25 Culturally Relevant Valentine’s Day Gifts


Chocolate! Flowers! Little beady-eyed bears holding plush hearts! No, put down your sugarcoated wallets: these are no gifts for the culture connoisseur you so ardently adore. Instead, why not earn your kisses with something a little more creative, a little more interesting, and (probably) a little more useful? Here’s a selection of romantic and culturally relevant V-Day gifts for your plugged-in sweetie. You’re welcome.

Vintage Romeo and Juliet Poster, $1,150

Adorn your love nest with this original 1955 Polish poster for Arnshtam and Lavrosky’s filmed Russian ballet adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

Cindy Crawford Tee, $60

A T-shirt that might just inspire staying in bed a little longer, $10,000 or no.

LP1 by FKA twigs (vinyl), $17.90

Perfect make-out music for the weird and the proud. Put “Two Weeks” on repeat and it will be a Valentine’s Day to remember.

“10AM Is When You Come To Me” Bone China Mug Set, $90

Wake up together with some handsy art by Louise Bourgeois.

Keith Haring Running Heart Candle, $45

Light a candle to keeping your art lover tied down.

Lyric Keychains, $15 each

Key to your heart optional.

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, trans. Anne Carson, $13.79

A gorgeous collection of remaining fragments from one of the best and sexiest poets of all time, translated by one of the best classics scholars in our midst. Likely to inspire magic.

Stag Beetle Earrings, $26

For a Valentine who channels Suzy Bishop — no actual blood loss required.

My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories from Chekhov to Munro, ed. Jeffrey Eugenides, $11.42

All the love stories you need to read in bed together (or, if things go south, alone). Not only Chekhov and Munro but Saunders, Nabokov, Eisenberg, Paley, Moore, Carver, etc etc etc.

Love Letter Napkins, $50

Set of four cotton napkins suitable for putting to your mouth — and featuring the full text of actual love letters written by Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Jack London, and D.H. Lawrence. Swoon!

It’s Our Pleasure to Service You Cup, $45

The classic New York coffee cup with a sapphic new look, designed by Brooklyn-based artist Christina Kelly.

“Meet Me in Montauk” Shirt, $18

For your own personal eternal sunshine.

The Tontons, Make Out King and Other Stories of Love, $13.17

With a title like that, who could resist a smooch or seven?

Wagner Cookie Cutter, $7.80

Home-baked cookies = love. Home-baked cookies in the shape of Wagner = true love forever.

My Love Is a Dead Arctic Explorer, Paige Ackerson-Kiely, $17.50

“I was a Promethean dilettante disabused of tinder,” Ackerson-Kiely’s speaker announces. If that doesn’t make you fall in love immediately, well, the rest of this savage collection of heartbreak and desire poems will.

Women of SF devotional candles, $90

For your shrine to Daenerys — or your shrine to the girl with the shrine to Daenerys.

Wild at Heart Special Edition DVD, $71.36

Give your lover the gift of David Lynch this Valentine’s Day — that is, if he’s “wild at heart and weird on top,” or at least willing to give it a try.

Aladdin Sane earrings, $3

Trust: the only thing girls like getting more than jewelry is Bowie-related jewelry.

Fuck It Zippo, $60

Light your lover’s fire with this cheeky Zippo. Come on, you know that’s what Snoopy’s been thinking all along.

Jim Dine Lithograph, $225

An original limited-edition poster celebrating the Metropolitan Opera Centennial — arty and heart-y.

Lars and the Real Girl DVD, $8

Surprisingly touching, super weird, and the perfect setup for “Hey girl” jokes. Use them wisely and, for best results, primarily on your flesh-and-blood Valentine.

Feyoncé sweatshirt, $17.50

For immediately after that V-Day proposal you’ve got planned.

Aphrodisiac: Erotic Drawings by John Boyce, $25

Erotic drawings for selected passages from Anaïs Nin? You had me at, well, the whole thing.

Green Porno: A Book and Short Films by Isabella Rossellini, $19

Get weird and sexy with your loved one and Isabella Rossellini. Anchovy orgy, anyone?

Parks & Recreation Valentine’s Day Card, $6

If it’s too soon for a gift proper, but you still want to show your affection, do it the April Ludgate way — as reluctantly (but charmingly) as possible.