In every relationship, you reach a certain unavoidable point. A crossroads, as it were. And the decisions you make at that moment can deeply affect the rest of that relationship.
You get plenty of warning, if you’re paying attention. If not, it sneaks up and completely blindsides you. Either way, it cannot be stopped. What is it, you ask?
The exchange of gifts.
Whether it’s a birthday, Christmas, or – the big one – an anniversary, you’ve gotta do it. And whether you’re a guy or girl, it ain’t easy. A bad gift can end it right then and there. The right gift will make you the all-star, MVP, award-winning talk of her circle of friends or his gang of fellas.
I won’t insult your intelligence and tell you that vacuum cleaners and nose hair clippers are ill-informed choices. And if those gifts make perfect sense to you, you need more help than I thought. You see, the right gift is fun, romantic, appropriate and intuitive. By intuitive, I mean that it really tells the gift recipient that you really know them. This is good for all gift giving, but especially key when it comes to the perfect romantic gift for your significant other.
For the Fellas
Sure, sure, you can never go wrong with the power drill he’s been longing after, or the Palm Pilot that every other guy at work has, but how romantic are those? Leave that stuff to his Mom and his kid sister. The trick here is getting him something that only you can get him. Things like…silk boxers you want to see him in. A new cologne that you want him to wear. How about turning the tables on him and taking him to dinner at the same restaurant where you had your first date? And if you really want to blow his mind, what better romantic surprise is there for a guy than flowers, and candy? I’m not kidding! Manly flowers, of course, and not just a box of candy – get his favorite – even if it’s a big bag of M&M’s! That’s a good mix of fun, romance and intuitiveness!
You can also never go wrong with a massage machine (the gift that keeps giving — to both of you). A weekend getaway for two. A surprise party, with all his out-of-town friends. You, with a big, giant red ribbon – and nothing else! And nothing packs quite the same romantic punch like something you made yourself. Yeah, ladies – it’s time to get out the scissors and the construction paper.
Funny how a lot of this is the same stuff that works for you, isn’t it? Yeah, sometimes we’re a bunch of softies.
For the Ladies
Now, fellas, they’ve been ragging on us about this one ever since some idiot bought his wife a new apron for Valentine’s Day 1946. They think we’re not romantic. They think we’re embarrassed to be mushy, sentimental, and all that jazz. Well, like any good head coach, I’m gonna show you how to use their perceptions of you as a strength. How? Well, if they think you’re too embarrassed to give a really romantic gift, they’ll never expect one. So even the casually romantic gift can be enough to get you into the Beau Hall of Fame.
OK, enough set-up. What do you get her?
Well, any guy (and any gal) knows that flowers and candy are the easy way out. Unless, of course, your lady happens to be a big flower lover. Lucky schmoe. You get off easy.
For the rest of us, there are gifts like a framed picture. Simple. Easy. Incredibly romantic. Well, as long as it’s a picture of the two of you. A picture of yourself just makes you look like a dork. This gift not only shows that you’ve got a sentimental side, but that you’re happy to be with her.
Breakfast (or any meal) in bed is cute, and you don’t even have to do it well. In some weird romantic twist, the worse cook you are, the more brownie points you score for even attempting it. Oh, and oatmeal doesn’t count. Besides, OATMEAL just isn’t romantic at all.
A mystery trip. Romance and mystery go hand-in-hand. That’s why all those supermarket novels feature some long-haired Zorro wannabe in a mask. Women LOVE this stuff. Just give her a date and time and tell her to keep it open. Then whisk her away for an afternoon, a night, or a whole week. How do you pick the place? Ask the women at work. If you really want to play detective, flip through some of the magazines she has laying around. Chances are there’s some page corner turned down of some spa, city, or island she’s been trying to talk you into.
Speaking of her magazines – guys, I’ve gotta tell you. It’s like looking at their playbook. Every fashion magazine is like a wish list. They’re always circling things, dog-earing pages, and jotting things down. Find these magazines, or these notes, and you’re home-free for gifts for months. A year ago I got my wife a bracelet from Tiffany’s that she casually mentioned that she liked – two months before in one of her 6,000 magazines. When she opened it, she said: “It’s the one I liked from the magazine!” I said “I know”. Honest-to-God, that was the smoothest move of my entire life. And, she still wears it almost every day. Nothing says romance like “I can read your mind.”
Lingerie. Now, as long as it’s not something crotchless you ordered from the back of Playboy, you can score big with this one – pun fully intended. Steer more towards the long, sheer nightgowns and robes of Victoria’s Secret, not the fur handcuffs from Frederick’s of Hollywood. Remember, you’re trying to be Mr. romantic, not Mr. “I’m starring in Boogie Nights”.
Day Spa. Now, this one is awesome, especially if your baby is really busy and stressed out at work – as long as you don’t have a problem with someone else feeling her up massage-style (relax, they can request women). Manicure, pedicure, facial, steam bath – the works! She’ll come home to you relaxed, unstressed, and ready to – show her appreciation.
These obviously aren’t ALL the gifts, folks, but they should get your wheels turning.
Happy gift giving! (And good luck!)