Ask Drew: The Dos & Don’ts of Gift Giving
I remember years ago in college, my girlfriend at the time got me a present for my birthday. Because compromise in our relationship meant I “got” to watch Sex and the City with her and her roommate if she cooked me dinner, I realized she had absolutely no idea what any of my actual interests were past casserole leftovers and a quickie after class. She was a nice girl, but as I opened the (unnecessary) gift bag I was greeted with a brand new, tight-fitting yellow t-shirt with an insignia of a duck of some sort where the Lacoste alligator would normally be.
Women don’t shop for what their boyfriends want, they shop for what they want their boyfriends to want (and what they think they need). Unless I’ve been begging for a nose hair trimmer, don’t bother with a MicroTouch. Just say what needs to be said, and then surprise me with some playoff tickets. After all, it’s not like I can get you a treadmill and everything will be hunky dory.
So next time a special occasion or holiday is coming up, here are a few things to keep in mind.
I dress myself so poorly that once a year I take two of my female friends out with me and let them pick out what I should be wearing. Apparently five packs of Hanes t-shirts and bargain brand jeans aren’t in this year. By and large, men don’t care about clothes, so you buying us shirts, pants, watches, etc. just reaffirms that we don’t know what we’re doing. That’s not a present, it’s a lecture with a bow.
Here’s the catch. If you’re going to buy him something to wear, make sure it’s comfortable. Why? Because aside from the shoes you wear, the rest of a woman’s wardrobe is fit for a queen. You get to wear silk underwear whereas the waistline of our boxers has a smiley face licking its lips. I’m not saying to double up on your panty order next time you’re out, but how about a nice bathrobe made from the skins of baby seals or a velvet jumpsuit. Yeah, it’s not something we’d ever pick out, but if any of our male friends give us crap, we have a universal "Get Out Of Jail Free" card: “Yeah, my girlfriend got it for me.”
Hey, I’m just being honest. I know you don’t consider it a present, but that’s hands down the best gift you can give a guy. I understand you don’t want to feel like a prostitute and want to attach some kind of sentimental value to it, so do whatever you’ve gotta do to make it fun. Maybe give him a coupon, but in the fine print include that it’s literally redeemable at any time and that he gets to do one thing you really don’t like to do. Like maybe your bi-curious close friend Sally could come over and spend some time with the two of you. And maybe all three of you have a little too much wine together.
Avoid Sentimental Stuff
A framed picture of the two of you is a present for you, not for him. Don’t kid yourself, you’re doing it because a) you think it’s cute and b) so he’ll put it up in his office or place of business and ward off potential mistresses. That’s one of the few places he spends a lot of time that you can’t check in on Facebook with him so all his girlfriends will see. You’re marking your territory like a St. Bernard.
Very simple. Get him tickets to a sporting event of a team he likes. Bonus points if they’re good seats. Just make sure if it’s a big game that it’s one they’re supposed to win. If they win, it might be one of the greatest nights of his life. And you got to spend it with him! If they lose, you very well might have to chaperone a drunken, teary-eyed boyfriend out of a stadium before he follows an opposing team’s fan into the bathroom because the other guy wouldn’t stop running his mouth a few years ago when I was 24.
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Drew is a single guy living in Los Angeles. When he's not bar-hopping with a friend's golden retriever to convince women he has a soft side, he's taking them on short-lived dates. His fickle dating habits and "perspective" almost guarantee he'll die alone. All opinions are his own. Got a question for Drew? Ask away... firstname.lastname@example.org