Men are so hard to shop for

Last updated 10:10 24/08/2012

There's a bunch of rotting bananas on my kitchen bench.

No, I'm not just a slovenly housekeeper. EK turns 25 tomorrow, which means two things.

1. I have to get my banana cake recipe out

2. More trickily, I have to buy him a present

But what to get him? Men are so hard to shop for.

Now, you will say, the simple thing to do would be to just ask him what his heart desires. But I have a thing about presents - I like them to be a surprise.

Why buy something that someone could just go out and purchase himself? (My dad is terrible at this. Once he bought himself a fancy fountain pen, wrapped it up and gave it to us to give back to him.)

Besides, EK has already bought what he really wanted; he bought a tablet as an "early birthday present" to himself.

As you may have guessed, he's pretty low key on birthdays (socks would probably do for a gift) whereas I love birthdays (my 21st celebrations may or may not have lasted three weeks). Gifts are a big deal.

Sure, he has heaps of hobbies - basketball, snowboarding, guitar, art - which could provide suitable present ideas. But the equipment is all mostly specialised or he has it already. Plus, it's just a little bit boring.

It's like buying someone a voucher, which is to me the ultimate sin in present buying. I know they're practical, ya de ya de yada, but I'm not into practical. To me a voucher says "I don't really know you that well so I thought I'd let you choose your own gift".

I want a present to make the person go: "Oh, I never knew I wanted this but now you've given it to me I've realised it's really incredible. As are you."

As you can see, I set pretty high standards for myself.

This will be the fifth EK birthday I've stressed over since we got together. I think I've done pretty well in the past: planned trips away, tickets to concerts, whacky gadgets (including a tomato sauce gun).

Last year, I even organised a night out at a murder mystery dinner theatre with our friends - complete with a haunted tram ride, a themed dinner and some sweet 70s costumes. Even I'll admit that one was a little off the wall.

After much deliberating, I finally bought EK's present yesterday.

Sorry to disappoint, but I can't tell you what I ended up getting him yet or he'll read it and it'll ruin the surprise. I can tell you, however, that I once again went down the road of quirky and, hopefully, thoughtful.

If you're lucky I might let you know in the comments section what I've got him (and how it went down) after the big reveal.

But tell me. What's your take on presents? Do you prefer getting a surprise or exactly what you've asked for? Do you struggle to buy for your partner? Comment below, email me at or follow me on Twitter.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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Toni   #1   10:26 am Aug 24 2012

Men are so hard to buy for. I always go for clothes as an easy option but I must have quite different taste to my bf because he never wears it! Drives me crazy.

I'm going to give up after two birthdays, don't know how you managed five but Im sure he wil like whatever you got him!

Surprise me   #2   10:53 am Aug 24 2012

Oh I want to know what you got him now! I like getting surprises myself. Although, my ex once gave me a microwave oven for my birthday which was the worst present I've ever been given. Basically telling me to cook more!!

I usually just ask me new what they want thought because he's so pick. Boring.

Carol   #3   10:59 am Aug 24 2012

I feel your pain. My husband always tells me exactly what he wants and it's always something so un-romantic like a power tool.

The few times I've resisted though he hasn't liked what I've got him so I've given in!

best birthday   #4   11:09 am Aug 24 2012

Have you tried just turning up with a red ribbon tied around yourself? My wife did that one year, she booked the day off work for the both of us and we went out, wherever I wanted to go and did whatever I wanted to do, without grumbles or groans or even rolled eyes from her. Best Birthday ever.

Sharni   #5   11:14 am Aug 24 2012

Presents are so hard to get right. My man tried to give me lingere as a nice gift because I always teased him about giving me crap gifts. He got me a 10D when I'm a and a tiny g-string. I looked like a whale in kid's undies. Sometimes asking what someone wants is worth it…

Laurie   #6   11:17 am Aug 24 2012

My lovely wife buys me some great presents - last xmas was a mini money box (as opposed to a small money box) - all the change that just used to disappear now has a home - when I emptied it there was enough to buy a new Taylor Made Driver (golf) which is what I really wanted - so what a great present. p/s book vouchers are always great!

JoshJ   #7   11:37 am Aug 24 2012

You sound like a pretty good gf, leave E.K. and come bake for me. I like bananas. Is that photo one of your own?

No no no   #8   11:52 am Aug 24 2012

Vouchers are the worst! No thought whatsoever and just casuses effort for the person who has to go shopping themselves. Lame.

Michelle   #9   11:55 am Aug 24 2012

I always try to get my man something that he actually wants and then a little something extra as a surprise - usually something quirky & fun from somewhere like But you're right - they are hard to buy for! :-)

Jean   #10   12:05 pm Aug 24 2012

I'm with you Anna, surprises are the way to go, then it actually means something rather than just being money. My ex-husband was obessed with how much gifts cost and never understood that wasn't the point. He always made sure I knew how much he spent on me and how he expected me to do the same.

Sure EK will appreciate whatever you got. Let us know how it goes and enjoy the day.

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