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While it may have made me legit LOL at my desk in my very quiet office (oops), it also comes as no surprise that “I have no clue what to get my boyfriend,” is one of the top-ranking search queries in Google when you type in “best gifts for boyfriends,” and other related key terms. I personally think that males are much more difficult to shop for than females in general, but when you’re on the hunt to find the best gift for your boyfriend (especially if he’s a newer fling) the task of finding the right one that feels either somewhat sentimental or useful without screaming “stage five clinger” becomes even more daunting. Sure, you can opt for one of the guy-gifting gold standards like a nice watch, some fancy socks and new underwear, or the latest AirPods drop, but who’s to say that his Aunt Judy or Grandpa Joe didn’t gift him with the exact same thing over the holidays?
Frankly, even if you’ve been dating your guy (or are even married) for ages, it’s still not exactly easy to foretell what he actually wants. I mean, we all know that the ubiquitous “anything, babe” response is definitely not helpful. Rather than continuing my endless Google searching for non-basic gift ideas for male S.O.’s, I decided to just get to the bottom of it, and ask real guys (they’re mostly 20 to 30 somethings) what they’d want to receive as a gift from their girlfriend or partner.
While I expected a slew of NSFW replies (and for the record, I wasn’t against this — I was genuinely looking for honest answers, people) to flood my inbox from the men I probed for replies, I was more or less surprised to find only one sex-related answer. Indeed, it turns out men actually do possess some capitalistic desires — and despite the clichéd “I don’t want anything,” remark — have quite a few coveted items on their Valentine’s Day wish lists. So, if you need some inspiration for what to get your guy for V-day, I’ve compiled some real-life advice from ten different men below. You’re welcome.
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Luxe Espresso Maker
“It would be nice to boil a couple of fresh cups of joe and sit with my (non-existent) lady on my front porch and sip some coffee in the morning.”
– James Schiff, E-Commerce Editor at SPY.com
“My ideal gift, always, is a premium version of something I use every day: fancy face wash, a luxurious moisturizer or salon-quality haircare that I’d never splurge on myself but that’ll make my daily routines infinitely more enjoyable.”
— Jesse H., Physician
“I prefer receiving tickets to an event, a fun dinner out or a long weekend getaway over an item that’s just going to collect dust. To me, the perfect gifts are those that create lasting memories.”
– Robby Nova, Marketing Director & Psychologist
“More apple headphone adapters, gift cards to Porsche Driving Experience booze and iPhone chargers.”
– Matt Ambrose, Managing Director, Red Light PR
“I’m dropping some not-so-subtle hints for my partner to treat me to a staycation or to get me an at-home massage from a service like Soothe.”
– Tim Chan, E-Commerce Director at Rolling Stone
“A watch from WatchBox, but that could be out of her price range, so maybe a really nice pair of jeans or shoes that I definitely wouldn’t buy for myself.”
– Caleb Anderson, Publicist & Writer
– Josh Miramontes, Celebrity Hair Stylist
“I think my favorite girlfriend gifts are always bath or personal care products because I don’t know how to shop for that stuff myself.”
– Corey Smith, Vintage Seller
“Byredo perfume, Aesop soaps, Calvin Klein briefs and lots of socks.”
– David Donald Sutherland, Visual Artist
“A girlfriend once got me a nice VHS camera, and it was probably the best gift I ever received. But she knew also knew that work is my life so….”
– Cameron Holland, Videographer & Photographer
Intelliskin Performance Shirt
“Ideally I’d want her to surprise me with a fun night together somewhere or a staycation. But I also really want the Intelli-Skin V-tee. It keeps my posture great and back straight during workouts, making sure back pain doesn’t get in the way of a hard session.”
– Charlie Gillig, Director of Legal Technology at NSLA
A version of this story was originally published in Nov 2019.