I’m really sorry I haven’t replied your letter. Just came back from a business trip. Give me a couple of days. In the meantime can you help deliver this letter to Jil? Gracias!
“My dear Jil,
You want my advice on what to get for your boyfriend for his birthday? I have some ideas but I’ll also teach you to fish rather than just give you fish.
If you want a man to appreciate your present, you must switch your thinking mode in order to know what to buy. The generally acceptable convention of society is that the man gives whilst the woman benefits. Thus he pays for movies, pays for lunch, pays for shows, buys presents etc. Men are used to this and so never expect much from a woman. This is your opportunity. You’ve got to assume the giving mentality of a man. This will create unusual results and amazement. Men interpret this amazement as reaction to incredible love.
If YOU decide to take HIM out for dinner for example, that’s a switch. That somehow comes out as wonderful to men. He doesn’t know how to deal with such scenarios. He’ll be uncomfortable and “embarrassed”; feel out of place. But he’ll read it that you appreciate him, that you’re recompensing his love, that he’s special. And men like being spoilt! (Don’t worry, you can’t understand how a man can be uncomfortable and enjoy being spoilt at the same time!)
But a dinner is inadequate for his birthday. Men deal in ADEQUACY. They attach weights to presents in a way that’s completely different from a woman’s metrics system. Your gift must be adequate in weight. Unfortunately, many women give “inadequate” gifts – gifts that are underwhelming! If you give just enough to legally qualify as giving a gift, your gift will be inadequate. It’s commemoratory. Men find underwhelming gifts disappointing. It’s like, “after all my commitment this is all I get?!” (Men keep a credit score. It’s a weight measure). But he’ll never tell you. He’ll just smile and swallow his disappointment. But he’ll tag you with a memory note. May be an opener for another woman – especially one who knows how to give!
A man wants to meditate on how “that babe” must really love him! How she’s crazy and determined about him. Now, imagine a woman buying just a card for her boyfriend’s birthday! Men consider such despising and uncaring of the relationship. You can’t care about a man doing that! You’ll lose him eventually. Now, imagine a woman buying a sports car for her man! That’ll be something, isn’t it! I’m not saying you should. Just using it as illustration. And anyway you gotta have money. And the guy had better be worth it. It’s an extreme gesture. I know someone who did, for her husband though. (The husband is successful by the way, not a lazy bum living off her.) She changed her mode. The result? The guy tells EVERY visitor to his house his woman bought him the car! He parked it where all could see. That’s men speak for you, “See what an exceptional woman I married! See her love.” The car is not the exhibit. The woman is!
Now, let me give you a quick guide on picking a gift for a man. Commit the following to memory, it’s your template:
a) Serious hardware. b) Hardware. c) Wear and tear. d) Softwear. (Please mind my spellings).
Serious hardware is a gift like the sports car or anything of that similitude. Men love serious “toys”. This category tends to be very expensive. Only a businesswoman or high level executive can play at this level.
Hardware category includes sound system, television, gadgets, treadmill, computer, phone, ipad, etc.
“Wear and tear” will be anything that rejuvenates his mind and body – games, hobby kit, travel, spa, silk pyjamas, books etc
“Softwear” is fashion and accessories. Will include suits, shoes, wristwatch, shirts, ties, cuff links, perfume, belt… Remember the operative word is ADEQUACY. So buying him one shirt for his birthday will not do. A pair of cufflinks looks stingy and dismissive. And so is a bottle of perfume. It’s lazy! Don’t buy small, small items.
Buy something major plus two or three small items. A suit plus shirt and perfume; TV plus book and something… Of course it depends on your means. Just show you’ve put in effort…your best! But let your best be accompanied with wisdom.
Let me give you some pointers about men’s fashion.
You can’t go wrong with a striking and very expensive looking pair of loafers. Good with jeans, good for weekends. Designer brands tend to be preferable. If not a designer brand then its visual aesthetic must overcome its lack of pedigree.
Always think in ensembles when it comes to fashion for men. So when you buy a shirt think of what tie. Note that if the shirt is patterned the tie cannot be patterned. Mind the collar. He cannot wear high funky collars for business. He’ll look like a low ranking member of the Italian mafia.
Won’t advise jeans. Too technical. Style and fit issues. But jeans or no jeans I assume you know your boyfriend’s stats: Trouser length, waistline, suit size, neck size (UK, US, EU). EU size is plus10 of UK size. Thus UK size 38 suit is Italian 48. Note that fit 38 can be short (S) or regular (R) fit; affects the length of arms of clothes as well as the drop. You don’t want him in something that looks like “Brother, thanks for kindness!” A suit must have army fit; cannot be oversize. And please make sure he removes the label stitched on the arm of the suit! Bush people leave it on to show it’s readymade!
If the neck size for shirt is too big he can’t wear a tie. And he’ll look hungry and severely malnutritioned! Be careful about fitted shirts if your boyfriend is not a model. (Men’s wear comes in “fitted”, “slim” and “regular” categories).
There’s so much to teach but I need to stop here. Hope you get the gist!
Your mentor, LA.
Note: there’s always something a man dreams of having. If you can AFFORD to give it to him, bull’s eye!”
©Leke Alder 2013