Let’s face it: very few men can shop and come away with something useful for their woman without guidance. We may live with you, sleep with you, and breed with you, but we are clueless when it comes to what to get you when the need arises. Here’s a few tips for the guys this time around:
1. If she says don’t get it–unless it’s jewelry–then don’t get it. This one was suggested by a reader (thanks, Jessica!), and it’s true. You’re walking in the mall with your lady and you notice something you think she’d like. You point it out and she says, “No, don’t get me that”…that settles it. Don’t buy it. Don’t second-guess her, don’t override her–just don’t buy it! Trust me, if she honestly wants it, she’ll let you know. The last thing she wants to do is open something she plainly told you not to buy and yet now she has to act like she likes.
The only time this is not true is when it comes to jewelry. That’s when you’ll get the coy little, “Oh no, that’s too expensive!” routine, with a little smile and twinkle in her eye. At that point, if you do not buy her that item, Christmas morning will get very ugly.
One year my wife mentioned she’d love diamond stud earrings, but that they were too expensive so I shouldn’t buy them. I did anyway, and then proceeded to put them in the very bottom of her stocking, underneath all the useless stuff we usually cram in there. She opened all her gifts and enjoyed them, but I could tell there was something in particular she was looking for. She had a slightly deflated look on her face as we reached for the stockings (the last thing we open on Christmas morning), and tried her best to appreciate the socks, candy, and whatever else was in there. Finally, she found this little package at the bottom and opened it. The look on her face was priceless. Trust me, this one is rock solid.
2. If you have to know weight or size, DO NOT GUESS! I cannot stress this enough: you cannot win if you must guess a dress or shoe size! Unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what size she is, avoid clothing at all costs! Get it wrong, and you are a dead man. Checking in the closet to see what her other outfits are will not help much either. Men buy jeans based on waist size and length. We can easily know what we’re looking for because it plainly says 34×34, and we can understand that means 34 inch waist, 34 inch length. Ahhh, but women’s clothes…that is a much different animal. Even if she can fit in the exact same pair of jeans you wear, her’s won’t say 34. Oh no, her’s will say “10” or something like that. My wife wears a “4 S” which actually means “4 short” (I have come to understand). While to me as a guy that seems like I should be looking at doll clothing, this is an actual size to a woman. Dress sizes are just as confusing, and just as dangerous. Numerically, there isn’t much difference between the numbers “6” and “8”, but to a woman that’s like 20 pounds!
The only worse thing you could do is purchase the wrong size bra. Too small, and you give her an inferiority complex (“Do I look that little to you? Am I not enough for you?”). Too big, and it isn’t any better (“What? Are these for your girlfriend or something? Are you saying I need to grow into them? You want me to get a boob job, don’t you?”).
Unless she has plainly written out for you on a sheet of paper exactly the size she needs for everything, steer clear of any article of clothing. Instead, go for a luxury, pamper-yourself type item like bubble bath (provided you’re going to watch the kids long enough to let her use it) or perfume.
3. Don’t buy anything for her to wear that’s edible. We men think it’s perfect gift because it involves our two favorite things: sex and food. What could be better than a woman wearing food? It’s like making love to a Philly cheesesteak! Women, however, do not see it that way. Few will actually wear it (does anyone actually put those on?), and it will be a wasted gift item. She’ll open it thinking (from the look on your face) it’s something wonderful, only to have her balloon popped quickly. The truth is edible undies don’t taste that good anyway. It’s like trying to tear shoe leather off a woman’s naked body without biting her hard enough to ruin the mood. It should actually be a game on a reality show somewhere.
Most women love Victoria’s Secret stuff. We men used to love it because they used to sell sexy stuff in there. Now it’s just mostly normal underwear. Get the list of sizes I told you to get from her and go nuts. She’ll probably love just about anything from there that isn’t too skimpy.
4. Just because she mentions she likes something, doesn’t mean she wants every possible variation of it. Understand something: we men are desperate for gift ideas. If a woman casually mentions she likes Garfield, we scream “Thank You, Jesus!” and rush off thinking we finally know what to get her. We grab Garfield shirts, panties, socks, dolls, videos, and anything else we can find. Suddenly she’s sitting there on Christmas morning with a confused look on her face trying to figure out why on earth you bought her a Garfield lunchbox and a dozen other weird items to go with it.
See, men are different than women in this respect. When a guy “likes” something, he doesn’t mind having lots of whatever it is, in very different forms. For instance, I have a friend who “likes” the Miami Dolphins. His man-cave (basement) is filled with everything you could imagine. He has Miami Dolphins pictures, commemorative plates, a signed football helmet, Christmas ornaments, posters, magnets, old schedules, and tons of other crap just like it. He even has a dolphin’s head with a Miami helmet on it!
His wife, on the other hand, “likes” snowmen. The entire rest of the house (which is hers to decorate) has exactly 3 snowmen throughout. To her, that is a collection. See how we men could get a little confused as to why you’re not falling over yourself because we found that Garfield foot warmer?
If you’re sure she likes Garfield, get her one unique item that makes the statement “I know you like this cat, and I wanted to get you something that shows I actually put some thought into this.” Shop Ebay and I promise you can find some unusual jewelry box (put a necklace in there while you’re at it), small porcelain statue, or something that she never knew existed. That one item can make more of a statement that a dozen Garfield panties ever could.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a lot of pressure trying to make sure your lady isn’t disappointed on Christmas morning. If you are wandering through the store aisles still absolutely clueless over what to get her, then get someone to help you. Call her best friend (that should be you, but whatever), sister, mom, or someone else who might have actually listened to her when she mentioned stuff she wanted. Rather than just grab things you hope she’ll like or guess she’ll like, take the time to find out what she really will like. Ask her to write out a list of ten items (and sizes of each…listen to me on this, man!) she’d love to have. Maybe it feels a little like cheating to you because it doesn’t seem like she’s getting any surprises, but I promise it’s the best thing to do. You want her opening that gift to find the purse she’s been wanting, not the toaster/waffle iron/cappuccino-machine you thought was a good idea.
In all honesty, while it’s not easy to find the perfect gift, it’s not that hard to at least find something she’ll enjoy. Before you go to the mall, know what you’re going for. I promise you, putting the extra effort in before you get there will make all the difference in the world.