Does Anyone Actually Want a Teddy Bear for Valentine's Day?

CorbisGiven the many ways a man can screw up Valentine’s Day — forgetting to make dinner rezzies, buying lingerie one size too large, wrongfully assuming you’re not celebrating — gifting a teddy bear is up there. 

The idea of a woman who is not a toddler getting excited over an expensive stuffed toy wearing a shirt that reads, “You keep me in stitches” and no pants, is both creepy and infantilizing. Yet, for some reason, the bear market is booming. Take the Big Hunka Love Bear that’s been freaking everyone out all week. It’s a 4.5-foot-tall brown bear whose zombie stare will turn you to stone. The ad features a lingerie model lying in bed cuddling the bear while a voiceover coos, “It’s a great gift for her that’s sure to pay off for you.” (Not a mood-killer at all — why?) Worse, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company is hawking the 50 Shades of Bear, a 15” Teddy with “smoky fur and smoldering blue eyes,” wearing a suit and carrying a sex mask. The ad assures women they’ll “submit to loving him.” Ew.

It’s no surprise that Teddy is so popular, given how men are encouraged to approach Valentine's Day. The dude website Ask Men says the teddy bear gift is a “safe option," (Is it?) and Maxim suggests upgrading the classic bear to one wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Sh*t Bitch. You Is Fine.” Meanwhile, in its "Valentine's Day Survival Guide," Men’s Health warns men not to fall for the ‘ol “I hate Valentine’s Day” gambit, advising, “Guys, if your girlfriend or wife claims she doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day—newsflash!—she does.” No wonder Teddy has become the fallback gift from men, who, confused by the holiday etiquette, give up and run to Hallmark.

Let's be clear: Teddy bears are for children and hospital visits (only if they're attached to a fruit basket or a set of balloons). They're not to be confused with sexy time, got it guys?