Last I checked—which was very, very recently—I’m a guy.
And we guys are not easy to buy stuff for; I understand this. We’re weird and quirky individuals. We’ll say thanks so much for the thoughtful gift, then secretly exchange the bow tie and sweater vest for a machete.
So I’m here to help. My aim is to assuage your uncertainty, to hedge your apprehension that you've chosen the right gift for Captain Dontworryaboutme. My guess is that he's like me—an average middle-aged dude who needs nothing and wants nothing… unless it’s cool. And since you’ve still got a solid week-and-a-half to procure a gift that doesn’t suck for your finicky fellow, here are my top ten token tips this Gringletide season:
10) Hockey tickets—Even though your hometown may be absent an NHL team, that doesn’t mean good hockey isn’t played in your area. Here in the PNW, we’ve a couple of junior hockey teams, the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds. Tickets range from $16 to $40 for the opportunity to watch highly-skilled teenagers sling each other around like spatulas of Crisco. Good times, seriously.
9) 1960s Animé cartoons—Before you judge, check out some of the old Speed Racer or Gigantor episodes. Fast moving and a smidge mistranslated, your beau will squeal like a pig as he hoists this out of his stocking ($23 for the first eleven episodes).
8) Personal grooming devices—You and I both know that your chap could use a little Bastille Day for that old growth around the nose and ears. Nothing will capture his imagination like the sound of the nasal trimmer hitting paydirt. It may sound like a cross between a weed whacker and the Magic Bullet, but you’ll be able to eat tapioca out of those nostrils when he’s done ($33 at Nordstrom).
7) Lunchboxes—They’re back! Did they ever go away?
When I was in grade school, a lot of kids had this Charlie Brown model. Why not drop a subtle hint to see which pail your best bloke had as a schoolboy? He’ll love you for it, even though the price isn’t peanuts (Around $65 on eBay).
6) A pack of floats—I’ve done this a couple of times and it’s fantastic. Suspended in a light- and sound-controlled environment that reduces sensory stimulation, your guy will float in a super-saturated solution of epsom salt and water. The liquid is heated to skin temperature and after about fifteen minutes, he'll lose track of where the water ends and his body begins.
Not suitable for the claustrophobic, it's amazingly relaxing and I’ve come out feeling better and for longer than after a conventional massage (Nearly always available on Groupon, around $40 per hour-long session).
5) National Lampoon’s Vacation Boxset—All four original films are included on this DVD for only $30! Give him Chevy Chase at his comedy apex, bring back Clark, Audrey, Rusty and of course, Cousin Eddie. The shitter will runneth over, and so will your man’s cup.
4) Risk—Appeal to your guy’s inner nerd with the famous board game of world domination. For only $30, you’ll have a million rainy Saturdays-worth of fun while learning how your lifemate handles both megalomania and tactical impotence. Or maybe you already know.
3) A gift card to… nowhere. Seriously, don’t buy him a gift card, even to Hooters.
2) "Feel the Bern” products—Bernie Sanders, opting to forego super pac funding, still rivals Hillary Clinton in dollars raised thanks to small contributions from over 750,000 private donors.
Why not dish out $15 for a coffee mug or $25 for a t-shirt to make your dude look a little smarter than he actually is!
1) Any type of artwork, done by you—How often have I heard a friend say, “I’m not an artist. I can barely draw a stick figure.”? And my reply is, who says you have to draw a stick figure? Everyone’s an artist; I truly believe that. Sketch something out, paint a nice abstract scene, take a beautiful photograph—then frame that shit up because everything looks better in a frame. Trust me, he’ll love both it and you for putting yourself out there.
Good luck and happy shopping!