Ask A Woman AVL: What makes for a bad holiday gift for my female partner?


Dear Woman,

Here’s a holiday question of sorts: Can you do a public service announcement about what NOT to get your female partner this season? I feel like a lot of women would thank you for putting this info out there.

Sincerely, Trying To Help A Sister Out

Dear Helpful,

With the help of a lot of intelligent and hilarious women in the AAW Facebook community, I have compiled the following top 10 most offensive holidays gifts for women. Obviously, this list is not perfect because some people are wild cards. For every woman who would spend Christmas crying on the bathroom floor if she unwrapped cleaning supplies, there’s another whose favorite toy is a Hoover vacuum and who loves nothing more than popping a few Adderall on a bright Saturday morning and tackling those dust bunnies.

I’ll just say heed this warning unless your partner specifically asked for any of the following. In most cases, it would be safe to avoid the following gifts.


1. A gym membership, exercise equipment, diet books or, for the love of God, a Peloton Bike, you goddamn monster: You may as well buy her one of those self flagellation whips or a large boulder for her to push up and down the driveway while you watch her from the window of the TV room. If your partner wants any of these things she’ll get them for herself or explicitly, and I mean, explicitly, ask for it. Absentmindedly muttering, “I should probably get in shape so I don’t die before you,” while eating pumpkin pie over the sink is not a hint that she wants you to buy her a yoga mat.

2. Perfume, scented lotions or gift baskets filled with scented products: Most perfumes smell like shit. They really do. They smell like me when I was in 6th grade and I started getting BO, but my hippie mom wouldn’t buy me deodorant ,so I used to mask it with essential oil. If women wear perfume, they are very particular about it and usually already have a signature scent. Plus, a lot of perfumes or perfumed body products are really cheaply made and can cause allergic reactions.

3. Anything that says Mother on it or that is really for the kids, like a new stroller: Your partner is a mother. She knows it. You know it. Her therapist knows it. Us mothers feel like we lose a lot of ourselves when we become parents and as wonderful as that role is, it’s also overwhelming and all-consuming. Sometimes the individual that we are, apart from being mothers, needs to be celebrated and nurtured. Holidays that encourage gift-giving are great opportunities to celebrate your partner as an individual. Don’t spoil it by getting her a “mom” gift unless it’s Mothers Day. And even then…

4. Lingerie: Do you want to know Victoria’s Secret? It was created by a man named Roy Raymond because he wanted to create an environment where men didn’t feel like perverts while buying sexy neglige for their women. It’s a man’s idea of what women want and always has been. That’s not to say that women don’t enjoy pretty underwear. We just prefer to select it ourselves. Most women are particular about their bodies and what they wear. We know what makes us feel sexy and what doesn’t. Buying lingerie for us is setting yourself up for failure. A woman who doesn’t feel sexy generally doesn’t want to have sex, so it kind of defeats the purpose of your sultry gift, right? If you want to buy her something sexy and she’s into the idea, go together.

5. Something that’s actually for you or a gift that traps or manipulates her: Don’t buy her something that’s really for you and mask it as a gift for her. That’s rude. If you want season tickets to the cock races or whatever, just get them for yourself. Also, don’t use this holiday as an excuse to try and save your relationship by going all out on a big shared gift that will trap her into not leaving you. That’s a shitty move that will backfire. Spend your money on couples counseling instead.

6. Heart shaped jewelry: Heart shaped jewelry is for teenagers. It’s intended for sweet little dew drop souls with pure hearts and starry eyes. Your partner is a woman. She’s seen some shit. She wants jewelry made of bones and teeth. (Okay, that’s probably just me but I’m guessing she doesn’t want something cutesy.) If you don’t know her taste, tell her you want to buy her something pretty and have her show you some things she likes. She’ll probably drop some pretty weighty hints, and this way you’ll end up getting her something she loves and not something she has to pretend to like.

7. Cleaning products: I wouldn’t even have this on this list, but a lot of women mentioned it. Are y’all really buying cleaning products for your partners? Like Windex and Pinesol? That’s some cold shit. Presuming she does most of the housework (the operative word here being WORK) that would be like her getting you the tools you need for your job, like a stapler or a fancy oil rag. Don’t do that.

8. Anything that you can’t afford or that will put you into debt: Your financial security and responsibility with money is way sexier and impressive than a flatscreen TV. The holidays promote unhealthy and unnecessary consumerism. Thoughtful gifts are more meaningful than flashy ones. Anyone who needs you to throw down, even if you can’t afford to, is not someone you should be with.

9. Gift cards: I’m on the fence about this one. In addition to a thoughtful, loving gift, a gift card can be great, provided that they are for somewhere or something she really enjoys and perhaps doesn’t allow herself to splurge on. However, it does lack creativity. So if it’s always your go to and you never do anything personal, it can send the message that you don’t put in any effort. That can feel hurtful.

10. Something that needs replacing, like a microwave or a new garbage disposal: If you plan this sort of purchase as a team, then I’m all for it. The holidays can be kind of gross and I’m totally down with going the untraditional route and not falling for the commercial hype. Omitting gifts all together can be really liberating. Agreeing to spend money on experiences like concerts or family trips is a way better use of money than useless objects. However, if you are having a traditional celebration and you choose to buy her new tires for the car when she goes out of her way to get you something thoughtful, don’t be surprised if she uses those tires to run you down in the driveway.

Honorable mentions: Pets, clothing, make-up, kitchen appliances, something you also got your mom, divorce papers and STDs.

Happy Holidays AAW community! Please remember this season that the most valuable thing you can give to each other is love and attention. And cash. Cash is usually better then love actually. Also it takes most plastics an average of 1,000 years to decompose and the majority of plastic is not recyclable. Just putting that out there.


A Women

Ask A Woman is an anonymous advice column wherein this Asheville writer gives candid, honest advice about everything from consent to dating to harassment and whatever else you people cook up. I’m providing a platform of anonymity, not so either of us can hide behind invisibility, but to eliminate egos and insecurities and cut out the bullshit in an effort to perpetuate education. If you would like to ask me a question for my column, drop me a line here-Eve S. Dropper