The 5 Dumbest Gifts for Your Girl

Shopping for that special someone, guys? Everybody is different, but if you don’t know how to shop for women, here are five things you might want to cross off your list.

When it comes to gift-giving, the thought does count – but think twice before you shop for the special lady on your list.

Although we pick presents with good intentions, let’s not forget that good intentions also pave the road to hell. So if you’re a guy without much experience in gifting, or if your special someone has ever found your “perfect gift” perfectly offensive, read on – today we talk about the worst things you can give a girl and why. On Friday, it’s the guys turn.

Guys generally like practical gifts and gadgets – which is why we’re confused that girls don’t. Sometimes they do, but problems pop up when a gift seems too practical, comes with expectations or implies something lacking in your relationship. To flesh out the ideas presented in the video above, here are five categories of gifts the untrained guy might want to avoid.

1. Virtually anything that belongs in a kitchen or is even remotely associated with housework

Dinnerware, utensils, pots and pans, and especially anything that plugs in – these are bad. They might be OK for your mom or grandma, but not for your girlfriend or wife. Why? Let me count the ways. If it’s kitchen-related, the implication is that she should cook for you. Even if your intention is to cut down on the time she spends cooking or to make things easier for her, it’ll come across as the gift of being your personal cook and waitress. Ouch. Likewise things like vacuum cleaners or anything that suggests housework. In fact, to be on the safe side, just avoid electrical cords entirely: there’s nothing that plugs in that she’ll find romantic in any way. And lest you forget, guys, romance is what this entire exchange is about.

2. Clothes

Even if you know her size and favorite colors, this is still risky territory. Fashion is personal, and for many guys, a complete and utter mystery. Do you understand the cuts, fits, and fabrics she likes? Do you know if she cares about the latest trends or the popular labels, and what those are? It’s late in the game to start watching Project Runway. If you pick wrong, the best-case scenario is she’ll feel obligated to wear your gift a few times and gradually move it toward the back of the closet. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll buy her something a size too large and she’ll think you’re saying she’s fat – the equivalent of her buying a magnifying hat to accentuate your bald spot. But worse – much worse. And lingerie? That’s a gift for you, not her.

Does that mean you should never choose clothes? I won’t go that far – after all, you have to buy her something that doesn’t plug in. But recognize that you’re entering a minefield. If you insist on stepping into it, there are two ways to go. The first is to take one of her girlfriends shopping with you – then if it blows up in your face, blame the entire outcome – from idea to execution – on her friend: she won’t be there on Christmas morning to defend herself. But the absolute best way to approach to clothes? Make a nice card that promises her a shopping spree on your dime, maybe during after-Christmas sales, with you in attendance. Love is about sacrifice, guys.

3. Restaurant gift certificates

Based on number one, this might seem like a good idea. Get her out of the kitchen – date night and all that, right? Wrong. This is essentially giving her money and asking her to buy you a meal – at a restaurant you picked. It also comes across as a thoughtless gift, because it’s something you could have picked up at the last minute at the local grocery store. Give her a bottle of champagne with a card attached promising her a night on the town taking her wherever she wants, whenever she wants.

4. Anything remotely related to losing weight or becoming a better person

Gym memberships, exercise equipment, scales, self-help books and videos, cookbooks: bad. Seriously bad. Even if she mentions wanting any of these things, that doesn’t mean she wants them from you. You might as well tell her that yes, now that you think about it, her butt does look fat in those jeans after all.

5. Anything related to cars

I know: it’s hard to imagine that a set of new tires isn’t the perfect gift. But for some reason, women seem attracted to accessories for what they wear, not what they drive. There’s really nothing romantic about car repairs, either. There is one notable exception to this rule, however: an actual, brand-new car. I’m not sure why this is an exception, but I think it has something to do with the price.

So what’s left?

Diamonds, obviously. Seriously though, while jewelry can be a good gift, this isn’t about money. The best gifts you can give (or receive, for that matter) are personal. They’re things that show you actually know and care about what she values both physically and emotionally. Anything that involves spending more time with her is a good bet. Instead of giving gift cards or picking the wrong clothes, make a card and write a nice, romantic note promising to take her out, cook her dinner or do some task for her. Take her on a vacation, take her dancing, take her somewhere she’s talked about and thinks you’ve forgotten about. In short, give her a memory – but don’t forget to follow through, and the sooner the better.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t buy things. But when you do, use your imagination before you use your money. One day a couple of years ago, my girlfriend casually mentioned that she’d always wanted a star tattooed on her ankle. When her birthday rolled around six months later, I gave her a gift certificate for a tattoo. It was completely unexpected, because I rarely remember stuff like that – plus it was adventurous, permanent, and therefore, romantic – definitely not something I’d give my mom.

While a tattoo might not be the perfect gift for the woman who makes your heart skip a beat, the point is to find something that reminds her that she makes your heart skip a beat.

Now ladies, what about you: ever get a really horrible gift? Enter our Worst Gift Ever contest. You’ll laugh at some of the dozens of entries we’ve already gotten – tell us yours and you might win a Flip Mino HD video camera.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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  • I think that as a woman that personally you have to know the woman you are gifting. I would love a pot or pan or an appliance that plugs into the kitchen because I love to cook. So you have to know the person that you are gifting. Every woman is different. The best thing to do is ask or just a gift card.

  • It doesn’t work to generalize too much. I would love any gift that comes with a cord. Electronics and kitchen gadgets are my favorite things. I would not be happy with jewelry or perfume.
    So, ask if you don’t know.

  • Anonymous

    When I first started dating this guy he showed up at my door on Valentine’s Day. When I looked through the peep-hole he was standing there holding a long white box with a big red bow. I excitedly opened what I thought was long-stemmed roses. It turned out to be windshield wipers! He installed them too. I ended up marrying that guy because I knew he would always take care of me and he has. It may have been an awful gift but it was born of pure love.

  • Biggest advice: know the person you are buying for! This is a very general list (and actually kind of offended me at first). For example, I consider myself quite a girly-girl: I love anything pink, shop til you drop days, and being blonde. BUT! I would just love it if my husband bought me anything for my car! Our cars are our babies, and we are both definatly gear heads. Good luck boys on your holiday shopping, and remember to listen to what we’re not saying versus what actually comes out of our mouths :)

  • MO

    I just saw you on the news and think your list is completely stereotypical of an older generation of daters and a bit sexist in your ideas. As the first several comments below have stated that it depends on the woman you are giving to. I personally would love to receive anything that has to do with my car, kitchen or gym membership. Gym memberships do not necessarily imply that the guy thinks that you need to lose weight. Maybe it is an activity you enjoy together or you genuinely want to stay in shape. I would personally prefer something practical over a piece of jewelry.

  • thspeltz

    I’ve received a ton of those “don’t buy” list items However, they’re usually what I need. I would love diamonds, but if I need a vacuum cleaner more…well…I can’t vacuum with diamonds. We farm, so it’s not uncommon to receive the next piece of farm implement for a birthday, anniversary, mothers day..and yes…even Christmas. I feel pretty fortunate to receive a gift certificate for restaurants or clothes. There was even one mothers day where I received nothing at all from anyone. So if I would have received any of these “don’t buy items” I would have been thrilled. Last Christmas I received a carpet shampooer. Since the dog (who generally doesn’t come in the house) had an accident on my living room carpet, I was absolutely thrilled to get a carpet cleaner! Gifts are what you make of them. Theresa

  • Anonymous

    The worst gift I ever received, was a wooden bowl. My now separated husband told me that it was made out of one piece of wood. like that would make me fall in love with it more?

  • Way too sexist. Sorry. I don’t come from that mold. I’m very practical & have simple needs. I’m sure I’m not alone on this.

  • I thought that was solid. Stacy you are awesome!

  • Alright, I think this list is pretty ridiculous. Seems like the women that came up with this list have a little bit of a complex. Here are my thoughts….appliances: if I asked for one or my husband knows there is one we need or I want – what is the problem? We BOTH cook and clean in our home. No reason to be snub about this gift. Clothes: My husband has been very successful at buying me clothes… some husband I guess might not be, but men – if your wife or girlfriend has pointed something out – there is no problem getting it! Restaurant Gift Cards – who cares! To me, if my husband gave me a gift card – first off, he is the person I would want to go with me, or we would get a couple of others together, and if nothing else, it shows “hey I want to go out. Lets make a point to go out on a date.” Weight loss or better person – I guess this lies within your own self esteem. If you asked for a gym membership or its something you have been wanting to renew or a hobby you both want to start together, what is the problem?! Car Stuff…I understand this but at the same time, I would freak out – if I NEEDED tires and my husband felt like it would be a good thing, if nothing else it would show he was concerned for my safety. Obviously some women are a bit too touchy!

  • Anonymous

    Funny thats exactly what my X gave me for Christmas for 18 years!

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