The Surprising Things Women Actually Want For Valentine's Day

Anna Horowitz/Thrillist
Anna Horowitz/Thrillist

Anna Horowitz/Thrillist

Food -- and that doesn't mean a "romantic" dinner

While the candle-lit dinner is the expected go-to, most of the women we talked to wanted anything but. In fact, the greatest gift seems to be showing your date that you're totally cool with her crushing the greasiest gut bombs imaginable.

“I want a big-ass burger, and no judgment for how fast I eat it." - Sandra, 25

“I feel like a steak dinner is a pretty neutral place because if he thinks 'woah this is my dream girl, she actually eats' then my chances of getting laid AND having leftovers are pretty high.” - Taniya, 25

“Get me as much pizza as I realistically want to eat while you sit there and watch me put down a whole pie, while still thinking I’m the most amazing person in the world.” - Gabbi, 26

“I want that homemade pizza you implied you'd be making all the time approximately 85 dates ago." - Sophie, 28

“I want a 12-pack of tacos. Seriously. And if he throws in a gallon of iced tea, we can negotiate some… extracurriculars. All of the other crap is lost on me… all I want is tacos, iced tea, and some cuddling.” - Paula, 26

Alcohol, but it doesn't need to carry a big price tag

A pricey bottle of red might channel visions of equally red hearts and classic V-Day celebrations, but the women we talked to really weren't that picky.

“I’d really like a bottle of Yellow Tail, and an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia marathon.” - Nessa, 25

“Alcohol. I’m so, so single.” - Mel, 25

Straight cash

While we all like to think we fundamentally understand our partners better than anyone on this planet, the women we talked to were shockingly frank about the most practical gift. Hey, you tell your mom all the time just to give you cash instead of the Criterion Blu-Rays of Doctor Zhivago, and you still love her, right?

“I'd consider marrying the man who pays off my outstanding debts to the New York Public Library." - Raya, 28

"Surprise me with a romantic getaway and a generous ‘just because’ gift of a few grand in my checking account.” - Colleen, 26

Somehow DiCaprio is still on the list

It's surprising that nobody younger or with more academy awards has taken the spot as the number one celebrity requested hall pass but, hey, here we are.

“I want Leonardo DiCaprio, but I guess flowers would do." - Jacqueline, 26

Anna Horowitz/Thrillist

Lots of women just want a present in the form of slight effort

It's not shocking that women actually want you to care, but the degree to which they want you to give a damn is like so basic, dude. Really, this stuff is shockingly easy. No John Cusack-levels of uncomfortable jam boxing outside of windows required.

"Try to remember something very obscure or something your significant other only briefly mentioned. For example, I use a crap-ton of lip balm, so my girlfriend once got me a pack of my favorite as a gift. Even though we've never talked about how often I slather my lips with that stuff, her gift showed that she noticed.” - Sandra, 26

"Pay attention dude. Women perhaps aren’t the most direct and like dropping hints, but when it’s that high gift-giving season, write down whatever your partner says. Start an email draft or google drive doc, write down any desire from 'cell phone case' to the 'Kardashian mansion,' revise your list, your budget, and get creative.” - Nessa, 25

"Stalk her wish-list on Amazon or Etsy or something (she’s bound to have one if she’s broke). Sometimes, even when I’ve received a present I actually want, I’m disappointed because I feel it was so easy to figure out... I may just be insane.” - Paula, 26

“Plumb those dumb inside jokes -- if you have some weird joke between you two about Marvin the Martian, stick it on the card you're giving her. It's sweet to get something that made you both laugh, and to know your partner cared enough to remember some small detail like that.” - Sido, 23

"I want effort. Show me you put some thought behind it. Make a dinner reservation to a restaurant we’ve talked about or pick up a trinket that reminds you of me or my favorite food that I mentioned months ago." - Colleen, 26

They actually would appreciate the gift of some social media... editing

We don't often think of some slight behavioral changes as a gift, but cutting out some of the more annoying behavior way too many dudes inflict on the social media universe could be the greatest gift of all.  

“No more unsolicited nude-y pics on Snapchat. Also, pink roses.” - Yolanda, 24

“I want him to unfollow all his exes on Instagram as a token of his loyalty.” - Jasmine, 25

Sex? Sex.

When you're putting together that perfect date, planning the awesome reservation, and carefully having that gift wrapped by the person with the softest hands in the department store (you checked), you may forget one of the basic things that probably brought you together in the first place. It's not surprising that women want this, but it is surprising that plenty of them value a good romp way above all those fancy plans and gifts.

“If I just started seeing the guy, I want flowers and a lot of sex. If it's my long term boyfriend, then something more meaningful, and also sex." - Siobhan, 26

“Some slow, attentive sex with limited frills but lots of physical compliments.” - Sophie, 28 

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Anna Horowitz/Thrillist

That you actually make a card

No you don't need to break out the glitter gun, macaroni, and rubber cement (smells so good!), just some simple folded paper can win you more hearts and minds than the frilliest card from aisle three of the pharmacy.

“Making a card makes you stand out amongst the sea of basic.” - Claudia, 26

“It doesn’t cost money to put in a little time and effort. Can’t afford a card, take some printing paper and write about how wonderful I am and how lucky you are to have me.” - Naz, 26

One of the best gifts is showing them you're having a great time too

Culturally we're conditioned to consider Valentine's day a holiday for the ladies, and women totally get that and are sometimes a little weirded out by it. Few people want to feel like the total focus of attention at the price of their partner's enjoyment. Demonstrating that you're having a genuinely good time means your happy, which makes her happy! Everyone's happy!

“Valentine’s Day isn't just for your significant other, it’s for both of you. Arrange something like a spa day or a concert -- something you could enjoy together." - Samantha, 25

"I want to share a unique experience, like stargazing or a trapeze class or even a cooking class -- something I'm going to remember." - Ana, 25