For The Gentlemen: What Should You Get Her?

Today’s post is for the men. I don’t know how many men just pop by here. It’s possible that you lady readers might have to point men to this post. I know that’s asking for something, but I think everyone will be happier in the end.

There is apparently some confusion about what to get ladies for the holidays. I’ve never understood why. Gentlemen, if you’re doing what you should, and getting to know what your woman wants, buying her a gift should be easy. Still, in the name of holiday romance, I want to kick in a couple of suggestions.

  1. You must actually purchase the gift. This is a two-part suggestion. It must be a gift – not a gift card. A gift card is an invitation for the recipient to buy her own gift. Similarly, you must be the one to buy it. If you take the recipient to pick out what she wants so that you can buy it, you’re basically giving the recipient the gift card without the actual gift card or the freedom to shop on her own time. Yes, choosing a gift is hard. A good woman respects a man who makes an effort.
  2. Don’t buy yourself something. This applies to things like lingerie. I would never tell you not to buy your woman lingerie or a sex toy or something intimate like that – sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are just between the two of you. I will tell you, though, that if you are buying something like this for her, you must be absolutely sure it suits her tastes perfectly. This is not the place to bring your own fantasies to life. Don’t buy her something she has no interest in, but which you think she’ll “get into” once she gives it a chance. Guys, you are buying something for HER. If she has to give it a chance or get into it, guess what? SHE DOESN’T WANT IT. It’s a gift. It is not an opportunity for her to do something for you.
  3. Don’t buckle under peer pressure. No one knows what to get your woman better than you do – if you’ve been paying attention. Don’t let commercials pull you off course. Let me illustrate with a heartwarming story about the best Christmas present a man’s ever given me. I met this man through newspaper personal ads; my ad referred to Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung (love me, love the opera). Our first Christmas together, that man gave me the graphic novel adaptations of the Ring Cycle. It came to about 18 beautifully drawn comics. I was really touched. As badly as that relationship went, I still take those books down, fifteen years later, and I remember how good things were, when they were good. His present was 50% How We Met Story and 50% What I Dig About You, with just a bit of Just Between Us on top. He could very easily have gone to [Insert Popular Jewelry Store Here] and gotten whatever the commercials said to get. Outsiders might tell you to get Something Chicks Like, but I ask you, sir: Are you trying to impress outsiders, or are you trying to do something good for her?
  4. When in doubt, have a talk. If you are totally at sea, or if you don’t really know each other that well yet, ask your woman for guidance. My heart goes out to people in new relationships, facing the inevitable questions of what to get or whether to get anything. A good conversation – “I want to get you something special” or “why don’t we do something together instead” – will get you farther than guessing every time. If you’re finding that she thinks you should “just know,” it’s better to find out about this now, rather than later. Don’t just ask what she wants – that’s like asking for answers to a test. Try to sort out what sort of person she is, and then you can figure out what that sort of person wants.
  5. Start planning now. Regardless of where you are in this relationship, it’s a good idea for you to make the most of the time between here and when you have to make with the presents. Do you need to do research? Are you working through alternatives? Still trying to figure out what she really wants? You’ll want to do the legwork early. Things have a way of selling out – even Ring Cycle comics – and starting early will keep this from turning into a stress-inducing ordeal.

Watching any loved one open the perfect gift is a magical experience, something you’ll both carry with you forever, even if the relationship doesn’t last that long. A little concentrated effort can really bear fruit! Further advice? Awesome gift stories? Seek out the comments.

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