Giving gifts to men can be as confusing as multivariable calculus. In this case, less is more. The ideal gift says, “I care, but I’m not trying to buy your affection.”  The gift-giving formula all depends on how well you know him and how long you’ve been dating.  Unless you’ve been together for at least four months, taking him out for a romantic dinner on his birthday is going overboard.  Here are some guidelines to help hone in on that perfect gift to prevent him from fleeing in the opposite direction:

–         The $10 Rule: $10 per month of dating advised to be spent on a gift.  For example, if you’ve been dating two months, then spend less than $20 on his gift.

–         Avoid buying/making anything lovey-dovey (cologne, underwear, candy, or anything heart-shaped). A friend once gave a guy she’d been dating for two months a framed picture of them for his birthday…great picture, bad idea. She could tell he was freaked out when she gave it to him. Less (and less romantic) is truly more in this case.

–         Spend less than he would on you. You’re not his sugar mama.  Never go over $100 unless engaged or married.  It might freak him out because he will then feel pressure to reciprocate on your birthday.

–         Do show him you care by giving him something thoughtful as opposed to just shelling out cash. 

So then what do I get him? Researchers at the University of Colorado – Boulder have shown that people experience more pleasure from spending money on life experiences as opposed to buying items.[1] Anything that you can enjoy together is an added bonus.  So instead of buying him chatchka that would just add clutter, consider these ideas:

–         If you’ve only been out a few times, you could perhaps treat him to ice cream, rent a movie he would enjoy, or get him a card at most.

–         If you’ve been dating a few months and are boyfriend/girlfriend,  you could get him tickets to a baseball game, cook him dinner (which has the added benefit of letting him know you’re comfortable in the kitchen), take him out to moderately-priced restaurant, purchase a movie theater gift certificate, or take him to a concert, winery, or museum. 

There are so many options, but as always, less is more. Keep in mind, these guidelines are for his birthday. If he wants to take you out to a romantic dinner for your birthday…bring it on!


Ms. Avi is author of the dating guide for Jewish women Secrets of Shiksa Appeal: Eight Steps to Attract Your Shul-Mate. Find out more and like her page on Facebook at Secrets of Shiksa Appeal. Available on in soft/hardcover and Kindle.
  1. Your gift giving advice has far more negatives then positives and shows you may have some personal issues with men!

  2. Perhaps a major consideration for your claim that buying gifts for men may be as difficult as multivariable calculus is that you insist on complicating issues like these.

    I agree to an extent with Mike. It’s not necessarily that you have problem with men, but you have problem with expressing yourself naturally…it’s the rules that women seem lashed to, a la Odysseus to the mast of the ship, that drives men to facepalm whenever listening to women talking about these where-the-hell-did-they-come-from rules.

    Keep it simple with men. We are not difficult to figure out, unless you CHOOSE to make it so with drama, nagging, negativity and feminist drivel. There is no better gift to a man than your time and a minimum of words.

  3. I’ve have to agree with the above posts. Don’t use arbitrary or factitious decrees. Just find out what he’s interested in and look for something complementary. It doesn’t have to be expensive, merely thoughtful (isn’t that what you’d normally be telling us?).

    If you gave me a $10 gift certificate after 6 months, imagine the look on your face if I reciprocated? Ahh, but don’t you know that it’s different for girls…

  4. Avi didn’t say spend $10 after 6 months, she said $10 per month of dating. I girl I was once dating gave me a $100 bottle of liquor after a month, and to be honest, the gift was overboard.

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