory.)

  11. One of my favourite ads ever was a full page that read, “Yes, it’s a stupid, made-up holiday, but it’s her favourite stupid, made-up holiday.” Image was a pair of diamond studs.

    Love that Beladora sapphire- sentimental without being cutesy.

  12. We don’t “do” Valentine’s Day, but I’m all for presents “just because”. Right now, my preferred gift would be having an old family chair repaired – the hessian straps finally gave way and there are a lot of copper coils no longer doing their job…

  13. Does everyone do presents in the US? (Or most people?). The impression I get is that longish term partnered people don’t really do presents in the UK, but probably go out to dinner and might do a card and/or flowers.

    Husband and I do cards and usually have a nice meal out (or sometimes I make something indulgent in). This year we’re singing in the chorus for a Opera Gala concert so we’ll probably do something on Saturday instead.

  14. When I met my husband, he was a financially struggling graduate student. He made me a homemade valentine and I loved it. Now, almost 40 years later, his homemade Valentines are still my most treasured Valentine’s Day gift. And no to going out to dinner on that night–unless it is to our regular neighborhood place that does not take reservations. Because the day has become a bit contrived, I like to keep it casual.

  15. I love the Swiss cotton something’s – even better because I’m a new Amazon Prime subscriber! The gold bangle is absolutely gorgeous. Great choices, Lisa!

  16. Jockey for Her Elance cotton bikini underwear fit well and last forever. You need to try them.

    1. Hi, Vera

      Jockey has recently discontinued my go-to cotton/modal bikinis, which was tragic, as I find about one style of comfortable, properly fitting (for me) cotton-based panties per decade. I have learned to hoard. I’m excited to try your recommendation. Hopefully they come in a nice, Sturdy, disappearing flesh tone. Thanks!

  17. I love a card with a short original poem or a couple sentences about why I’m loved/fabulous/desirable. Or even just a scrap of paper with original prose that speaks to me. Ever since 2004, it’s been an invalidated wedding anniversary for me and my wife (gracias, san francisco!). That anniversary of the kickoff of marriage rights is gift enough for me!

  18. I’ve been looking for substitute for the tiny heart-shaped emerald ring my Aunt gave me when I was eight years-old for my May birthday that my trusty Hoover found before I did. I think I just found the best grown-up version I’ve ever seen in my life! Too bad at my age, I’d rather have an $18,500 travel experience than wear it’s value on my hand.
    I’m with you on Hanro, the softest cotton undergarments. I also love Garnet Hill’s organic cotton Asian-wrap pjs and cashmere-mix robes; they offer Hanro too. Look for it an their Semi-Annual sales.

  19. For the sturdy gal that is a gardener, instead of a dozen roses, give her a dozen rose bushes!! My friend’s husband gave her that for Valentines day one year – she is a big gardener and loves roses – it is one of the most romantic gifts I have ever heard of!

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