Manolo for the Men Fashion and Lifestyle Advice for Men

November 21, 2010

That special thing for her

Filed under: Etiquette,Husbands and Wives,Women — Mr. Henry @ 6:42 pm

A milestone birthday is imminent for Mrs. Henry. At her last milestone, Mr. Henry conspired with 80 people to throw her a surprise party. It was successful, that is, Mrs. Henry arrived in baggy sweatpants and torn T-shirt. But the enormous effort, secrecy, lies, whispers, lies and more lies were not worth the pay-off.

From this experience Mr. Henry learned the bitter life lesson that, while it may be possible to cheat on your wife, the effort required to get away scot-free is honestly too great.

This time he intends to buy her a special gift, a cherished memento of the day, something particularly suitable to her taste (like Shari’s Berries), her sense of self, and our matrimonially-entwined budget. It cannot be a promise of a trip to Bruges, a renovation to the bathroom, or even a week at the Chiang Mai Four Seasons Hotel which no mere mortal can afford.

It must be a thing wrapped up in a pretty box presented lovingly at the birthday dinner. But what? Failure looks inevitable.

Things not to get your sweetie:

1. Scanty panties. They convey expectations of limitless pleasure – but not necessarily for her.

2. Diamonds. They convey the wrong impression about the appropriate use of one’s limited means and, by the way, they are horrible investment vehicles.

3. Power tools. They convey imputations of hard work left undone.

4. Promises such as:

a.     trips abroad
b.     home renovations
c.     weight loss diets
d.     cello lessons

Mr. Henry needs help soon. He entreats your suggestions.


  1. She Who Must Be Obeyed would, given her druthers, choose to spend the day curled up with a good book rather than romping in the bedroom with my grossly over-estimated romantic skills. I think she’d rather read a book than do just about anything else.
    Now, since she already scored a Kindle last Christmas, and one or two books would not be a particularly impressive gift, I would find myself similarly bereft of direct ways to facilitate her preferred addiction. However, she has been angling over the years for a lounge chair that she can recline in, and if I had the funds I would get her one as a gift for a special occasion, so that I would have the pleasure of seeing her curled up in it with a good book under her favorite blanket, while I sprawled on our old, rather pungent, and guaranteed soporific couch, and drifted off to sleep.

    Comment by owen — November 22, 2010 @ 10:42 am

  2. How about a spa package-either a day at a nice spa, with mani, pedi, facial and massage, or if the budget allows, an overnight stay? I can’t think of a woman who doesn’t enjoy a bit of pampering, and many hotels or day spas offer resonably priced packages. Throw in a bottle of prosecco and some chocolates and she will be in heaven

    Comment by Klee — November 22, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  3. Otherwise, anything in a tiffany box would be nice…the salespeople there are quite adept at fitting budget and personality

    Comment by Klee — November 22, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  4. Klee — Mrs. Henry doesn’t drink and doesn’t like massage therapy unless administered by yours truly. Incredibly, she doesn’t like being pampered. Work ethic ingrained too deeply, I suppose.

    As for Owen’s significant other, Design Within Reach sells an amazing recliner they call the “airline recliner.” It looks chic, has a relatively small footprint, and is incredibly comfortable.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — November 22, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  5. I already considered getting a Tiffany box and stuffing it with early-show discount tickets from the local cinema. Good idea?

    Comment by Mr. Henry — November 22, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

  6. Tickets to shows would be a nice gift…

    Comment by klee — November 22, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

  7. A rare or first edition book- such as a gorgeous copy of her childhood favorite. Write a love letter (by hand) and put it in the pages.

    Tiffany Silver- I have a silver bracelet from there that I still wear every day 10 years later and it was about $150. (all my other jewelry gets dusty)

    Season tickets to the theatre.

    A painting/framed photograph- tickets to a local art opening and while there let her pick out a print or photo or other piece.

    A day trip somewhere you have been meaning to go.

    Comment by Yosa Addiss — November 22, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

  8. “I already considered getting a Tiffany box and stuffing it with early-show discount tickets from the local cinema.”

    Mr. Henry, you lost me after ‘box’.

    What sort of woman is she? Sturdy Gal, Whimsical Romantic, something in between? What are her passions and pursuits (other than you, of course)?

    Comment by theDiva — November 23, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  9. She’s whimsical, but not when it comes to throwing money away on items of personal adornment, with the single exception of eyeglasses which she likes to pick out herself.

    There is a terrific shop for Japanese tableware called Sara, Lexington and 70th St., where I hope to find something beautiful. But will it be intimate? Probably not. However, if I take Little Henry along, then the choice of present will be mine as well as the child’s, thereby enhancing its significance.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — November 23, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  10. That would be sweet!

    What about an interesting piece of handmade jewelry? There are some nice things here:

    I’ve never purchased anything from them but I have my eye on a pair of earrings….

    Comment by theDiva — November 23, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  11. Gentlemen, I implore you: NEVER promise your beloved a “weight loss diet”. No matter WHAT she says about wanting to lose weight. NEVER NEVER NEVER.

    That is all.

    Comment by Jezebella — November 24, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  12. Mr Henry, Yosa Addiss stole all my ideas!

    I would maybe add a weekend at a beloved bed and breakfast?

    Something hand-made by Little Henry? Us moms are suckers for that sort of thing.

    Comment by Glinda — November 25, 2010 @ 12:01 am

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