Inside His Head: Husbands tell us what they really think


Today marks the launch of a new feature on the website we’re calling “Inside His Head.” And guess who’s doing all the talking? MEN!

Most women often wonder, either aloud or silently, what in the heck our guy is thinking. Why does he do certain things? Why does he say things that we would never in a million years say? Why can’t he understand how we like the towels folded? Why, why, why?

So we went looking for answers and assembled a panel of men (whose identities will remain anonymous for their privacy and to keep them from getting into trouble with their wives). These guys will answer the tough questions and give us the straight scoop on how guys really think. But let us just warn you right here and now that you’re about to enter a space where few women have dared to tread. We’re going “Inside His Head.”

Q: Since Valentine’s Day is Saturday, we want to know what men really think of the heart holiday and/or what they’d like as a gift.

john.jpgMAVERICK: OK, what do I want for Valentine’s Day? If certain, er, favors are off the table, well, I want a well-thought-out gift.

Women give their husbands stuff like ties, or after shave, or socks, or shirts for Valentine’s Day. In general, the man’s gift is a throw-away item. Valentine’s Day is all about what the ladies want and expect.

Your husband deserves more than that. For those of us who are smart enough not to get you rolling pins and blenders for Valentine’s Day, return the favor. Most men have some activity, hobby or pastime that they love. Focus on that. If he fishes, get him fishing stuff. If he plays golf, well golf stuff. If he likes horror movies, horror movies. If you don’t know what he needs, learn. Sales clerks in traditionally male-centered retail categories stores can be amazingly helpful to women, just like florists can be helpful to men. When in doubt, ask his buddies what he wants. They’ll know. Your husband, like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, can likely remember the best gifts he has ever received. For me, there are several standouts and they all came from my amazingly thoughtful wife. None were ties. None were socks. None were practical. All were memorable.

Give him a cool gift for Valentine’s Day this year. The holiday isn’t just about what women want and expect. Cupid’s arrows should hit both sexes with equal vigor. Oh, oh, if he likes archery, get him a bow.

greg.jpgGRAY: Valentine’s Day is incredible. Without it I’d be forced to show my wife that I care about her during the remainder of the year. And I’m fortunate that retailers give me a variety of options to truly express how I feel about her. Come on, who says a box of candy doesn’t represent true love? If you’re really romantic, little can express love like sending flowers to the workplace – that way you can prove to her co-workers that not only can you read a calendar, but whatever rumors she’s been spreading about you being only interested in football will obviously be debunked.

In seriousness, Valentine’s Day seems like an obligation to me. We start in grade school randomly giving cards and candy hearts to everyone, perhaps taking a second peek at the one from the girl you have a crush on and wondering if her name was printed a little differently on your card than the one your buddy got. At my high school the day was honored with a questionnaire that we filled out and matched up everyone based on the results. How romantic to be paired via questionnaire with such personal questions as “What color do you like?”. Yeah. No way that was creepy.

Now it seems like we aren’t able to ignore the day without coming off as a heel, yet we can’t wonder how little a card means to you (even if we’re able to plow through the hundreds to find something that may actually come close to something we’d care to say). The catch-22 is that even if you do something incredibly romantic, it’s been for a day that’s probably meaningless to both of you personally. So we end up feeling like we have to honor the day so we don’t come off as a heartless freak, but we really don’t want a meaningless day on the calendar to mandate how we express our feelings.

As for what I’d like to receive on Valentine’s Day? A card. I like a card mostly because that’s what I’ll be giving in return. It’s a way of acknowledging that we weren’t so busy that we forgot the day, almost as a test to make sure we were paying attention. Hate candy. I’ll eat the whole thing and then feel way less than romantic.

jon1.jpgJON: While there are several legends regarding the origins of Valentine’s Day, my personal favorite relates to the Roman emperor Claudius’s banning of marriage in an attempt to curb the growing tide of desertion in his army due to homesick soldiers. According to the story, Father Valentine continued to marry people secretly despite the ban. The emperor discovered this and had Valentine executed on February 14th. He signed his final note to his lover, “from your Valentine”.

Like many Christian traditions, Valentine’s Day has been over commercialized, and therefore has lost much of its original appeal. While I, like most people, cherish the idea of love of all kinds, especially romantic love, I don’t want to feel compelled by a specific date despite the wishes of jewelers, florists, and candy makers nationwide. Remember the joy and anxiety awaiting the next note from your boyfriend or girlfriend in junior high or high school? All of us should show those we love our feelings on a regular basis. Spontaneity and creativity are what count, and those seldom come in a box or an envelope from a store.

My ideal gift need not be on Valentine’s Day. Show me you were thinking of me and can’t wait to spend time with me. Write notes in lipstick on the mirror, leave love notes in lunches or cars, plan unexpected dinners or afternoons together, really anything that you do because you wanted to say “I love you” and not “I had to.”

If you have your own questions for our guy panel, just e-mail the mamas at and we’ll send ’em to the papas.