12 Most Impressive Gifts I’ve Given My Wife (And Why Each was a Mistake)

12 Most Impressive Gifts I’ve Given My Wife (And Why Each was a Mistake)

OK, so after 20+ years of marriage I have learned exactly 3.7% of what a man needs to know about the female of our species. Quite an accomplishment in my mind as most men I know have yet to reach the 2% mark and scientists have proven that it’s a physical impossibility for any of us to surpass 5%.

I’ve learned there’s no secret code to understanding what makes a woman happy; no manual, no rule book. Achieving this level of enlightenment is only accomplished through constant trial ’n error and maybe some help from another shmuck who’ll take the time to “help a brother out.” And it’s for those men that I’m listing the 12 most impressive gifts I’ve purchased for my wife and why each and every one was an unmitigated disaster.

1. Crockpot

When a woman complains about the amount of time or dishes that need to be used in preparing your dinner, apparently it isn’t code for: “buy me a crockpot.” It’s code for get off your lazy ass and make me dinner.

2. Hockey tickets

“Why don’t you take me out more” means “take me out someplace I want to go. What you like to do or where you want to go is completely and totally irrelevant.

3. A barbeque

Possessing a grill that would allow you to prepare more meals for the family (see gift 1) isn’t the answer either. Apparently, the preparation of the meat and side dishes, along with setting the table and washing the dishes is required to be considered a gift. Unless she’s buying you the barbeque, in which case just that by itself is sufficient.

4. Dishwasher

I’ve come to realize that doing the dishes only counts when you physically get “dishpan hands”. Purchasing a dishwasher to make life easy does not earn goodwill points.

5. Premium high-definition cable

“Why don’t we spend more time cuddling on the couch,” is meant to imply that the television should NOT be turned on. Who knew? Now you do. No excuses.

6. Cookbook

Do you see a theme building here? Essentially, anything remotely connected to cooking is a bad idea… even when she explicitly asks you to buy her her favorite chef’s cookbook. It’s a trick. Don’t fall for it.

7. Jenny Craig membership

She earmarks the ads in her favorite magazine. She’s mesmerized during the infomercials. She frequently states how she wishes she could lose weight and be more like their spokesperson, yet does nothing about it. I’ve learned this also means that YOU should do nothing about it too. Lesson: what she wants is never a good gift.

8. Stripper pole

Seen the reports about women building confidence, strength and self-esteem by learning to dance with a stripper pole? Yeah, well, that’s all BS; pure and evil marketing. The only thing that she’ll get from receiving this gift is a police visit after breaking your legs with the pole.

9. A mall gift card

Can’t decide what to buy? Is she a difficult person to buy for? Your gal has everything? Then pay someone to tell you what to buy. A gift card — or cash — regardless of the amount does only one thing: it begins divorce proceedings (where she gets your money anyway).

10. “Sexy Maid” themed lingerie

When she buys such an item it’s “for you” and so we’re thankful and this makes women happy. When we buy the exact same thing for them, it means: what’s wrong with our sex life? Who are you fantasizing about when I wear this? It’s a no win situation. In fact it’s worse than a no-win situation when you hear: “if you were better in bed, I’d not need sexy lingerie”. See how it works?

11. A GPS for her car

Clearly, women know where everything is and how to get there using the most efficient route available, even when driving in cities they’ve never driven to — or heard of for that matter. So a GPS is redundant and a “waste of money”. Oh, and it’s a lightning rod for every future argument about how you never ask for directions.

12. Nothing

So… this is probably the most important lesson you can learn from my gift giving history. When your wife or girlfriend says: “let’s not buy gifts this year to save money for X…”, what she means is: “We need to save money for X and so I won’t buy you a gift but you sure as hell better buy me one… oh and the money I saved not buying you a present… you can add that to the value of my gift.”

There you have it. Some wisdom from a man who has been married for 20 years and has the battle scars to prove it. Remember also that when we men get a present we don’t like or want we’re trained to shrug it off and store them in the garage. When women get gifts they don’t want they’re trained to get revenge. Fair warning.

Now pay it forward. What great gifts have you purchased for your wife or girlfriend that were met with a resounding thud? Share with your fellow man.

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Featured image courtesy of t0msk via Creative Commons.

Sam Fiorella


Sam Fiorella is a globetrotting interactive marketing strategist who has earned his stripes over the past 20 years in senior management roles with corporate sales &marketing teams as well as consulting for more than 30 marketing agencies. Sam’s experience with over 1600 Interactive projects during the past 15 years spans the government, finance & insurance, manufacturing, national retail and travel/tourism sectors. Currently, Sam is the Chief Strategy Sensei at Sensei Marketing, where he is charged with strategic campaign guidance and marketing technology development that power the Sensei Customer Lifecycle Methodology. Sam is a respected blogger and popular keynote speaker on marketing, branding and social media communications having presented at more than 200 conferences in the past 2 years. Follow Sam on Twitter or Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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