back to article Gadgets are NOT the perfect gift for REAL men

Let’s pretend it’s your birthday. For some of you, it may actually be your birthday, in which case you’re going to find this bit simple enough. Now, what kind of present would you like? Concentrate as I work myself into a trance. The mists are clearing... you want... you want... some sort of techie gadget. Well, that was easy. …

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So disappointed, after three boring minutes I was expecting its head to explode or something...

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Meh

A real Gift

I'd just like a weekend on my own, just me, no children, no wife, just a beer and a take away.

That would be the perfect present to me.

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Simple enough

I was told many decades ago never to buy a woman a present that had a plug on it (if only for the eminently practical reason that it might replace you). So far as buying for men: a bottle of single malt is universally acceptable.

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Re: Simple enough

Ach! Whisky? Gross!

...which is my way of saying that the acceptability depends on the receiver.

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Pint

Re: Simple enough

The one good thing about receiving whisky is that it'll last long enough to be given to someone who will like it. Despite the fact that I gag when people mention the blasted stuff, never drink it, never express an interest in it, I have been given half a dozen bottles of it over the years. God knows why. And I'm such an easy person to buy presents for! (Yes, a box of fine ale would be most gratefully received)

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Re: Simple enough

I think someone may have given me a bottle of whiskey as a present. Not sure.

All I can remember is waking up with an empty bottle on the floor and having "armitage shanks" imprinted on my head (with thanks to Al Murray :) ).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple enough

> having "armitage shanks" imprinted on my head

"ƨʞnɒʜƨ ɘǫɒƚimɿɒ", surely?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple enough

"Ach! Whisky? Gross!

...which is my way of saying that the acceptability depends on the receiver."

No, obviously what that means is that you're not a real man. Perhaps you'd like some Malibu and a pint of milk instead?

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Re: Simple enough

Ach! Milk? Gross!

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WTF?

Re: Simple enough

I was told many decades ago never to buy a woman a present that had a plug on it

So, it should have been a cordless Powerfile.

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Anonymous Coward

As a sociological/psychological experiment, you could get him an Ipad and see if it turns him into a slobbering iTard.

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Bang on...

My wife needed a new printer. So I got her one for her birthday. Was not well received...

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Re: Bang on...

Giving her something like that has the benefit of lowering her expectations, and forces her to be more explicit about what she would really appreciate instead of expecting you to mind-read her.

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Re: useful presents, eh?

Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 272, No. 1575, p1877-1884 (2005)

doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3152

by Peter D. Sozou, Robert M. Seymour

What are the characteristics of a good courtship gift? We address this question by modelling courtship as a sequential game. This is structured as follows: the male offers a gift to a female; after observing the gift, the female decides whether or not to accept it; she then chooses whether or not to mate with the male. In one version of the game, based on human courtship, the female is uncertain about whether the male intends to stay or desert after mating. In a second version, there is no paternal care but the female is uncertain about the male's quality. The two versions of the game are shown to be mathematically equivalent.

We find robust equilibrium solutions in which mating is predominantly facilitated by an ‘extravagant’ gift which is costly to the male but intrinsically worthless to the female.

By being costly to the male, the gift acts as a credible signal of his intentions or quality. At the same time, its lack of intrinsic value to the female serves to deter a ‘gold-digger’, who has no intention of mating with the male, from accepting the gift. In this way, an economically inefficient gift enables mutually suitable partners to be matched.

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life lessons from Badfinger

I put away the knife, the chisel and the saw

I’ve locked away my life behind this old oak door

To make a simple spoon, a token of my love

In hope that maybe soon, it’s me you’re thinking of

~~~~~~~~

So take my spoon, Blodwyn

Make it soon, Blodwyn

The valley knows the way I feel today

So take my spoon, Blodwyn

Make it soon, Blodwyn

Before some other spoon takes you away

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Anonymous Coward

Re: useful presents, eh? -Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship

So what are these "intrinsically worthless" gifts? I suppose an enormous firework display while the woman is wearing dark glasses might count, or perhaps a trip on a superyacht in conditions so vile that everybody is puking down below.

It seems to me that the authors of this paper might need more background research in economics, because the whole "intrinsically worthless" thing looks like it needs more definition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: useful presents, eh? -Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship

@ribosome

> So what are these "intrinsically worthless" gifts?

Concert tickets for Adele. Two tickets are doubly-worthless and doubly-expensive, but shows your commitment to her. ;-)

[Useful trick here is to date someone with a sister/really good best friend: when she says "I wish X could come as well" you can 'reluctantly' give up your ticket to the sis/bestie. You've still spent the money but at least you don't have to sit through the concert - only the reliving of it afterwards. Forever.]

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Mushroom

Re: useful presents, eh? -Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship

Sigh. I bought my wife a pair of tickets for something called "P!nk" thinking she'd take one of her gfs along. Unfortunately, the designated victim fell ill at the last moment and I had to attend in her place.

Four hours of my life I will never get back. Grrr.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Bang on...

Currently in the "Highly Rated" comments on article page, this is comment (about lowering expectations) is just below the one about Dutch Oven as if a reply. Just seems so fitting

http://imgur.com/pwznhDH

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Joke

Re: useful presents, eh? -Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship

Best pointless gift, 2 tickets to the ballet, then you can sit there in your best bib-and-tucker and ask the following questions,...

- Which one is Wayne Sleep? he's the only one I know.

- Will there be a half-time break?

- There's no numbers on their backs - how does the referee know when they're offside?

- Why is there a net over the orchestra pit?

It may be painful in the short term but you will get silence and non-participation during the next footy game.

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Well speaking personally...

I'll need a new reserve chute and helmet sometime next year. A shiny new wing'd be nice, too, but I think I have to save up for that one!

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Geronimoooooooooooooo ............. <splat>

> I'll need a new reserve chute

Might I suggest it's unwise to accept a parachute from a person who stands to benefit from your life insurance.

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Re: Geronimoooooooooooooo ............. <splat>

Nah, if I do things right, I never need it!

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MJI
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Last Christmas/Birthday

I received a Vita - I was happy to get a gadget!

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I am not making this up

Gifts I have bought for my other half over the years include....

Cheese grater

Kettle (she *loved* it)

USB hard drive

...and we're still together

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Re: I am not making this up

I've learnt that it's often a good idea to get a 'wind up' present so the real gift is a little better appreciated if you've bought something that may not have been appropriate.

For example, one year I went into a clothes store during a closing down sale and bought the bottom half of a female manikin. Along with the real present (can't actually remember what it was) I gave my wife the new bum she complains about wanting from time to time.

After the initial shock (perhaps letting her unwrap it in front of her entire family was a bit mean), it went down reasonably well and made for a memorable gift. Made a good footstool too!

The worst thing you can buy, is an Iron - even as the wind-up present - it just doesn't fly (or if you're unlucky, it does - at you).

Got my 5ft Mother-in-law a couple of Yellow Pages books the Xmas before last too

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Windows

Re: I am not making this up

Ben, if you were part of my family, you'd be either a homeless person or a body discreetly buried under the chicken coop. :0)

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Coat

Re: I am not making this up

I did think about getting my wife a memory upgrade. Can't find anyone that makes a compatible one...

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Re: I am not making this up @ Ben Tasker

"The worst thing you can buy, is an Iron ..."

As my dad found out many years ago. Mum had been saying that the old one was not working properly, and so he really thought this would make a good present for her birthday ...

Trouble is, he didn't learn - I remember the (apparently) seven-day frosty atmosphere after he got her a new chip-pan after complaints about the old one!

Did it sink in with me, you might ask? Well, probably not, given the receptions to a satnav, an MP3/4 player, and a pair of hiking boots over the years (not for my mum, though). I now insist on either a) a very clear statement of what she wants or b) it is going to be something soooooooooo useless and expensive that the argument is going to be as big as getting something useful (and probably cheaper) anyway. I refuse to buy silly fluffy monkeys just to "show I care".

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Must be Friday

Ah, Dabbsy, more reliable than the BOFH and nearly as funny. Have a beer.

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Anonymous Coward

REAL Blokes expect REAL presents

Who actually likes those rubbish, plasticky "gadgets"? They're totally sodding useless.

Much better to put some thought in to it and discuss what they want/need in their work/hobby. Nothing worse than having to fake happiness when someone buys you something you already own.

Also, if you do have to give up and decide to go down the voucher root, forget vouchers and simply give cash. Vouchers are too easily turned to rubbish these days by chains etc. going bust.

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Anonymous Coward

Do petrol strimmers count as gadgets? Because that's what I'm coveting at the moment.

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No, that's a tool, and a perfectly reasonable purchase at any time.

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Actually; if the guy isn't into gadgets then power tools may well be the way to go...the more dangerous the better. Or something like a Leatherman. Or one of those Cree 1500 lumens torches from eBay...£15 and they're awesome.

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Anonymous Coward

Talking of power tools ... I find that if i whine for long enough I usually get what I want.

After an inordinate amount of hinting I scored a snow blower last christmas. This year's campaign is focused on a robotic lawnmower.

I almost feel sorry for my long-suffering family.

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Anonymous Coward

This year's campaign is focused on a robotic lawnmower.

Best gadget ever.

I hate mowing, and the little green robot means I don't have to do it. The dog ignores it. It just trolls around slowly in the sunshine apparently doing nothing, and then you notice the grass is now short.

Just get one. You will not regret it. I don't work for a lawnmower company, but I really wish I'd invented it.

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if the guy isn't into gadgets then power tools may well be the way to go

I found myself wondering about the blurry line between gadgets and real tools. For example, how should you feel if your gift was a set of three miniature chainsaws ... and a juggling instruction DVD?

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That would probably count as gadget....if you can only lose one finger at a time then it's probably not a real chainsaw.

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Anonymous Coward

Gadgets vs. tools

Here I was all these years thinking how useless some of these electronics were. Now I understand. I think the most gadget(y) thing I own is the sound system in my car. But somehow that seems a bit to big/integrated/custom to qualify as a gadget.

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I periodically remind friends, family, and associates that I don't "do" birthdays. I do not stress about getting presents for them, and don't even give them the option of doing the same for me by simply never revealing my birthday where it is not legally necessary to do so. Has caused offence a few times, but they all get the hint after a while.

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Unhappy

Occasionally I find that I have to cheat and either tell someone that my birthday is the 30th of Feb, or just pick a random date at least 8 months away, hoping they'll forget by the time you get there.

It's amazing how annoyed some people will get if you tell them that you don't do birthdays,

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Man, I wish I could +1000 this. One of my ex-friends is precisely for this reason. He'd get really offended and pissy when I shied away from the birthday thing no matter how many times I tried to explain it. One year I just finally told him to fuck off and die.

Since I can't think of gifts for other folks, I feel *really* bad when someone gives me something, especially since it's never anything close to something I want, and since I'm not good at faking my expressions, you can tell right away from my face. Plus I hate a big fuss over things.

A simple "happy birthday" is sufficient and maybe an amusing card if you really want to go overboard.

I'll have to steal that "Feb 30th" trick.

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Anonymous Coward

Anti-selfworship

To do or not to do birthdays...

I totally agree. I cannot fake things and my face shows it all:

"What? Why did you even remember my birthday? Oh! it was so we could have another excuse to have a pint!? Good on you matey!"

"What? Why did you even remember my birthday? Huh? I hate these kinds of shirts..."

"What? Why did you even remember my birthday? Shit... It's the wrong model..."

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Power tools are gadgets too

The older generation seem to prefer power tools, but they're just big gadgets really.

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FAIL

Re: Power tools are gadgets too

Gadgets don't rip up a 10cm concrete floor - power tools do. Real power tools, that is,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Power tools are gadgets too

The difference is:

Gadgets: Fun, but of no real practical use

Power tools: Primarily designed to do actual, practical work

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Happy

Last wife's birthday I got her a slow-cooker. Year before that, a Dutch Oven (aka big iron pot). If I'm to believe her (and I do), she REALLY appreciated the gifts.

God, how I do love that woman.

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Mushroom

Dutch Oven...

I gave my wife a Dutch Oven once; I slept on the sofa for a week...

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dutch+oven

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Re: Dutch Oven...

That was a usage of "Dutch Oven" that I was unfamiliar with, have an upvote for making me smile and for helping me stay out of trouble

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Dutch Oven?

I am guessing you don't mean the sort that happens under a duvet? If she enjoyed that then she's one wacky lady ;)

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