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The 5 dumbest gifts for your guy

Shopping for that special someone, girls? Everybody is different, but here are some things you might want to add to your no-buy list.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 3, 2010 12:50PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


It seems to me that, by and large, men are much easier to buy gifts for than women. Although I'm a man, and therefore biased, I think I have a strong case: In general, women want gifts that represent feelings and emotions, which for men tends to result in a lot of head-scratching and trips to the jewelry store.

Men, on the other hand, just want to have fun.


As we said in "The 5 dumbest gifts for your girl," never buy a woman anything that plugs in. Men, on the other hand, are perfectly happy with power tools, games or computers -- pretty much anything that moves, has lights or makes noise.


Take a look at the following video that will introduce you to the five dumbest gifts you can give your guy. Then we'll get into more details and other things to avoid below.

Clothes. I often get clothes as gifts, for an obvious reason: Unless somebody gives me clothes, I'd most likely be naked by now. Because while I can easily remember my last trip to the hardware store (about two hours ago), I can't remember the last time I went into a store and bought clothes. Plus, I'm forever forgetting to change into crappy clothes before embarking on home-improvement projects, so I'm continually ruining the few stain-free clothes I have left. So there's no question that I need and expect clothes for Christmas. But this isn't a story about what guys need, it's about what guys want. In short, clothes are boring.


Gift cards. We said the same in "The 5 dumbest gifts for your girl." This gift shows you cared enough to grab a piece of plastic from a grocery store end cap. I honestly believe that gift cards are the worst present ever invented. I understand the logic: Gift cards allow you to give someone something that they really want, allows them to get it cheaper at after-Christmas sales, yada, yada, yada. But could anything be less personal? I'd much rather have you miss the mark entirely and get me something stupid than buy me something that shows you not only don't know what I want, you don’t even care enough to take a stab at it.


Tickets that are really for you. Guys and girls are both guilty of this: getting something they really want and hoping the other person will like it, too. Everyone wants to share hobbies and interests with their partner, but gift giving isn't the place for it. He likely doesn't want tickets to the opera, a museum, a play, or a concert featuring your favorite band. Focus on what he likes. Sure, it could mean spending the evening at a monster truck rally, but hey, that's why it's special.


Self-help anything. Are you trying to be nice, or is this some sort of passive-aggressive attempt at controlling my behavior? You're supposed to like me the way I am -- or at least act like you do. So please don't give me a gym membership or the South Beach diet book. If you know that I like Rollerblades or bikes, and I'm already doing it, fine. Buy me blades or a bike. But the last thing I want from you on Christmas morning is thinly veiled hints that I'm not OK. You're supposed to tell me that stuff directly when we're fighting.


Self-portraits. As I mentioned in the video above, the worst gift I've ever gotten was a collection of pictures from my girlfriend at the time. She had gone to one of those glamour photography places and bought a package of pictures that ranged from a calendar to a giant, framed portrait of herself that was -- I swear to you -- about twice life-size. I hung it on the wall that faced my bedroom door, and every time I walked into the bedroom and turned on the light it scared me half to death. It wasn't that she wasn't attractive. She was. And I didn't mind having her picture. But a billboard? Please.


If you want to give him pictures of you -- especially pictures of the two of you together that spark great memories -- go for it. Just avoid giving anything that has to go up on a wall.


Video games. This one is tricky, because video games might be exactly what he really wants. The problem with this gift is that once you give it to him, for the next month he'll be a zombie, barely leaving the sofa long enough to eat or shave. Go ahead: Set the house on fire. He won't notice. If you're giving the gift of games, make sure they're suitable for two players and you're down with it too.


Cologne. This can be a nice gift, and I certainly want to smell nice for you. But since I rarely remember to wear it, if you gave me cologne last year, odds are I still have plenty left. Better idea? Give me some fancy shaving cream and a nice shaving brush to lather it up. I shave a lot more often than I wear cologne, and this is a nice luxury. Which reminds me of another horrendous gift.


Electric razors. Every year about this time you start seeing ads for electric razors. Over the decades the prices have changed -- now you can easily spend $150  -- but the claims remain the same: "Shaves as close as a blade!" No, it doesn't.


Appliances. I know I said that men like things that plug in. But note that I also said they like things that move, have lights or make noise. A toaster oven doesn't do any of those things. Table saw? Absolutely. George Foreman grill? No thanks. Besides, I do my grilling where all men do -- on the patio.

So what's left?

If you don't know what to get him, just ask. Guys are usually straightforward and open about what they want. If he has no idea, your best bets are technology, tools, and car accessories. If it's practical, that's great. If it's fun to play with, even better.


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