How to identify a man in the middle third of his life:
He still likes to drink, but tends to get hang overs, even though he claims he wasn’t even drunk last night.
Buying for Your Partner:
Men-Men as opposed to young-chimp-men are harder to replace. You may be wed to them, and you might have children that are fond of them. You have adorned their bodies with as many heavy metal such as a watch or rings as your social class will allow and his brother’s wife got him a an ice-cream maker last year. I can see how it could be a real struggle.
What you really need to do is get him to tell you what he wants:
Buying practical gifts for him:
These gifts are not about instigating pleasure; this is about cessation of pain irritation or discomfort. So it is very, very easy to get this wrong!
The chance of you getting this right, without speaking to your partner is basically zero. That doesn’t mean you should shy away from this. These can be great gifts.
This year I have asked for a tool-belt. However good luck suggesting a tool belt to your man as a gift, or “surprising” him with it on the day.
I also now really want a set of Makitauk drills. My wife Hayley is a very intelligent person so she has offered to buy me a drill for Christmas in the past. She was thoroughly rebuffed. It is important to understand that a drill is not a gift. It is an obligation/request for me to do more things around the house. A NEW DRILL is a gift, if I ask for one.
A new drill takes away the pain of trying to do things around the house with a poor quality drill. Owning two drills like a builder would mean I don’t have to change drill bits every other “f*ing screw”. As you can tell: I love doing DIY when I can see the results of my labor. But during DIY I am a vortex of frustration and anger, which is why I love beating it.
You Should Buy Cheap and pay twice:
Practical gifts come in two flavors: Enabling and Mastering. I can’t reiterate this enough: They are only gifts if they have been expressly asked for.
People don’t know how to do anything: As a result, before you spend a lot of money on equipment you need to discover if the task in question is your sort of thing.
Is this the kind of job that you like to do? If they are still at the stage, with this task: Enable them. Buy them a cheap tool, pieces of protective clothing, or bag that will let them have a go at whatever it is at low cost. Maybe don’t make it their main gift. Enabling gifts can be a bit “meh”. How much excitement they generate is exactly proportional to how excited they are to get going on the task.
Mastery Gifts: very dangerous, potential for sulks all round.
I cannot understand how anyone could be perceptive enough to know what Mastery gift someone wants unless they tell you. Also how do you know if a Mastery gift is good? It may sit unused, for most of year but be an absolute god send that brings feelings of gratitude to the surface every time they pick it up. Or maybe they will just sleep easier knowing it is there. On the other hand if you don’t ask first: you are almost certainly going to spend loads on a non-gift and test your partners acting abilities.
So why did I ask for a tool belt?
Hayley asked me what I wanted. We were watching TV at the time, and what a wanted most at that point was not to have to think about what I wanted for Christmas.
However she is an evil genius and set me to work wallpapering the spare room. In order to do this I popped down to B&Q and picked up a load of cheap tools to get the task done. I put the long scissors for cutting the paper in my pocket, to have them to hand. Every time I stepped off the chair I was using I almost impaled my abdomen with the scissors, also nearly sliced my hand open on a Stanley knife in my back pocket. At the point I remembered that I am often stabbing myself in the abdomen when I do stuff like this, I waist a lot of my life looking for tools I have put down and I remembered that tool-belts exist. Et voila, easy peasy: “if anyone asks; I want a tool belt”.
The observant above will have notice Hayley’s other evil genius strategy: In order to get a bloke to think about what they want, offer to buy them a Mastery Gift they don’t want.
Nothing focusses the mind on what you want for Christmas like the prospect of receiving an expensive and shit gift.
A few years ago:
H: “Do you want a drill for Christmas? “
Me: “No. What? Why would you even think that? “
H: “You keep using my dad’s: I thought you could use one?”
Me: “I understand where you are coming from, but that really isn’t a gift. That is just something we need for the house. How much were you thinking of spending anyway?”
Me: “Okay; not a drill.”
You see now I know Hayley’s intended budget and am really afraid I am getting a drill or something equally expensive and shit. Boom: I give it some thought and ask for what I want.
Warning: Only offer up genuinely helpful practical gift ideas like this. I am sort of joking: One of the reasons why I love my wife is that I never think she is trying to manipulate me. The Drill at the time was a thoughtful and considered idea. Either that or Hayley is so good I don’t know she is doing it to me.
If you don’t think something practical is on the cards, return to suggestions for gifts for younger men: and just spend more than you did the last time round.
Memorable practical gifts like this:
Enabling: Halford’s Bike tool set
Mastery: Bike work stand (use it two or three times a year. Love it).
Just nice: Friends got me a work knife for my 30th with wooden Handle. I have cause to use it all the time, because I work outside a lot.
Practical gifts don’t have to be boring:
My works stand made a perfectly viable Dalek toy, for me to open on Christmas day, and this Christmas My work belt, will enhance my Bat Man Impressions no end.