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City Life

Use your head - give her a gift that's from the heart

Published December 24, 2005

This is for you clueless guys who still haven't bought your wife or girlfriend a Christmas present, because you have no idea what to get her.

I don't mind telling you, you're in trouble already.

You might think, "It's the thought that counts," which is absolutely true, but should not give you comfort. It's what she thinks your gift says about how you feel about her that counts, but you guys probably read right over that sentence.

I did a little informal poll this week at the gym, one place where women are honest with each other. My question was: "What is the worst Christmas present your husband or boyfriend ever gave you?"

"A Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ!" one woman answered without hesitation.

Her husband must have seen the infomercial, she said. She stuffed it in the back of a closet with the Christmas decorations, and every year when she sees it, she says to her husband, "Oh, here's your Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ. You still haven't used it."

Here is an important clue: Don't buy her anything that has to do with work, especially work that will benefit you.

You say your wife asked for a toaster oven?

Get it in writing.

On with the poll. "The wrong color lipstick!"

Give the guy points for buying something personal, but his error more than wiped them out.

"He couldn't even take the time to look on my dresser and see what color I wear!" said his wife.

It is a big mistake to buy her something that is not her. It proves what she has always suspected: You don't pay attention to her. You don't know what she wants. You don't even know who she is!

True, lipstick is a little cheap, but it won't matter if you come home with a $28,000 sable coat if she's a member of PETA.

Next in the poll:

"A white cotton nightgown that looked like Little House on the Prairie. Ouch. There's a guy who deserves to suffer.

Never, ever buy her something that could in any way suggest that you find her less than desirable. It doesn't matter if she wears your holey old T-shirts to bed or buys underwear that looks like it's out of a 1955 Sears catalog. If you buy her a nightgown, it should be sexy. If you don't know what that means, ask an attractive young saleswoman.

And if you don't know her size, buy a small. If she wears a medium or large, she won't mind; she will mind an extra large.

Let's end the poll on a high note:

After hearing the question, the subject was quiet for a moment, then she shook her head.

"No," she said. "I can't think of anything. I have liked everything he has ever given me."

"How long have you been married?" I challenged.

"Thirty-eight years."

There's always a guy who ruins it for the rest of you, isn't there?

"But you probably gave hints," said Ms. Rotisserie.

"Yes!" said Ms. Lipstick. "It's easy for him to buy the right thing if he just listens."

Now I admit even if you're listening, it can still be tough.

For example: This week I said to my husband, "You know, I'd really like another cashmere sweater, but they'll all be on sale after Christmas. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't buy me one. Or that you should."

But don't feel too sorry for the guy.

Last Christmas, he gave me a copy of French Women Don't Get Fat.

Sandra Thompson, a Tampa writer, can be reached at City Life appears on Saturday.

[Last modified December 24, 2005, 01:09:13]

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