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It’s that time again-- time to begin the strenuous quest for
birthday gifts for that special guy. Just relax and take a deep breath.
With these tips and rules, you’ll be on your way to stress-free
shopping in no time!
Dilemmas in Gender
It’s difficult to buy gifts for
a member of the opposite sex because women and men are very different.
Women’s extra X chromosome makes them naturally 120 percent more
observant than men. I base this theory on research I did in my head in
the past few minutes. But it does have some bearing. Women can remember
every word of a conversation that took place six months ago (especially
if it involved any woman not in the direct bloodline of her spouse). So
why would such a detail-oriented person become frantic and flustered at
the seemingly simple task of choosing a gift? The answer is simple-
because the gift is for a man.
The problem is that men don’t give
clues. Although he might inadvertently tell you something he wants,
chances are he will go out and buy it for himself long before his
birthday. Men are very practical, and a lot of the time things they
want are actually things they need. You could solve the problem
by cutting up his credit cards so he can’t purchase those items, but
chances are he will be very confused and slightly angry. It’s a better
idea to choose another gift following these tips and guidelines.
He’s a Sports Star:
Maybe he is a sports star, or maybe the closest he’s been to a game is
the couch. Either way, many men fantasize or reminisce about being a
star athlete. Whether he is throwing the pig skin or eating it from a
bag (pork rinds), he is sure to love a sports gift. Sporting goods,
like personalized baseball bats, monogrammed golf bags and
sports-themed gift baskets are a great way to cater to his hobby and
show him you care. You can also get tickets to see his favorite team
play. He’ll feel special that you want to share his interests with him,
especially if it’s not something you usually do.
He’s a Kid at Heart:
Whether he’s 18 or 65, he still has that little boy inside him. Embrace
his Peter Pan lifestyle with tech toys and electronics. Gadgets and
gizmos are a male favorite. You could choose an accessory for his
computer, car, TV or a handheld gadget like a cell phone or electronic
organizer. If you can’t decide on a tech gift, you could always give
him a gift certificate for an electronics store. Although your womanly
instinct will kick in and tell you “gift certificates are bad gifts
because they are impersonal,” you are shopping for a man, and gift
certificates are very practical, which men like.
Whether this is true or not, it is male instinct to want to fix things.
Men love tools, especially cordless power tools like drills and
screwdrivers. Just keep in mind that he will want to use these things
right away, so make sure there are jobs he could do. And whatever you
do, don’t buy him a chainsaw unless he has an immediate use for it.
Otherwise be prepared to lose the trees in your front yard or some
other valued possession. Men also love Swiss army knives or similar
contraptions because it prepares them for everything from opening a
beer bottle to slaughtering a deer.
Because of comic books and cartoons, many men have developed a
superhero mentality that leads them to enjoy danger. This is why your
boyfriend or husband really wants the chainsaw you’re not going to get
him. It’s also why men enjoy barbequing more than cooking. He wants to
be the master of the open flame. (“Step aside little lady; I’ll handle
this!”) A barbeque gift would be perfect for spring and summer
birthdays. Buy him sets of marinades, barbeque tools or a grill. He’ll
be thrilled to try them out. You can also buy him an experience. It
sounds odd, but many men would love to be given sky-diving, hang
gliding or scuba-diving lessons. Although the actual events may only
last a few hours, the memories will last a lifetime.
Men are practical creatures and they love practical gifts. He will
appreciate anything he can use, wear or play with. It basically has to
serve a purpose. Think about some of the “bad” gifts he’s given you:
shower curtains, vacuum cleaners, toasters, etc. He instinctually gives
practical items because those are the types of gifts he wants. While
you may be offended by these gifts, he will love them. If he wears his
clothes until they are mere fibers, buy him some new items for his
wardrobe. Just make sure that you are buying clothing that he would
like. It’s not hard to figure out what men like because they buy in
bulk (practicality again), and probably have the same shirt in 5
colors. Go with clothing similar to what you see him wear often.
In comparison to women, his tastes and desires are relatively simple.
I’m not saying that he’s a Neanderthal, grunting and clubbing animals
with a big stick, but most men stick to their basic needs. Because of
this food is always a good gift choice for a man. Give him a gift
basket of his favorite foods and snacks. We all know that a man’s heart
is directly connected to his stomach.
Okay, maybe not, but you should make him feel good about himself on his
birthday. Avoid gifts like self-help books, gym memberships, Rogaine
kits and nose-hair trimmers. And even if he is a “What Not to Wear”
candidate, don’t buy him clothing for a better version of himself-
leave that to Stacey and Clinton. All of these gifts insinuate you
think he needs improvement, which will offend him and make him feel
insecure. These not-so-subtle hints can turn any birthday into a fiasco.
He’s Not Your Art Teacher:
Unless he is an actual art teacher, he might have trouble appreciating
handmade gifts. For boyfriends a gift that took you an excessive amount
of time to make, like a hand-knitted sweater, might make him
uncomfortable. The thoughtfulness and time spent creating the gift
might, in his mind, exceed the level of commitment. You don’t want to
accidentally chase him away by giving him a gift. Of course there are
men out there who do like these types of gifts. If your husband is a
sentimentalist, handmade gifts are okay. But, as I’ve mentioned
numerous times, men want gifts they can use, so make sure you create
something functional rather than decorative.
He’s Not You:
Yes, this is obvious, but sometimes people give gifts they
would like to receive. Don’t buy him tickets to the theater, opera or
ballet if he doesn’t have a real interest in them. He may attend these
events because you enjoy them, but make sure his birthday gift is
something just for him. There’s a good chance he also doesn’t like
“cutesy” gifts like teddy bears, heart-patterned pajamas and other
syrupy tokens. Women are drawn in by the AWW! factor, but generally men
don’t understand the purpose of these gifts. He might even be
embarrassed. Men like to seem manly, to you and to each other. If one
of his male friends noticed a big cuddly teddy bear in his bed, he
might never live that down. Give him something he’ll brag about, not
hide in the closet.
Surprise him with a gift that is chosen to suit his tastes, hobbies and
desires. With this guide, you should have no problem figuring out a
number of good gift options. Good luck and happy shopping!
Note: All prices in US Dollars