As the holiday season rears its ugly head, and the last Thanksgiving-induced poop is out of your body, it becomes time again for all of us men to pretend like we are as good at buying gifts as our female counterparts. Though as a species we may not necessarily possess the same instinct for purchasing worthless material items, I decided I would highlight a few tips and tricks I’ve used over the years to put myself in the upper echelon of male gift givers. No more will you be giving your lady a XXXL Cowboys jersey so that she will have something to wear now when she magically decides she’s going to watch pigskin with you, and no longer will she be disappointed that her effort to get you exactly what you wanted was not reciprocated.
Rule 1: Pay Attention- This may be a hard one for a lot of you dudes out there, but to truly achieve CMG status you must actually pay attention to what your wife is saying when she begins to talk to you like you’re one of her girlfriends. I’m not saying you have to answer her “I really want some black leather over-the-knee boots!” statements with “Ooh girl, I think those will look cute on you!” but pay enough attention to register what she’s currently ogling on Nordstrom.com so that you’ll know where to go to get her at least one thing she really wants.
Rule 2: Get Her What She Wants, Not What You Want- Listen, the Victoria’s Secret thing is played out. Let her buy that on a whim and whip it out when you least expect it, not the other way around. That’s lame. Also re-read my football jersey scenario in the intro paragraph. I’m not saying your wife can’t be a die hard football fan, I’m saying that if she’s not then don’t try and coax her into watching it by buying her team swag. It’s thoughtless.
Rule 3: It Doesn’t Matter How Much You Spend- Hey, Donnie Trump, I don’t care that you spent more money than I did because the belt has G’s on it, your present is lame. Listen, man, Grow up already. Don’t feel like you need to spend 2 grand on a present for your wife, and for sure don’t think you’re cool because you did. Presents are about expressing your feelings for someone, not pretending like you’re Puff Daddy.
Rule 4: Don’t Guess if You Don’t Have a Clue- I hope that many of you have pretty good taste in…stuff, but if you don’t then I don’t recommend you try and pick something she’ll like without some help. There’s nothing I feel worse about then when I hear a woman complaining that she hated what her husband or boyfriend bought her, but she’s too embarrassed to tell him. I actually know a girl who hates her engagement ring, and her now husband spent like 20 Large on it. Jeez, man, you definitely should have asked someone to help you. The point is some people just don’t have expertise in some areas, and it’s totally fine for you to consult a female friend, or better yet one of her friends about what she’ll like. Just don’t consult the woman at the store, because she will tell you a rhinestone choker made exclusively from frog feces will look fantastic on your lady.
Rule 5: If All Else Fails, Ask- I feel like generally you should try your hardest to make most presents a surprise, but if you are completely stumped than simply ask her what she wants. This may actually offer you a save, as she may say something that will inspire something else. I’m speaking from experience here, as this year my pregnant wife wasn’t quite drooling over the normal things she tends to want. Once I was out of ideas, I simply asked her what she wanted and somehow as she was talking I got a lightbulb above my head that had almost nothing to do with what she was talking about. Trust me, it may work! If you still are out of ideas, just get her what she wants and apologize for your lack of surprise and romance, and tell her you’ll make it up to her on her birthday. I’m sure she’ll be so happy that she got what she wanted that she won’t even think twice about it.
Tips and Tricks
1) SNOOP! That’s right, I said it. I don’t read my wife’s high school diaries, look at her call history to see who’s calling her, or break into her email because I trust her. But I will inspect the online shopping carts, and the list of websites she’s going to in a pinch, in order to help me get exactly what she wants. Sound too wacky for you, look over her shoulder, stupid!
2) Ask for help. Hopefully you’re on good terms with one of her female friends, her mom, her sister, or whomever else she tends to talk about shopping with other than you when you’re playing Call of Duty. If you know there was something in particular that she wanted but can’t remember who makes it then call, email, or text them for help. I totally did that for a bracelet one time and it worked with no sweat off my back. Thank you Facebook!
3) Get her to tell you what she wants without her knowing why you’re asking her. This is an advanced tip for those of you that are great conversationalists aka “bullshitters” like myself. If you see her looking at something in a magazine or online, say something like “OMG you would really wear that?” so that she can either say no or “Are you crazy? I love these!” If something comes on TV when you’re sitting there watching it together say “Do you like those ____ that all the actresses are wearing now?” and see how she responds. This is an “advanced” tactic not only because you have to be a great B.S. Artist, but also because you have to have a very strong line of communication with your woman (which I hope you all do).
So I hope some or all of this stuff has helped. My goal was to offer a few simple suggestions to make your gift buying process a little less painlful, and prevent any of you from walking into Zales and buying some garbage, unless of course your wife fancies garbage. Feel free to fire any questions on the subject in the comments section, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy money wasting!Fancy