No thank you: The horrible gifts men buy women

Photo:Courtesy

Even though the season for gifting is upon us, again, many people are not good at giving gifts. However, the mainstream perception among most women we spoke to is that Kenyan men are the worst gift-givers.

From wrong size bras, fake jewelry, knock-off designer handbags, ill-fitting shoes to wrong size underwear and cheap perfume, men seem to get it wrong most of the time.

For a certain Gertrude, her husband is in the habit of buying her kitchenware as gifts, especially during the December festivities.

On yet another day, he surprised her with an ugly wig, which, she says, looked like a rugged bird’s nest.

“I have never understood why he assumes buying me sufurias, cutlery and cups excites me. If anything, these are items that the whole family uses. Most men don’t put thoughts or creativity to gifting,” says Gertrude.

Seemingly, to most men, anything goes; be it on Christmas, New Year or during birthdays.

Farm equipment as anniversary gift to wife

Small wonder then, that, some men, especially in rural Kenya, have no qualms buying their wives farm equipment as marriage anniversary gifts.

When we hit the streets to get views on matters gifting, it was evident that many Kenyan men hardly buy their women gifts. And the few who do always get it all wrong.

“Getting a gift from a Kenyan man is a miracle. They just don’t buy women gifts, unless there are prospects of getting something in return.

Still, the few who try are awful gift-givers,” hissed Caro, a Nairobi-based beautician, who has no kind words for Kenyan men.

Hear her: “When buying a woman a gift, it has to be something she loves. Not what the giver loves or suspects she will like! The present has to be not just meaningful, but also memorable.”

Why is it that Kenyan men hardly gift their women? And when they do, why do they always buy bad ones? Is it because they have no clue about their women’s tastes and preferences?

Or are they just tight-fisted and find good, meaningful gifts expensive? Or they are not romantic and gentlemanly enough? If the prevailing opinion is anything to go by, all the above could be true.

Kitchenware as X-Mas presents

Photo:Courtesy

Still, there are some presents women don’t expect from their men, especially during the festive seasons. Kitchenware, for instance, as Christmas gifts to your wife or girlfriend is a no-no.

Some argue that gifts such as cooking pans, knives or spoons are a clear indication that you expect them to hang around the kitchen, slaving for you.

“It’s shocking that even around this festive season of giving, when men are supposed to be buying their mothers, grandmothers, daughters and wives gifts, they still stroll home empty handed. You would think they are from church!” scoffs Lucy, a receptionist in Nairobi.

“You send a very wrong message when you buy your woman bathroom slippers, a new cooking stick or a pot as a Christmas gift,” chuckles Lucy.

She adds: “More importantly, it’s not just unwise, but also very dangerous to, for instance, buy a furious wife a knife as a gift when she is expecting a banquet of flowers.”

Lucy advises men to stay away from certain gifts, lest they buy ones that won’t be appreciated. “Play safe by keeping off gifts such as lotions, colognes and related accessories and beauty products. Bras, too, you will get the size wrong,” warns Lucy.

Women give away bad gifts

Lucy says women are very specific and trying to surprise them might backfire.

“First, gentlemen, you are clueless about such stuff. Again, chances are she has shelves full of such from her girlfriends. Put differently, avoid presents she will re-gift,” she says.

“There are things I don’t want my man to buy me. Last time he bought me a cheap cologne with a fragrance I would only be caught dead wearing. I gave it to my female relatives in the village,” giggles Brenda, a teacher.

“Some of the gifts men give are so bad, you feel so embarrassed to even re-gift them away, unless you want to come off as a cheap person. I mean, which woman still puts on petticoats?” asks the tutor.

The worst fake gift you can buy a woman is a knock off designer handbag or fake jewelry.

“My friend, a woman can tell the real deal a kilometre away. While living in Mombasa awhile back, I dated a guy who always bought me fake stuff. If you really love a woman and you want to make her feel special, make appropriate investment in pleasing her,” says Loise.

“It’s also an insult to pass off a fake designer-inspired handbag as the real deal. The worst part is a woman being laughed at by friends at chama and told her handbag is fake before she knows it herself,” she adds.

She says fooling her by passing off River Road-inspired ‘Gushi’ as the Italian Gucci is an insult to your woman.

“I know I sound like an ungrateful brat. But, surely, if you are to buy her the French Louis Vuitton brand, better go for the real deal than wasting money on a cheap, fake one,” she concludes.

Choosy and thankless?

Photo:Courtesy

Men, however, have a different story. Take the case of one Davis, a high school teacher in Nairobi.

He says whenever he tries to surprise his woman with a gift, she always finds fault with it because she is choosy and picky. He says she has to complain either about the colour, fabric, or size.

“When I bring a colour she said she likes, she says she has enough of such. Sometime back a hawker came to our office and I bought her a dress, after a female colleague endorsed it. But when I got home, she took it but never put it on. Next time I saw it with her sister,” complains Davis.

Last time Mark, a police officer, tried to surprise his woman with a dress, it was so baggy that she drew daggers, accusing him that his mind must have been on his grandmother when he bought it.

“Was this really meant for me?’ She angrily asked. She couldn’t countenance that I could forget that she hated anything yellow,” Mark remembers.

While dating, Joshua, a city based electrician, decided to spice up things by buying his woman what he considered a high-end hand bag.

“Upon receiving it, she loudly wondered whether the gift was meant for her or my mother in the village. She, pointblank, told me such bags belong to an era long gone, but can come in handy to her aging mother-in-law to be,” says Joshua.

Last but not least, men are advised to always consider your relationship with the woman before buying them a gift. If they are your girlfriend or wife, you should know their tastes and preferences.

Or alternatively, know her better and learn to make her drop hints of what she wants. Just because it’s raining around this time doesn’t mean you buy her gumboots as a gift!

“Buying your female boss or colleague a g-string is gross. It is important to be sensitive. You don’t buy a fat woman a treadmill or a weighing scale as a gift neither do you ‘surprise’ her with a gym membership,” warns Jackie, a journalist, who once received a sex toy from a friend in her single days.

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