Gift Guide For Inept MenWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
During this season of gift-giving, it’s important to remember that not all men are as thoughtful, enlightened and generous as Alan Alda and I.
Some men just do not understand the importance of choosing the right holiday gift for the lady in their life. It’s not about expense or showiness or how shiny a present is, although those factors help.
Timothy B. Schnabel understands. His new book, ”The Gift Giving Handbook For The Inept Man,” (Shanem Publishing, $12.95), promises to offer ”thousands of gift giving ideas to make his life easier and her life better.”
That may be the biggest promise since the rainbow, or maybe Cher’s ”farewell tour.”
”Most men stink at gift giving,” Schnabel says. ”Men who know how to continually give creative, romantic and heartfelt gifts are as elusive as Bigfoot. Why is that?”
Schnabel says men wait until the last minute to shop, ignore hints their wives and girlfriends give them and shop randomly, without any preconceived idea of what they are looking for.
He offers one example of a man who, knowing his girlfriend wanted a puppy, bought her a rubber chew toy. The woman thought a puppy was to follow, but all she got was the chew toy, to give to the puppy if she ever got one.
He says the book was written from painful experience.
”I am the Inept Man. Or at least I was,” he says. ”I was a horrible gift giver. I looked at gift giving as another in a long line of obligations.”
Schnabel says years of observation and experimentation led him to more affectionate gift giving.
Schnabel offers five gift-giving rules:
Rule #1: Stick to the romantic gifts.
Rule #2: Go back and reread Rule #1.
Rule #3: Listen to her. She is not secretive. She wants good gifts and will let you know what they are.
Rule #4: Open your eyes. Everything you need to know is right in front of you.
Rule #5: Failure is inevitable. Don’t worry about it. Just accept it and move on.
Schnabel is quick to point out that money is not always the bottom line to quality gift-giving.
”Money makes it easier to buy gifts, but does not necessarily make them better gifts,” he says.
He suggests keeping a written record somewhere of the significant other’s ring size, clothing sizes, favorite color, favorite perfumes, favorite holidays, chocolates, foods and types of jewelry she likes to wear.
Another great idea:
”Buy numerous greeting cards for different occasions,” he says. ”This way, you don’t have to rush out to a card shop every time something new arises.”
Another helpful key is to offer a gift on what Schnabel calls ”non-obligatory gift giving days, days with no real significance for the masses.”
These events include first date anniversary, first kiss anniversary, and any random day that can be ”Wife Appreciation Day.”
The highlight of the book, and the reason every woman with a creatively challenged husband should run out and buy it, is the chapter, ”Three Thousand Gift Ideas.” This helpful guide categorizes gifts alphabetically, from ”antiques and artwork” to ”various leftovers.”
The chapter helps men figure out what gifts appeal to him when the present should appeal to her. Under the category ”cleaning supplies,” Schnabel writes, ”Don’t do it! Don’t even think about it! How much fun would it be for her to open a dustpan, a bottle of floor wax and a pot scrubber for Christmas?”
He recommends such ideas as ”experiences,” such as trips or classes, and ”novelty and obscure gifts” such as a gumball machine, stained glass or vases.
Schnabel ends with a cautionary note for women.
”To all those women who think their man is hopeless, give him time,” he says. ”Changing behavior does not happen overnight.”