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Gift your valentine, not her kitchen

Chocolates for Valentine's Day
Chocolates for Valentine's Day
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, but the way to a woman’s heart is definitely not through her kitchen.

Women who love to cook-- and even those who are not that fond of cooking-- will often make a special meal or a special treat as a gesture of affection. No many should mistake that as an invitation to give their sweetie or even their mom a pot, pan, or peppermill as a Valentine’s Day gift. This is one of the mistakes men make, the kind that makes women roll their eyes, complain to their girlfriends, the kind of error that can even spark a fight (and not in a good way).

So, guys, even if your girlfriend has been eyeing a particular mixing bowl or cookbook, it is not the appropriate gift for Valentine’s Day. Buy her flowers, candy, jewelry, or a nice scarf, take her out for dinner, or even make dinner yourself (although your go-to five-alarm chili may not be the most romantic meal you can create).

Most grocery stores have floral departments, and during the week of Valentine’s Day, mixed bouquets abound, and roses are often on sale. If your gal likes a particular flower-- say, Asiatic lilies, or freesia-- this might be a good time to indulge in those (although you can hit a home run any time of the year by coming home with a single lily or rose. Not a potted plant, though-- save that for your mom.)

And most grocery stores have chocolate on sale in February. It’s a rare woman who doesn’t like chocolate-- but you need to be aware if your sweetie isn’t sweet on that flavor. Some women prefer fruit flavors, or spicy cookies. If you haven’t taken the time to find out her preference, your gift may be an epic fail.

And if she’s been on a diet, this is not the occasion for a five-pound box from Godiva or Hershey’s. Think, instead, about something less caloric, like a scarf (which will fit now and after she sheds those twenty pounds). Then take her out for dinner to a restaurant that has a really great salad bar, so she can have the option of indulging while sticking to her weight loss plan.

But skip the whisk, the cake pan, or the mixing bowl set. There isn’t a less romantic gift in existence.