Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Survey the District: What to Give

Survey the District’s coming early this week, and this question comes from one of our male readers.

Dear Date the District,

What are the right gifts to be getting a girl at the different stages of a relationship? For example when is it okay to get jewelry, lingerie, toys, vacations, clothes? I don't want to scare her off and I don't want to be a cheapskate.


Well, feel free to buy us jewelry, clothes, and vacations on the first date.

The answer to your question, like most relationship questions, is: it depends. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to gift giving, especially because it’s sometimes hard to pin-point what stage you’re in in a relationship. Some couples might only see each other once or twice a week six months after their first date, while others might get married on their three-month anniversary.

It also depends on the person. Some people might be freaked out if you tried to buy them a sex toy as an anniversary present. Others would love it.

If you’re strapped for cash or just not into the whole showering-your-lover-with-gifts thing, you probably don’t need to worry about giving gifts for no reason in the first few months.

Things can get confusing around birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. If you’re lucky, the first milestone you’ll hit as a couple will be your birthday. Then you can see what your S.O. gives you and give a gift of similar value (both monetary and sentimental) when his or her birthday/December rolls around.

If you’re not so lucky, start small. If it’s a birthday, consider something that doesn’t come with an obvious price tag. Tickets to a concert, play, sports game, or event can be great if you’re worried about not making your gift too personal. Just make sure that it’s something the recipient wants to go to and that he/she is free that night. Buy two tickets and make it clear that he/she isn’t obligated to bring you.

If tickets aren’t quite up your alley, it really depends on both of your personalities and disposable income. But if it’s something that would be too extravagant to pick up for yourself on an impulse buy, it’s probably too much.

If you’re still stuck, try asking friends for advice. If you’re trying to buy a present for a girl, consult her friends. If you’re trying to buy a present for a guy, ask your friends. They’ll probably have better advice.

When a holiday or anniversary rolls around, it never hurts to talk to your partner about expectations for gifts. You can bring it as a joke, but if you’re serious enough to exchange gifts, you should be serious enough to discuss it. If he/she seems freaked out, say something like, “Well, I love buying presents, so you’re getting one.”

If you’re really trying to express your feelings with AMEX, again, it’s a good idea to start with baby steps and gauge the reaction each time. Start by bringing back a small gift from a vacation, or send flowers to her house for no reason. If she doesn’t seem freaked out, try waiting a few weeks, and you could try surprising her with clothes. If you’re still getting the green light, you can keep building up, but jewelry’s probably best saved for special occasions (i.e., holidays, birthdays, anniversaries). And vacations should never be a surprise.

But if things get awkward, it’s less about the gift you gave and more about how you react. If the person seems freaked out, tell him/her that it’s a combination present (“Well, I figured this would be Christmas and your birthday. And Hanukah. And Arbor Day.”) If the recipient seems dismayed, say, “Oh, this is just part one. Wait till you see part two!”

And then come up with a part two. Fast.

No comments:

Post a Comment