Monday, January 10, 2011

Dear Shopping Savage...

Dear Shopping Savage,

My wedding anniversary is approaching and my wife is impossible to shop for. We're both in great places in our careers so if she wants something she gets it, leaving little room for me to surprise her. She's not much of a girlie girl, so I'm limited to what I can buy, and she yells at me if I spend too much.

Do you have any practical advice or good gift suggestions?


Anniversary Gift Dilemma


Dear A.G.D.,

If a tree grew every time a man said he had to find a gift for an "impossible to shop for" woman we'd all be living like The Swiss Family Robinson. Like most, you're spinning your wheels to produce a thoughtful, heartfelt and anniversary-worthy gift in a matter of days when it takes proper planning, attention to detail and a keen sense of timing to execute an annual gift of any sort.

Without proper planning you have to improvise. The first improvised step to consider would be calling for reinforcements. Contact one or two of her closest friends to ask if there's anything she's talked about wanting recently. You should also call the women closest to you and gain their insight about what would (or wouldn't) work as far as a gift goes. With any luck, brainstorming with the people who know you two best as a couple should plant a gift idea in your head or at least point you in the right direction.

Next, consider the sentimentality of the gift. If you decide to go with any suggestion made, even if its a very good one, think of how you can add a personal touch. A piece of jewelry, for example, is made that much more special with an inscription. And lastly, ask yourself (or your assistant) this: does the woman that has everything really have everything to make her demanding life easier? Take into account her routine and think about how your gift could be thoughtful, useful and a daily reminder of you.

In the future, plan to work smarter and not scramble harder as your anniversary nears. Keep a (hidden) running tab of anything she mentions in passing that may come in handy for future gift-giving situations like anniversaries and birthdays. Keep the list updated, crossing off the things she buys while highlighting what she forgets.

Though to be fair, some of the challenges you face have been made even tougher as most working women live their lives in overdrive. Decades of pressure to perform and produce like men at work have caused them to be independent even if they're not. Who needs a thoughtful parter when you have a thorough PDA? Instant gratification has become the new coping mechanism for most women, leaving little room for the men in their lives to reward them for working so hard. If they want it, its theirs, no questions asked, no time wasted.

This is why, above all else, your anniversary gift should be a reminder to your wife that she may spend her days like a man but she's still a woman. And all women, whether their careers allow them to admit it or not, have a soft side. Look at this as your own opportunity to show your wife that if she can evolve, so can you; don't be afraid to get in touch with your feminine side...of gift giving at least.

If you want to go a little more by the book, check out this site for a list of traditional and non-traditional anniversary gifts.

Need sartorial advice? Email me:

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