The Yale Man’s Guide to Gift Giving

23 Jan

If you’re like most of the guys we know, you hate shopping and the mere mention of a mall makes you want to cling to your x-box controller and never let go. But fear not! There’s this clever thing called the internet which means you can shop and kill zombies without leaving your suite. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, online shopping can be a daunting task so try to at least have an idea in mind before you begin. Otherwise, you’ll emerge two hours later, sweating, and having panic bought her a crystal figurine which looks awfully similar to that one on your Grandmother’s mantelpiece.

Chances are, if she has a birthday coming up, she’s dropping hints. Pay attention! Much as you might wish that we women would just tell you straight out what we want, it’s not going to happen. You can ask, and we might give you some suggestions. It’s unlikely but, hey, you never know. What’s more likely is that you’ll hear something like “I don’t know” or “whatever you want to get me”. We here at Men’s Guide understand that this is frustrating and that it makes your task 10x harder and we encourage women to be forthright and ask for what they want. But until then, you’re going to have to work off the hints she drops.

The key word once again is thoughtful. It doesn’t have to cost the earth to get the message across. And the message is always essentially the same: I care about you and I think about you. Don’t be too extravagant, especially if you know she can’t afford to do the same in return, you’ll only make her feel bad. Birthday’s and Christmas (or any other winter time holiday – we’re non-denominational here at Men’s Guide) are the time for gifts she wants but wouldn’t buy for herself. Anything that could realistically be called useful is probably a no-no. That means you cannot buy her a pen (unless she’s a writer, and then it had better be a really nice pen) or any kind of stationery. It doesn’t even have to be a physical thing. See the Yale Man’s Guide to Romance for how to plan a Big Romantic Gesture.

Take a look around her suite. Did her favourite author just publish a new book?  Does she collect anything you could buy her an addition to? (If she does, and it’s My Little Ponies or unicorns then we suggest you run as far away as possible as fast as possible). Generic gifts are boring and usually suggest a lack of interest and/or emotion and should therefore be avoided at all costs. Concert tickets or tickets to a Broadway show make great gifts but be wary of buying too long in advance. In the honeymoon stage of your relationship, a gig in 3 months might not seem all that long away, but a whole lot can happen in 3 months and you don’t want to shell out the money only for her to take that section asshole she spent all semester complaining to you about.

Most important: DON’T PANIC. That saying about it being the thought that counts? It’s a cliché for a reason. If she cares enough about you, she’ll pretend to like what you bought but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the effort.

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2 Responses to “The Yale Man’s Guide to Gift Giving”

  1. "Steve" February 25, 2012 at 1:46 PM #

    I need help! My lady is in one of the grad schools, and neither of us went to undergrad here so I’m a little lost. I am looking for a true Yale/New Haven gift for her. When I go to the bookstores or other shops, I find a lot of male-centric items, but not much for the woman in my life. Any suggestions?

    • By Yale Women for Yale Men February 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM #

      Here are some ideas for Yale/New Haven gifts:
      1. Stuffed bulldog from the bookstore with fancy tea (they sell some at Atticus) and a mug (Yale or from New Haven location like The Study).
      2. A Yale scarf from J.Press – even though they’re meant for men, they work for women too. They have different scarves for each of the grad schools and residential colleges.
      3. Earrings with school/Yale shield on them available from Campus Customs.
      Best of luck!
      The BYWFYM Ladies

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