Male equivalent of flowers?
February 9, 2010 7:03 AM   Subscribe

What small gift can I bring home to my stressed out boyfriend?

My boyfriend is totally stressed out right now. He's in way over his head with work and school. I want to do something little, but nice, to brighten his day. Although it is stereotypical, he has brought me flowers during weeks when I am feeling stressed out, and it always makes my day.

What can I get him that would show I'm noticing his hard work and trying to be supportive? I'm analogizing to flowers because I want it to be a small, relatively inexpensive, yet meaningful gift. However, ideas other than "things" are welcome, too.

(And yes, I've already thought of favors of the sexual variety - certainly something to be considered, but I'd like to explore the non-sexual realm of gifts as well.)
posted by angab to Grab Bag (41 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
A gin and tonic and a footrub always works wonders on Mr. Shotglass. Pour him his fave drink and give your boyfriend a little massage.
posted by mrsshotglass at 7:08 AM on February 9, 2010

Candy, a favored snack food, a magazine on his hobbies, ordering in his favorite food. If he drinks, his favorite beverage.

Also, you could stick this stuff in his bag so he finds it during the day as a surprise.

Avoid an overly sentimental gift and stick to something just for him that he can have to himself.
posted by Argyle at 7:11 AM on February 9, 2010

posted by emilyw at 7:17 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

If I want to give a small, inexpensive gift to my husband, I usually go with baked goods. To go a little pricier, I'd pick up a bottle of good bourbon or some nice beer. The most expensive "just because" gift I'd likely do would be to schedule a massage for him.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:17 AM on February 9, 2010

Argyle has my list, too. I'll bring my partner some chocolate I know he likes, or something I think he'd like to try. Or I'll stop at a coffee shop and get him a chai latte, which he really likes but doesn't usually get for himself. Or I'll suggest we get Vietnamese for dinner--something he really loves that the kids and I aren't too crazy about, so he maybe doesn't get to have it as often as he'd like. Or if I'm at the store and spot a beer I think he'd like to try, I might get that. Or pie. He loves pie.

Or I'll make an extra effort to sit with him while he plays his video game in the evening.

Or, since I'm in charge of our somewhat-tight budget process, I'll let him know I came up with some some money for a new video game.

Jumping in and doing a chore that's usually his makes for a nice surprise. Coming home to find someone has already taken the trash out when you were thinking you'd have to do it even though you're tired and stressed and just need a nice sit-down...heaven.
posted by not that girl at 7:18 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

mix tape
something tasty
pretty much anything because it's the thought that counts
posted by zeoslap at 7:21 AM on February 9, 2010

This guy wants the flowers.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:22 AM on February 9, 2010

Like others, the first thing that comes to mind is food. Treat him to breakfast, cook him something you know he likes, bring him takeout, etc.
posted by kitty teeth at 7:24 AM on February 9, 2010

Flowers. :) Men never get them and most men love to be on the receiving end now and then!

Also food.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:26 AM on February 9, 2010

posted by teragram at 7:45 AM on February 9, 2010

nthing flowers.

Also, a kinder egg!
posted by greenish at 7:47 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Does he play videos games? Hit up Gamestop or another used game shop.
posted by doorsfan at 8:00 AM on February 9, 2010

Yes, nothing wrong with flowers. But a steak would be nice too. Not an out to eat one, one you've prepared for him. Maybe some potatoes with it, or a salad.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 8:01 AM on February 9, 2010

A home-cooked meal, flowers in a vase on the table, his favorite wine or booze, and a blowjob.
posted by balls at 8:03 AM on February 9, 2010

My husband and best male friend both say that they would not like flowers at all. So, it really depends on your boyfriend's personality. I'm sure he would APPRECIATE the sentiment...but if I were getting my husband something to cheer him up, I would probably get him a goofy/nerdy toy (like something you'd get at Think Geek), a baked treat or candy, his favorite beer, or I'd cook him a special dinner that's fancier than what I'd normally make.
posted by tastybrains at 8:07 AM on February 9, 2010

Oatmeal pancakes for breakfast.
posted by phunniemee at 8:11 AM on February 9, 2010

Pack him lunch and snacks to bring to work/school. Offer to take care of the daily things that he's no doubt neglecting: laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, bills, etc.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:13 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you want to unstress him out go with his fav beer. I wouldn't get anything he hasn't tried before. I would also go with comfort foods. EG if he likes Tomato soup with rice and grilled cheese (yum BTW) make that. Keep it simple. Think of things that he does when he relaxes or things that made him feel good when he was growing up.

Also I know you said non-sexual but it is a great way to release stress. Just walk in the room state you have a problem, take off your shirt and say I think the right is bigger than the left. Can you help me find out?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:20 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hide little notes in his bag, jacket pocket, textbooks, etc. Write little limericks, draw funny cartoons, etc. He'll keep finding them and you'll keep cheering him up!
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 8:27 AM on February 9, 2010

Take over a chore: take his car in for an oil change, put away his laundry, make all the decisions about dinner for the next week.
posted by 26.2 at 8:31 AM on February 9, 2010

Flowers. :) Men never get them and most men love to be on the receiving end now and then!

I disagree with this. Maybe it is because I was raised in a conservative area of the country, but "most men" that I know would not like receiving flowers, and would in fact be embarrassed to get them in front of anyone.

Here are my suggestions:
1) Take him out to lunch/dinner - or something else to get him away from the stress, if only briefly
2) Pictures - something that calms him, like some framed photos of your last vacation, or just pics of you. Think Homer Do it for her type things that make the stress more manageable.
3) Scented soaps - 2 reasons for this, first is that a good hot shower always makes me feel better, and second the aromatherapy provides another source of stress relief. Here are scent suggestions.
posted by I am the Walrus at 8:31 AM on February 9, 2010

Half an hour with Bossy Nurse? Bossy Nurse marches in and sternly tells boyfriend to shut the laptop, go change into flannel jammies and slippers, take out his contacts, lie down on the couch with a washcloth over his eyes and rest while I make gin and tonics and dinner and generally take charge. Use the Supernanny voice. Being excused from adulthood for an hour and a half seems to work wonders on my bf.
posted by stuck on an island at 8:32 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

As a teen ager I got flowers from a then-new girlfriend (Hi, Mara) when a friend committed suicide, and I was very touched.

These days I would like a treat: a giant cinnamon roll or a batch of cookies or a sack of M&Ms, for example. Booze can lead to Unhappy Drinking, and that's always trouble. (Remember the HALT rule: don't drink when you're hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.)

Adding surprize (by sneaking it into his bookbag) will add to the effect.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:35 AM on February 9, 2010

microwaveable neck warmer to sooth out the stress kinks. I gave these to guys on my list at Christmas.
posted by raisingsand at 8:47 AM on February 9, 2010

your idea of pampering of a sexual kind was spot on - its a great stress reliever!
Another suggestion is to get him something that will engross him deeper in his hobby or favourite passtime ( nerdy toy/ magazine subscription)
posted by noirnoir at 8:49 AM on February 9, 2010

My boyfriend has bought me flowers several times; recently I decided to return the favour and he seemed very touched. Obviously not all men would appreciate them, and you may know for a fact that your boyfriend is in this category, but if not then I wouldn't rule flowers out completely!

(I wouldn't necessarily give them to him in front of the entire office or a large group of his male friends, though.)
posted by badmoonrising at 8:50 AM on February 9, 2010

I agree that anything even slightly thoughtful will be well received. It really is the thought that counts. Guys aren't that complicated, and they're not really used to getting doted on. Yes to a homemade steak, a good beer or bourbon, a blowjob, or any chores that take stuff off his plate.
How about a good laugh? I found that pretending to get caught in a compromising position can provide a lot of comic relief and wash away stress. The visual can vary, but in my case I was "caught" taking down Xmas decorations with no pants on when the mrs. came in the door after a really crappy day. It immediately made her laugh, and instantly put her in a better mood.
posted by Gilbert at 8:50 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Clean the apartment, particularly the bed, and make it all nice and fluffy. Or clean his car, inside and out. Or do his laundry. Basically, take care of some chores that he usually does, and make it a comforting place to be instead of another reminder that he can't take care of the things around him. (Only if his boundaries permit that, of course.)

Taking him out for lunch, particularly a nicer lunch than you'd normally have, can be super fun for both of you. If you have a favorite dinner restaurant, seeing how they operate in the daytime is a great opportunity to relax while trying something that's both new and familiar at the same time. Take an extra hour off of work and don't worry about getting back right away.

Buy him a funny t-shirt from ThinkGeek, Glarkware, Threadless or similar. It'll make him smile, and even if he's not a "t-shirt guy" he'll have something to wear when he sleeps or is doing the rest of his laundry :)

LISTEN TO HIM. Just let him vent. And get up off the couch to "welcome him home" when he comes in the door.
posted by Madamina at 8:51 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like booze, and a fantastic gift would be an upgraded version of a favorite. Gentleman Jack instead of Jack Daniels. An oak aged version of a stout that I like. Etc.

A good video game would also be good, especially if it's one that Sweetie and I can play co-op.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:52 AM on February 9, 2010

Beer and bacon sandwiches.

No flowers.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:03 AM on February 9, 2010

As a guy, I'd recommend +infinity what Madamina said.
posted by joshrholloway at 9:30 AM on February 9, 2010

Buy him a video game.
posted by anniecat at 9:34 AM on February 9, 2010

If he likes sweets, it's pretty hard to go wrong with baked goods, especially if there's something that he's particularly fond of.

I also like Madamina's suggestion about chores; even if you can't/don't want to take care of something that's usually on his list yourself, telling him the dishes/laundry/vacuuming/whatever can wait until tomorrow or whenever is a great little gift; permission to slack off and just veg on the couch (or whatever he does to relax) is a wonderful thing after a stressful day.

While I would appreciate the gesture of flowers, it wouldn't push the same warm fuzzy buttons as either of the above, personally.
posted by usonian at 9:52 AM on February 9, 2010

Warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven makes everything better!
posted by platinum at 10:33 AM on February 9, 2010

Beer or wine. Nicer than he'd buy for himself.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:27 AM on February 9, 2010

Wow, thanks everyone! All great ideas. Operation "cheer up the bf" is on for tonight.
posted by angab at 11:46 AM on February 9, 2010

beepbeepboopboop: "Hide little notes in his bag, jacket pocket, textbooks, etc. Write little limericks, draw funny cartoons, etc. He'll keep finding them and you'll keep cheering him up!"


I did this for radioboyfriend's birthday and he was ecstatic. I tried to hide them in the most unlikely places too (in his face cream jar, cereal box, etc) which was fun for me. My favorite was a teeny one in his wallet that said

"You thought you'd found them all...but this one's very small!"
posted by radioamy at 12:22 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

a good scotch or beer.
posted by Large Marge at 12:43 PM on February 9, 2010

When I'm down, my wife can always make me feel better with a gentle, skin-on-skin backrub. No oil or alcohol -- just fingers and palms in gentle contact.

Flowers are nice.

Sex is too.
posted by KRS at 12:46 PM on February 9, 2010

Nth the chore thing. When we were dating, my wife would sometimes come to my apartment when I was super stressed at work and just sit me down with a beer and the TV remote while she did my laundry, washed up the dishes, and made me some comfort food (macaroni and cheese from scratch, grilled cheese sandwiches, something like that.) My god, there's nothing better, especially the relaxing together when that's all done, me feeling loved and her feeling proud and appreciated.
posted by ctmf at 5:00 PM on February 9, 2010

My husband has a favorite "treat" beer (Fuller ESB) that isn't terribly convenient to find, and that's always a nice surprise for him. He also has a wicked sweet tooth, so those kinds of treats are good. I agree with the "fresh, fluffy bed" suggestion - that always elicits a sigh of happiness at our house.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:24 PM on February 9, 2010

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