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Nov 22

How to pick a holiday gift for a guy

Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 in dating, Kat, Men, Relationships, Women

“Sara, I am not doing Black Friday with you,” I said a little too loudly on my phone as I walked Roxy.

“Oh, c’mon. It will be fun!”

“Getting up at 3 a.m. is not my idea of fun, unless Sean’s poking me and even then …”

“But you love shopping, Kat.”

“I don’t love it, but, yeah, I like me a good shopping ‘experience’ like any other woman, just not with hundreds of crazed shoppers around me. Anyway, I’m going small this year with the gifts.”

“Well, I need to get Todd something, and I have no idea what to get and how much to spend.”

“It will be near impossible to make a rational decision fighting the hordes half-asleep.”

“You’re right. OK, but … what do I get him?”

And isn’t that the million-dollar question on a lot of people’s minds this time of year, especially if they’re in a new relationship — or not sure if they’re even in a relationship? 

I’m a pretty good gift giver — I think. I listen throughout the year for the “I wish” and “I’d love to get,” and if it hasn’t been bought by year’s end that’s likely what Sean, my kids or my parents will find under the tree. Although I still think the best gifts are the ones you give throughout the year “just because,” not just it’s expected of you. The holidays make everybody crazy.

But when you’ve got a new love? I’m just as stumped as Sara is because you’re still learning about him or her. Until you come to an understanding about gift-giving patterns and expectations — is he a big-gift giver or a non-gift guy? Does he have a sense of who you are or did he buy you something some salesperson talked him into? — you have to give something. But, what?

I’ve made CD compilations in the past, but that’s not OK for everyone and might be considered cheap early on in a relationship. Plus, all that’s changed now because of technology. If he’s an iPad/iPhone guy, you can bet the CD and DVD players are long gone.

Lord knows we all have enough stuff, so I’m loathe to buy just anything. How many hat and scarf sets or leather gloves does a guy need? I prefer to give the gift of experience — a concert, a show, a getaway. Can’t do that early on in a relationship, though — it’s a commitment for a future day, and who knows if you’ll still be together or not?

Then there’s the price thing. How much do you spend on someone you’ve known for six months? A year?

And, do you even give a gift to someone who isn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend, someone you’re just seeing? That’s a tricky one.

Now, I’m easy to give for; cook me a dinner, arrange a picnic hike, tickets to a favorite band — I melt like buttah. Just don’t get me something sparkly; as I’ve written before, if a guy buys me jewelry, I know the relationship is doomed.

So, help me help Sara:

  • If you’re a guy, what do you like to get as a gift?
  • What truly matters more, the thought or the gift? (Be honest!)
  • What would be inappropriate to get from someone you’re been dating six months?
  • Does it bother you if someone you’re dating seems clueless about what you’d like?

 Photo © Mosista Pambudi – Fotolia.com

 

Nov 7

Fat athletes, skinny models and sexism

Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 in Honesty, Kat, Relationships, Self image, Women

It’s really odd for me to be inside the house on a beautiful sunny fall day, like yesterday. It’s even weirder for me to be watching TV inside the house on a beautiful sunny fall day. But the 49ers were playing, and if you know what’s been going on with the Niners, you’ll understand.  

Plus, I was snuggled up next to Sean so even if you don’t know about the Niners, if you’re a woman, you’ll totally understand.

“Wow, those guys are friggin’ huge!” I said to him, noticing the size of the defense.

“They want them big.”

“But, that’s so unhealthy! Why are they so big?”

“Because no one’s going to get past them.”

“So, the teams are OK with that?”

“There’s a controversy around it, but yes, there’s pressure to supersize.”

Supersize? Guys who are 300 pounds are beyond supersize!

It’s amazing what people will do to their body for their career.

Like models. Despite some rumblings of rejecting the use of emaciated models on the runway awhile back, most models still are ridiculously skinny.

We hear a lot from women about the insanity of super-skinny models and how that affects girls — do men feel the same pressure about their body?

There seems to be some sexism going on.

OK, most men don’t need to pack 300 pounds to do their job well. But look at the covers of some men’s magazines and you’ll see what a man “should” like — broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted, totally ripped. Evidently, these images are now causing guys as much body image problems as women have. You just don’t hear too much about it.

Why do we, men and women, freak out about how female models have to starve to make it, women who are just “doing their job,” and not male athletes, who also have to put their bodies through intense modification to be successful?

If you’re packing 300 pounds you’re stressing your heart as much as a heroin-addict-like super-skinny model — either way, it’s just not healthy. But, as they say, it’s a living.

  • Should we be as upset about what males have to do to their body to succeed as we are about women?
  • Do guys feel pressured to be perfect from the impossibly perfect images on men’s magazine covers?

 

 

Oct 31

I am woman, hear me ask for help

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 in Advice, Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Men, Relationships, Self image, Women

I was in line at the supermarket when a 30-something woman talking on her cellphone wheeled up behind me; I could hear everything she was saying. She was talking about a breakup, or at least it had all the hallmarks of a specific kind of breakup — she was guessing, second-guessing, making excuses, sounding hopeful and teary-eyed all at once.

It was a “He’s Just Not That Into You” Moment if I ever heard one. And a uniquely gal moment.    

I tried to focus my attention on the magazines at the checkout stand, but those were even more depressing — Cosmo wants to boost my confidence and clue me in on guys’ top sex secrets, O magazine wants to tell me how to try my true calling and how to be beautiful.

I know women can’t be the only ones who have self-doubts, but I don’t think guys obsess about it as much as we do — nor do they have such of barrage of messages coming from all sorts of media. I mean, would a guy ever pick up a book like “Why She Disappeared?” Yet, we have “Why He Disappeared” (written by Evan Marc Katz, whom I admire. Hey, I’ll take relationship advice from a guy over a woman any day!).

Are women innately more insecure than men are? Or, do we seek self-awareness more than men do?

Not to say that men don’t look at themselves and their relationships critically; I’m sure they do. And there’s advice for men out there, too, otherwise you wouldn’t see the thriving PUA movement.

It’s just that most of the self-help and relationship books are geared toward women and we’re scooping them up are like crazy. Would all those “Mars and Venus” books and seminars be around if it weren’t for women? Would Oprah and Dr. Phil be who they are without women? Not a chance!

I don’t think it’s because we’re insecure; I think it’s because women blame ourselves when things go wrong and look to others to help us, while guys try to fix things themselves.

So how can we, uh, fix this? (No, I’m not asking for your advice!) I think we need to teach our daughters to be less other-directed, stop blaming ourselves and give them the knowledge to figure things out for themselves first before looking for help. And we need to teach our sons that there’s nothing unmanly about asking others for help and to create safe places for them to express their emotional vulnerabilities.

OK, now I am asking for your advice:

  • Why do women blame themselves so much?
  • Why would men rather go it alone than ask for help?