The Reverse Gift Guide: 7 Gifts Guys Will Get You…And What They Mean

Around this time of year, I fantasize about this question: if I had a boyfriend, what would I get him for Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Secular Seasonality For The Hipster Atheist I’d Probably Date? Because, you know, I’m a giving person! I like to be generous and buy people things. To that end, I certainly like receiving things, and I’m sure all of you funny women enjoy holiday materialism as well. So I also spend time fantasizing about what my imaginary boyfriend would get me, and to that end, I’ve come up with the Reverse Gift Guide. You know how EVERY magazine tells you “what to get for your boyfriend?” I’m here to tell you how to decode what your boyfriend got you. If you’re single, you can use this to understand all of the relationships that surround you and nauseate you at this time of year. Granted, these are my interpretations…but you should trust me on these.


1. A hand drawn card

AH! I love hand drawn cards! Especially ones in pencil that look like they took forever to draw. Home made gifts show that he took extra time out of his day for you. Some women may judge this and say, “ah, he must be broke because there’s no gift inside,” but the truth is that money isn’t really the thing in question here – it’s what did he draw? Did he draw a generic picture of two people ice skating? Because that means he’s a seven year old girl. Is it a poorly drawn portrait of you in which you resemble a deformed animal? That’s not exemplar of his drawing skills, it’s representative of how you look to him. Analyze that picture, ladies. This is how I discovered that I actually looked like an eight year old Jewish anime character with an enormous head and no boobs. Why are my eyes X’s?

You should also know that men who draw cards believe that they are artists, and they want you to know that without telling you. A hand drawn card is a quiet plea for you to say, “wow, why are you a banker? You should have gone to art school! Let’s go tot the MOMA, babe. Quit your job! I’ll support you.” Don’t say that.


2. A Starbucks gift card

This is a traditional gift to give in my family. Practical, convenient, and who doesn’t love an overpriced espresso beverage with exorbitant sugary syrups? The answer: NO ONE. Everyone can use a Starbucks card. That said, if your boyfriend gets you a Starbucks card, he wants to be on par with your family and be thought of as a sibling or a cousin, which is gross, or an indication that he’s just not that into you.  Or he’s into you, but $25 worth of lattes into you.


3. One of those creepy stuffed animals with a voice recording

He not only wants to be in your dreams, he wants to be in your nightmares. You KNOW these bears, right? The ones dressed like Football players or skiers? Cute, right? Then you squeeze it and it says in a deep, masculine voice, ” hey baby. I’d light all eight candles for you,” or “I think you’ve been particularly naughty this year…” maybe out of context this is hot, but when I’m falling asleep, I don’t want a bear telling me he’s hot for me.  Do you? These bear gifts are just the predecessors to Raped By Bear nightmares. This shows a lack of sensitivity. The only thing worse than a stuffed bear with a recorded voice would be a stuffed dolphin with a recorded voice, because dolphins have actually been scientifically proven to rape humans.

4. Food basket

His mom actually received this from someone in her office, and she said, “I need to get rid of this. I have too much Harry and David moose munch with random pears sitting around my house.” To that end, he lives with his mom.


5. Flowers

How thoughtful! How nice! I hope you like flowers, because a guy who gets you flowers for the holidays will get you flowers for every single occasion for the rest of your life. Job promotion? Flowers? Gave birth? Flowers! Saved the planet with your newly discovered super powers? Flowers! Won the presidency? Flowers! Lost a limb? Flowers! Getting divorced? Flowers!


6. Jewelry

Men who buy jewelry have sisters or moms. Definitely moms. That’s all.


7. Condoms

Ah, the gift that keeps on giving, until the 12 pack runs out. A man who gives you condoms is giving you the gift of him. He thinks that his manhood (literally) is worth cerebrating, and he believes his manhood has a price. That price ranges from 6.99 to 14.97 (give or take a few cents, depending where these condoms are purchased/what size they are/does he have a Duane Reade savings card, etc). Break up with this man immediately. Would you show a guy your birth control prescription and say, “Happy holidays, baby?” I don’t think you would. I wouldn’t. Well, maybe I would, if I got condoms for a gift (I did once! We can talk more about that later.) The good news is, you can keep the condoms! And he can’t keep the birth control! Win! It’s a happy holiday!


Mallory Schlossberg is a writer and performer living in New York. Her original one woman musical “Molly Marjorie Rosenblatt Needs A Man (And Other Stuff)” has been performed multiple times at The Magnet Theater. For more of her musings, visit, and follow her on twitter @malloryschloss.


  1. What happens if your boyfriend draws you a picture of a horse raping a donkey? I am just asking. Once my lover boy drew me a combination of a horse and a crab. It was lovely, but I had to draw one as well. Ladies, do this activity it can be rather insightful.

    Gift-giving can be hard, ya gotta get it down to a science. Can we have a list of things to get boyfriends? I think I need that, giving gives gives me some anxiety. But I like the idea of getting a book. If your manfriend finds the right book for you, and puts in the time and effort, well let’s just say if it were me he would be getting lucky.

  2. Having been the recipient of all of these except condoms-as-present, I can confirm that you are spot on in your decoding of dude gifts. For a couple of years I got the morning of “be back in a bit; gotta pick something up,” which was always an expensive arrangement of flowers I wouldn’t have picked out myself. I’d rather get a bag of quarter rolls– it shows creativity, effort and doesn’t give me immediate chores. With flowers, I have to find a vase, clean it, unwrap flowers, cut stems, arrange the damn things, sprinkle in the plant food crap, wait 2 days, start picking up dead petals, clean water, and lather, rinse and repeat until they are slimy and/or dead. The rule should be: you buy a girl flowers, you are their caretaker until they die. And then, you remove them from the house. And flowers are a nice gesture, but cut flowers are not a present and shouldn’t be mistaken for one.

  3. Andnow I’m sad, because I always get the Sbux gift card.


Speak Your Mind