We all know that the true value of a gift lies in the gifter’s intentions, but this ancient wisdom somehow struggles to find its way with women. The same applies to getting something you’d want to get, as I was always told by my mum as a kid. No matter how inventive or practical you are, when it comes to your partner’s birthday, it’s all about what she wants and, if what you’ve got is on this list, well, hope for better luck next time!
A Box of Boring Chocolates
Chocolate shops charging (and you paying) humongous amounts for a box of chocolates still doesn’t make it a decent birthday gift. Nor does anything else made of chocolate. It doesn’t mean you can’t treat your partner to fresh, chocolate-dipped strawberries on her birthday morning or bring her chocolate roses, but us ladies long for something lasting – and, no, the excess inches we’ve put around our belly once we’ve wolfed the chocs down does not count. Also, cheap chocolate is a complete no-go, even as a part of another present – you’ve been warned, men.
Anything Inherently Practical
Yes, us women will ridicule you for spending money on, in our eyes, absolutely useless (yet pricey!) things like the shirt of your favourite football team (that you don’t even wear!) or a remote control helicopter that you’ve only flown once. And yet!
Her birthday certainly isn’t the time to show off your practical side by getting her a laptop mouse. When choosing a gift, don’t focus so much on what she needs, make sure it’s something she actually wants too. So, if she’s expressed a need for a laptop case, nipping down to Cath Kidston for a cute, polkadotty one is not a bad idea. However, giving her a basic, black, ugly one from PC World is a plan destined to fail. Comprende?
Unless your partner has the metabolism of an Olympic athlete, you’ve probably had to endure her complaints about her meaty things or her flabby tummy, and have probably learned that, by now, there is only one answer to the dreaded “fat question” – “You’re gorgeous as you are”. This is where it ends. Do not ever think of getting her something that even indirectly addresses her fitness or weight – there’s no getting out of that minefield alive.
I mean, how would you feel about her getting you treatment for your receding hairline?
For almost half a century it’s been topping the lists of worst gifts for women and, believe it or not, it has almost nothing to do with woman’s rights or emancipation. To the contrary, the reason why your cheese-toastie loving partner might not want a 4-slice toaster for her birthday is simply an emotional one. What does that 4-slice toaster say about your feelings for her? Well, at best, absolutely nothing. At worst? It’ll be perceived as a “Make my breakfast, woman” type-gesture.
If she has just moved into a new house and could really use something to equip it, oak living room furniture set would certainly be perceived better than a toaster or iron. Unless she’s explicitly asked for something – in which case you buy her the cutest, top of the range item – steer well clear.
Hobby Equipment (for Your Hobbies)
So, she insists you’re not spending enough time together but, even if you believe it’s a sneaky attempt to stop you from golfing with your friends, getting her a golf club is never going to be a good idea. Even if she doesn’t mind coming on those fishing trips with you (which probably means you’ve found The One) and could use some tackle of her own, you shouldn’t make a birthday gift out of it.
On the other hand, getting her something for her hobbies is a surefire route to being labelled the most supportive and insightful man on the planet.
What’s the worst gift you’ve ever bought or received from your partner?
Susannah Perez is a fashion journalist and a relationship expert who is also a bit obsessed with interior design magazines. In her spare time she blogs for Oak Furniture Superstore