It is better to give than to receive. Except, of course, if we’re talking about oral sex.
Oh, and in one other situation: When it’s Christmas and you’re in an undefined relationship.
Two years ago at this time, I had been dating a guy named Jorge on and off for about a year. I had ended it twice because he wasn’t ready for a relationship and I was. No hard feelings, I said. But he kept coming back, saying that he really liked me and wanted to “try.” And I was a sucker.
When Christmas rolled around, I thought it would be appropriate to give him a gift. Nothing extravagant, as we hadn’t declared boyfriend-girlfriend status yet. Just something that said “We’ve been banging for nearly a year and I’ve enjoyed it.”
I braved the parking at Venice Beach on two separate occasions and scoured the boardwalk trying to find the vendor who sold an artifact Jorge admired once when we were there. When I couldn’t find the vendor, I was dejected. Still determined to find the second most perfect gift, I searched the malls and settled on a very cool Armani Exchange shirt I knew he’d like, even though it cost a bit more than I’d wanted to spend.
When Christmas arrived, he told me he didn’t get me anything because he was broke. Funny, because two days earlier he spent $50 on a pair of earbuds he didn’t need.
I felt like an idiot marinated in loser juice.
He felt a little guilty and was touched at my efforts, but I could tell it was the beginning of the end. Because this meant I cared more than he did – and we both knew it. Sure enough, he bailed about a month later.
Many of my girlfriends have similar stories. Around the holidays, many women are overcome with the spirit of giving and tend to go overboard with a new beau.
Fewer things are more awkward than dating someone new around the holidays. If you don’t give something and he does, you feel like a jackass. And if you do give something and he doesn’t, you feel like a dumbass.
The sad reality is, most of us would rather feel like a jackass than a dumbass.
So, my advice to the ladies on holiday gift giving to new dudes is this: less is more. And if you get caught empty-handed when he proffers a present, you can always whip up some last minute blow job coupons, and trust me, he’ll be happy as a clam.
Here are my gift-giving guidelines for guys who are not your boyfriend (yet):
Dating one month or less:
- Nada. Unless you’re one of those nutty couples who rush into things at Kardashian speed, nothing is expected if you’ve been dating less than a month.
- Baked goods. If you feel oddly compelled to give something, bake him some homemade banana bread or a pie. He’s a guy, he’ll dig it. Unless he’s a pastry chef.
Dating one to three months:
- Sexy lingerie. For yourself. Wear it one night and wrap yourself in a big bow. If things don’t work out, you keep the mesh teddy.
- DVD or book. Pick a non-romantic genre, like comedy, action or hardcore porn. Don’t spend a lot of money, maybe $20. Remember, you can always add BJ coupons if necessary.
Dating more than three months:
This is tricky. If it’s been more than three months and you’re not exclusive, it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking. A few weeks before, feel it out with a “So, what’s on your Christmas list?” If he blows it off, play it safe and stick with the guidelines above. If he asks about yours and hints that he might get you something, you might be safe to go a little further, like:
- Concert tickets. But only if you get them dirt cheap on Goldstar and it’s a band you like, too.
- Something related to alcohol. A flask, a beer mug, a respectable bottle of booze.
- A brick of cocaine. Kidding. That’s WAY too expensive.
Many women are natural-born givers. Resist this urge. Giving too much to a man who is not your boyfriend can easily freak him out. Remember, you’re a woman. You can easily make up for it with sex.
So, remember the basics:
- Less is more
- Steer clear of anything mushy or romantic
- BJ coupons work great in a pinch
And incidentally, ladies, don’t go apoplectic if he gives you something super lame. Many guys are just naturally clueless when it comes to that stuff. It’s a missing gene or something. I know, life’s not fair.
UPDATE: I have expanded this post and included a gift guide for men – read it here!
Ever had a gift-giving catastrophe with a new relationship? Please share so the rest of us don’t feel so dumb.
Categories: In My Most Excellent Opinion