Please Stop Buying Your Adult Wives and Girlfriends Teddy Bears

It's time to put an end to the dumbest Valentine's Day gift

 A customer buys a teddy bear ahead of Valentine's Day at a super market in New York, United States on February 13, 2018. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A customer buys a teddy bear ahead of Valentine's Day at a super market in New York, United States on February 13, 2018. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / February 11, 2020 9:02 am

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, which means it’s that time of year when thousands of men will wander into a Duane Reade, look around for five or ten seconds and then inexplicably decide that the object of their affection could really use a teddy bear, that the thing that’ll really get their date in the mood is being presented with a child’s plaything.

Please, I beg of you: Don’t be one of those guys.

Nothing says “I know absolutely nothing about the person I am buying this gift for” like a teddy bear, and if you’re pressed for ideas, any of the holiday’s other staples are better options. Perfume, jewelry, flowers or chocolate are all totally acceptable gifts for a fellow adult with whom you’ve enjoyed sexual relations; a teddy bear, on the other hand, ticks off just about every Bad Gift box: it’s infantilizing, it’s impersonal and it’s impractical.

Before you insist that, wait a minute, women actually like receiving stuffed animals, ask yourself how you’d react if your significant other — in an attempt to express how alluring they find you — presented you with a GI Joe or a Cabbage Patch Kid. Would you be ready to bone, or would you be deeply confused, asking yourself important questions like What the hell am I supposed to do with this? How old does this person think I am? and Have I done anything over the course of this relationship to lead my partner to believe that she should be shopping for me at Toys ‘R’ Us?

Of course, not every gift needs to be practical, but a teddy bear presents some unique pressures. Is the person who gave it to you going to be offended if they come over and it’s not sitting on a shelf somewhere (collecting dust, because that’s what stuffed animals do) or in a place of honor at the edge of your bed? How long are you expected to keep it? Does that bear clutching a heart that reads “Be Mine” need to on display year-round, or is it acceptable to ditch it once we hit March? You don’t have to worry about any of this with flowers.

It’s worth noting that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday that we place way too much importance on, and ultimately, it’s the thought that counts. But a teddy bear represents, at best, the absence of thought. (And at its worst, the thought it conveys is “I see you as a sexy baby.”) Consider skipping the gift entirely and investing instead in a cool experience or a nice dinner. Or if you’re looking to keep it casual, think about your significant other’s interests; is there a book she’s been dying to read or an album that means a lot to her? Maybe order a pizza and have them arrange the pepperonis into a heart. Spend the time you’d normally use to grab some pink bullshit off the shelf at CVS and use it to consult Google; you’ll find plenty of Valentine’s Day gift guides to help you out (might I suggest this one?), and I promise you not a single one is going to recommend a teddy bear. Or eschew material goods entirely and write her a nice, heartfelt card.

The possibilities are endless! Just please, for the love of god, stop with the stuffed animals.