Holiday gifts for husbands are usually quite an easy affair to attend to, assuming one has the cash. As a species and gender, men are more transparent than toddlers as to their secret wishes. It all comes down to the financial bottom line in determining which and how many of their desired gifts to purchase and wrap.
Turning this concept on its head is like flipping a triangle to stand on its pointed little head. In other words, there are usually a lot more bad gifts to buy out there than even mediocre ones. And how bad is bad?
After soliciting some opinions from some male friends – as my ex-husbands and I aren’t actually on speaking terms – here is my list:
1. A Vacuum Cleaner
The rare times I have ever seen a man touch one of these appliances is to move it aside in order to reach his golf clubs. I have no idea of the source of their antipathy toward vacuum cleaners, especially when they show such enthusiasm for other gadgets. It has long been my contention that there are millions to be made when some wife somewhere designs a vacuum cleaner that is shoulder-carried, moves only side-to-side, and sounds like a weed eater.
2. A “European Shoulder Bag”
Yes, the commercial for Progressive Insurance Company helped me to remember this one. Yes, this item is convenient, yes it’s used in Europe, yes Brad Pitt has one. But I’m fairly certain that Angelina Jolie isn’t reading this article.
Buying your husband a bag will be confusing to the rest of the world. Straight men will assume that he’s gay because of it; gay men will know he’s heterosexual and married to be using it at all, especially since it clashes with his jacket. Straight and gay women will just know he’s attached, whatever the gender of his partner.
3. A Speedo Swimsuit
Unless your intention is to make absolutely certain that other women at the beach or pool will not consider your husband – married or otherwise – under any circumstances, skip this gift.
Further, there are approximately only ten men on the planet that have the necessary physical and attitudinal prerequisites to wear a speedo. Mark Spitz was one. I’m almost certain your husband is not one of the remaining nine.
4. A Car-Cleaning Caddy
I’m not making this up. I saw it at a store under a banner proclaiming it a “perfect gift” for a man. The caddy was filled with special car wash soap, sponges, cloths, wax, glass cleaner, tire black, Armor All spray, car deodorizer, and other items too numerous to mention. I was actually surprised that it didn’t include a vacuum cleaner (see #1), but I suppose the male pox on vacuums is so well-known as to preclude it.
Now, I suppose that this gift might be of interest to a young man in love with his first set of wheels. Temporarily. The only grown men I know who would be interested in this item as a gift attend 12-step meetings on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in church basements once a week.
(As an aside, there were mixed opinions on this item.)
5. “Male Enhancement” Medications
There’s nothing quite like finding some capsules of “male enhancement” medications in his stocking to let your beloved know that your relationship is somewhat lacking in some areas. You might as well buy a t-shirt with a big arrow pointing to the side where he normally walks, and the words, “I’m With Teenie.”
You are deluded if you think that he will welcome this gift with the same enthusiasm as the male actors in those late night commercials. He will be insulted and probably embarrassed – for if you’re dense enough to give him this item as a present, I’m sure you haven’t considered doing so privately, as opposed to in front of your combined families.