This holiday season there has been a video going around called "Beware of the Doghouse". It shows the plight of some poor guy who gets his girlfriend the wrong present and ends up banished to the ranks of the insensitive males. I think I've managed to avoid this for the most part. But I can tell you that buying presents for our partners has to be one of the most stressful parts of an already very stressful holiday season.
There are a lot of guides for what to buy a man for Christmas. Conveniently, these guides are written by folks who have something to sell, mostly expensive electronic gear. I love electronic gadgets. But I don't want to get one from my wife (sorry, Sonia). I have a Computer Science degree from the Naval Academy with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence. Electronic gee-gaws are kind of my specialty. Chances are good that I know exactly which electronic gadget I want and the chances are low that my mate will pick exactly that one.
And even if she did, what would be the point of that? We don't get into relationships to see the world we have always seen. We do it so someone else will be there to point out the stuff we never would have seen. I, like most guys, have huge blind spots. The male of the species generally picks a couple of things to get into and digs a rut. My ruts are running, computers, and guitar playing. Had I, through some tragedy, never met and married Sonia, I would have spent my life geeking out on those three things.
But Sonia shows me things about the world that I never would have bothered to think about. Authors I never had heard of. Music I never would have listened to. Cheesy sit-coms I never really would have gotten into until I saw them through the eyes of an immigrant observer. And this is the point today: buy stuff that is in the guy's blind spots. The stuff he would walk past in the store, not because he didn't like it, but because it wasn't in one of his ruts. So don't just try to figure out what the guy might like and then go buy just that: he could do that. Give him the stuff that he doesn't even know he likes yet.
And if that doesn't work, get him the box set of the original Star Trek. Every guy wants that.