Sometimes, gift giving can be incredibly difficult. You can have the best intentions in the world, and the desire to get your partner something that they’ll absolutely love and that shows them how much you care for them. Basically, you want a gift that communicates everything that you feel about your wife or girlfriend – and that’s definitely not easy.
It’s become a bit of a sitcom and movie trope – a bumbling husband or boyfriend buys a gift for his lady that the entire audience is immediately cringing at, he clumsily wraps it, and hands it over… and then waits for her reaction. While he’s expecting happiness, it usually ends up being either tears or anger as he’s offended her with his terrible choice of gift.
So, how on earth do you navigate the art of gift giving? Well, what your wife or girlfriend will love depends a lot on her personality and interests, but there are certain gifts that you probably should steer away from, just to be safe. Relax – we’re here to keep you from wishing you had just gotten a gift card.
Here are 10 things you should probably never buy a woman, no matter how good your intentions might be.
First of all, if you give a woman cookware, you’re basically perpetuating the sexist stereotype that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, and that’s just not cool. Second, this one goes back to the necessities vs. want issue. A gift should be something you pick out because you think the person will enjoy it. Regardless of your budget, the gift you pick out should be something that she wouldn’t necessarily buy for herself. She can easily pick up a few pots and pans or a nice knife set for herself – after all, if you’re making the majority of your meals at home, they’re necessary tools. Stay away from the kitchen gear, no matter how practical you think it is.
The guy trying to awkwardly buy lingerie for his wife or girlfriend is a staple of film and television, and it’s for a good reason – it happens all the time! Why, guys? Why? Let’s be honest – if you buy her lingerie, it’s as much for your benefit as it is for her. However, lust aside, it’s a tough thing to pick out if you’re a guy, simply because you don’t have the experience to know what she likes. Sure, you can glance at one of her bras to determine her cup size, but will you know the difference between a demi cup or full coverage bra? Do you know whether she likes lace or not? Would she feel sexy in that bustier, or would it just be shoved to the back of her closet because it fits funny? If you want to treat her to a girly shopping spree at a lingerie store, just give her a gift card.
9 Car-Related Items
Picture this – you pass her the gift, she eagerly tears it open, and pulls out… seat covers. At that moment, her face is probably not one of pure joy – it’s more like ‘are you kidding me?’ Yes, there are things like starter cables and ice scrapers that you need for your car, and she might not have her own. However, it’s the kind of thing that you both pick up while you’re out running errands, not something you wrap up and present to her on a special occasion. Guys might think car related things are a fun luxury because they’re obsessed with their own cars, but… don’t get it for your girl.
8 Made For TV Products
Are you familiar with the famous last words when it comes to gift-giving: “I thought it was clever!” We’ve all been there – you’re watching television in the middle of the night because you can’t sleep, and an infomercial comes on selling some product. Your hazy mind watches the excited faces of the presenters and suddenly it begins to seem like a must-have item. If they’re marketed towards women, even better, right? The presenters said it would make her life so much easier! Well, it won’t. It’s probably a useless gadget that she’ll push to the back of her closet and forget about forever. Put down the Snuggie.
7 Something You Want
When you’re in a long term relationship, sometimes you develop sneaky tactics to getting what you truly want, such as reminding your partner about a deal the local pizza place is having in the hopes that they decide to order pizza. However, when it comes to gifts, make sure you don’t let your own desires bleed into what you’re getting for your partner. Maybe you’re super excited for that video game, or you think that comic book poster would look great in your living room. Chances are, she won’t feel the same way – if you really want, get that item for yourself, but don’t try to buy it for her and pretend it’s because you thought she’d like it.
6 Pre-packaged Gift Sets
Guys, you want to know a secret? Every woman has received so many ridiculous box sets that she can’t even remember them all. You know the ones we’re talking about – strange collections of body wash and loofahs, baskets filled with hot cocoa, mini marshmallows and peppermint stir sticks. Everyone is guilty of buying those types of impersonal gifts for people they want to acknowledge in some way, but don’t really know enough to buy a gift tailored to their personality. For that secret santa recipient you know very little about? Sure, get a gift basket. For your partner? Don’t you dare.
Style is a very, very subjective thing – most women have cultivated their personal style over the years and know exactly what they’re drawn to and what they tend to avoid. Unless you’re someone who works in the fashion industry and has a sense of style that is always on point, avoid buying her clothing. Worst case scenario, you’ll waste money on something she finds hideous. Alternatively, you’ll buy something she absolutely loves but get the wrong size, and then when you go to exchange it, find out that they’re all sold out in her size. It’s just a lot of complications. Let her have her own shopping sprees, and stay out of them.
4 Perfume She’s Never Worn
If your wife or girlfriend has a signature scent that she’s been using for years, buying her a bottle of her preferred fragrance can be a very sweet way to treat her and acknowledge that you know what she wears and likes. However, if you don’t know what she likes to use, don’t venture to the perfume counter on her behalf. Scent is an extremely personal thing – what one person finds irresistible is completely nauseating to another. Even if it’s the hot new fragrance of the season, if she doesn’t like it, it’s just a lot of money wasted on something she won’t wear.
3 The Gift Card
Nothing says you care and appreciate your woman more than the extremely thought-out present that is the gift card. Sure, she may be a tad difficult to shop for, and she may enjoy receiving gift cards from friends and family members, but from her man? You've been with her for a significant amount of time, know her in and out, and you end up giving her a 50$ gift card to Barnes & Nobles? Yeah, that's a great gift.
2 Workout Gear & Gym Membership
Okay, if your wife or girlfriend is a huge fitness nut who would love nothing more than an expensive pair of running shoes, a brightly colored sports bra, and ten-class pass to the hot new yoga studio in town, then things are different. But for the average woman, if you get her something related to fitness, she’ll probably immediately assume that you’re trying to subtly tell her you think she’s fat and/or lazy. Sure, you might think she looks fantastic, and are just thoughtfully responding to her passing comment that she’d like to get in better shape. However… maybe just treat her to some new workout gear as a fun surprise, rather than gifting it and risking upsetting her.
1 Cleaning Gadgets
Yes, your wife or girlfriend probably spends a fair bit of her time keeping her (or your) space neat and tidy. She dusts, she vacuums, she wipes, and she uses all kinds of gadgets and machines to aid in the process. It only makes sense that you’d want to make it easier on her, getting her whatever new product on the market promises to make things much easier, right? Wrong. So wrong. Getting her anything related to such a banal thing as keeping a space germ-free is a terrible idea – we don’t care if you splurge for the $500 Dyson. That’s a household expense that you budget for and then purchase together. It’s not a gift.