Gifts to warm a man's heart

Gratitude and good manners can get a man a long way but I'm yet to find a bloke genuinely thankful about receiving a second-hand crock pot for his birthday.

My wife had dressed it up in a large box and as I tore away at the wrapping I speculated wildly, but internally, that I could be on the verge of a new iPod speaker system, a My Sky box - even a leg of lamb would have been nice. It was a pre- loved slow cooker.

My wife thought I could make casseroles, curries and other meals, just for fun. She asked me excitedly what I thought. I feigned enthusiasm and I'm an awful actor.

What women don't understand is men like shiny new gadgets, power tools and season tickets to the Phoenix. We are not so excited about meals that take half a day to make. We like food we can hunt and gather in five minutes without leaving our car.

In the decade or so we've been together I have received many wonderful gifts from my wife. When we first started going out she ironed a K-bar wrapper on a T-shirt. If you ever loved K-bars as a kid, you can appreciate how good it is to have your favourite snack treat strapped to your chest.

I've also had merino jerseys, a man bag (a women's hand bag but much more masculine) and my favourite, a Tivoli radio that pumps out sports talkback in crystal-clear high fidelity.

At Christmas my wife went back to the kitchen for more gift-giving inspiration. She got me a SodaStream machine. If you were a kid of the 80s, having a SodaStream made you the second most popular child on the street after the kid whose parents could afford a trampoline. As a child, my mum was concerned about my energy levels.

She thought I was hyperactive. I think I was just acting my age and no one knew about Ritalin then. So after consulting the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, she decided I should only have one SodaStream a day. The less food colouring and sugar the better. I slightly deviated from this rule by limiting myself to about four bottles every time Mum left the house.

What she didn't realise was the real culprit may have been the flagon of cordial we could drink as much of as we liked. To make good cordial we would add one heaped cup of sugar and a cap or two of the sweetest artificial flavouring known to man.

Thirty years later I have a SodaStream back in the house. I only have one bottle a day. Of course the bottles are about three times the size they once were. The flavours are awful but if you mix in some fruit juice concentrate it's quite palatable. Like an Evian but without the food miles.

I really should be happy to live in a kitchen with a SodaStream and a slow cooker, however I'm already dreaming about a popcorn maker and a 50-inch television and a man-cave to put it in.

If you are a lady and are in any doubt about what to get a bloke, a 50-inch LCD TV with internet capability is a wonderful way to show how much you love him. The rest of your relationship will then take care of itself.

- Hadyn Jones is a dreamer if he thinks he's getting a 50-inch TV from his wife. When awake he's a journalist who writes a fortnightly column for Your Weekend.

The Dominion Post