How to wow my boyfriend
September 17, 2006 3:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm at a total loss about how best to help make my boyfriend's birthday an amazing experience and I need your help!

We've been together about 3 months so I haven't spent a birthday with him before; he tells me that he hates his birthday and wants to spend it as out of his tree as possible. With that in mind we're going out clubbing the day before (Friday). Saturday is the birthday itself and I should imagine will mostly be spent in bed, nursing headaches and then getting up later in the day to drink more. I've organised a surprise dinner with a bunch of his friends for the following Monday, which I think he's going to love.

So, the problem?

(1) I don't have any idea what to get him as a gift. I've thought about a personal shopping trip at Harvey Nichols with me picking up the bill (he wants some cool new clothes but doesn't have much money). Trouble is, he's probably not going to be in the mood for going shopping if he's got hammered the night before! So, I was thinking about something practical like an iPod (he doesn't have one but *loves* music) or an upgrade to Final Cut Studio (he's an artist working with photo/video) or something like that... But it just seems so impersonal. I'd love to buy him a piece of art, but that's such a personal choice and I don't yet know enough about his taste to judge.

(2) I want to do something romantic but not too gushy for him on his birthday itself. I've considered having flowers delivered to his flat but I don't know when he'll be there or if he'll be staying at my place. I don't want to ask him to tell me his plans as he's stressed about the birthday already and just wants to be free and easy about the whole thing. I could do something like make him a romantic breakfast but I bring him breakfast whenever he stays over with me anyway, so its not special enough.

He's turning 38 this year. We both live in the east of London (Shoreditch kinda area). Like I said, he's an artist but has to temp in an office for money, too. He's not particularly comfortable with effusive romantic gestures but isn't cold by any means. He would probably appreciate something that was funny in some way and would make him laugh. He's also pretty gross sometimes too, so that might work... We're gay if that matters.

I haven't got a specific budget in mind.


(And just to make it more complicated, I have to move flats that weekend!)
posted by Lleyam to Human Relations (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
1. Any of these would be a phenomenal gift for a man. He will gladly appreciate gifts like iPods, drills, software, whatever- it may seem impersonal to give but it demonstrates your real understanding and acceptance of the technical/gadget part of his life- which is (the understanding is) the real gift and hard to find. May come off better than you think.

But the clothing thing would be great, too, and could be a service no one else can offer him. Take him to the store, help him choose clothes that make him look great - to both of you - and the resulting feelings of attractiveness and attractedness may lead to other things pleasant for both of you.

But don't do that if you have strong disagreements on style.

2. About the romantic thing, whatever you do, if it doesn't go off right, don't stress. My birthday is new years day, and one wonderful girl got me a hotel room and spent a whole day and a lot of money preparing it for the coming evening. Unfortunately because of holiday pressures from her friends and family, lack of cash, time, and also problems I had that day, it didn't go perfectly- and she was so hurt, frustrated and upset that it almost blew the remainder of the amazing night she'd planned.

Just be calm, he will love you for it and remember it.
posted by fake at 3:57 AM on September 17, 2006

"for a man" ---> "for your man"
posted by fake at 4:00 AM on September 17, 2006

I agree that any of the things you mentioned would be great. I'd actually be more concerned about going overboard - if he says that he doesn't like birthdays but you plan out a four-day weekend packed with events, it may be a bit of overkill.
posted by btkuhn at 4:31 AM on September 17, 2006

What about sending him for a massage (or giving him one yourself) on Saturday morning? It'll help purge the toxins from Friday night, and help get him in the mood for something romantic on Saturday.
Is it too early in the relationship for a trip together? Why not present him with tickets for a weekend in Paris together? It'll be a bit more than the iPod, but a great experience. When by boyfriend gave me a trip to Montreal for my birthday he put a photo of the skyline in my card - that way you don't have to buy the tickets beforehand.
posted by nprigoda at 4:39 AM on September 17, 2006

ditto on the iPod or software upgrade. i think it's an excellent idea. these aren't impersonal at all, but catered perfectly to his tastes.

i'd avoid the flowers or planning the romance, just let it happen.
posted by trinarian at 4:55 AM on September 17, 2006

Would it be really incredibly wrong of me to suggest a blowjob?

Or, I dunno, maybe you do that anyway.
posted by reklaw at 5:19 AM on September 17, 2006

Sex is always good on birthdays, for men or women. Do that little thing you do that he loves and do LOTS of it.

Do NOT bring a chocolate covered midget into the room UNLESS you guys have talked about. Trust me on this one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:53 AM on September 17, 2006 [2 favorites]

I think the ipod-type gifts are your best bet, considering how relatively recently you guys got together - as you quite rightly say, you've not really had the chance to figure out his taste in more personal stuff such as art yet, but there's no way you can go wrong with something he'll use and enjoy like that. There'll be lots of birthdays in the future when you can get him something more personal.

As for the romantic stuff, it sounds like you've got an amazing few days lined up anyway, so you can probably dispose with things like getting flowers delivered if the logistics seem like they'll be more trouble than they're worth. Honestly, I wouldn't stress about it - the day (and day after, and day before) will probably be a lot more romantic if you're relatively chilled out and paying him lots of attention than if you're running around trying to reorganise flower deliveries and singing telegrams because your plans have changed at the last minute.
posted by terpsichoria at 6:05 AM on September 17, 2006

Maybe it's a cultural/age difference (I'm a 28 y.o. American) but an iPod seems way too expensive a present for someone you've only been seeing 3 months.
posted by callmejay at 7:51 AM on September 17, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks guys, this is helpful.

fake said: He will gladly appreciate gifts like iPods, drills, software, whatever

But we're gay guys, y'know, not lesbians ;)

Re: going overboard, the clubbing is his idea so I'm only really adding the dinner with friends on Monday, which I figure is post-birthday so can be much more relaxed.

The trip to Paris would be great if it weren't for the fact that my relationships end in Paris for some reason! I'm gonna give that one a miss...

reklaw said: Would it be really incredibly wrong of me to suggest a blowjob?

Come on, I wouldn't be much of a boyfriend if I didn't do that ;)

I take your point on chocolate-covered midgets, but what about midgets in gimp suits? Where do they figure?

I really appreciate your comments.
posted by Lleyam at 7:59 AM on September 17, 2006

For gifts, I tend to favor events or activities more than physical objects. So, I really liked your massage idea. You might investigate a spa where you can rent a room with a hot tub for a couple of hours.

Having said that, the iPod idea sounds really good since he's a music lover.

And lastly, nothing says "I love you" like a threesome. :-)
posted by browse at 8:38 AM on September 17, 2006

he tells me that he hates his birthday and wants to spend it as out of his tree as possible

A day trip somewhere, so he doesn't spend any part of his b-day in his tree? Perhps camping, kayaking, fishing, movies, whatever he likes to do.

Hell, make it into a scavenger host, an adult with some of the stuff he has to find being on YOU. The rest could be places he likes to go, he favorite place for lunch etc.

Gimp covered midgets are fine, AS LONG AS YOU GUYS AGREED ABOUT IT BEFORE HAND. Don't try to surprise someone with that stuff, often the police get involved.

Never mind how I know this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 AM on September 17, 2006

Best answer: Allow me to inject a dissenting note. Three months into a relationship is maybe a little early to mount a full-scale extravanaganza with gifts, flowers, dinners, clubbing, and the lot -- particularly when your boyfriend tells you he doesn't care to mark the day anyway.

And in your particular circumstances, it's the "extravagant" part that worries me. Your boyfriend doesn't have much ready cash to throw around, which is okay for the moment, because you are picking up the check for this birthday.

But eventually you are going to have a birthday and he is going to feel pressured to reciprocate in kind. In other words, he's going to feel that a shopping spree at Harvey Nicks (etc.) is your idea of "what a really devoted lover does on the beloved's birthday." And, thus, the more devoted he is to you, the more he will torment himself with his inability to please you.

Since you already have a couple of event planned, maybe you can surprise him with the ipod on Sunday afternoon. But it needn't be the 80 gig model with all the bells and whistles, which would tend to remind him of how he couldn't afford such a luxury himself. Something more "entry-level" like a Nano would probably be more in line.

And you can start brainstorming now about what kind of birthday you will want so you can start dropping hints well in advance of the event. That way, your boyfriend can perhaps avoid the notion that he is going to have to outspend you.
posted by La Cieca at 9:09 AM on September 17, 2006

Response by poster: La Cieca: perfect, thanks so much. I think you've got it right. I'm gonna organise a massage appointment so I can move house while he's getting de-stressed and doesn't feel like he's hanging around bored; an iPod can be the gift, but like you say, maybe not the uber-expensive kind.

Clubbing isn't part of the deal, really, that's just a fun night out and could be any weekend. But hopefully that should ease his transition into his birthday day given that he's feeling a little stressed about it.

Monday is a relaxed low-key affair so I'm pretty sure that it will be the right thing.
posted by Lleyam at 9:45 AM on September 17, 2006

For the longer term, it will be a great gift for you to always keep La Cieca's excellent advice in mind (I say this as someone who is almost always the less-financially-endowed of a pair). If your boyfriend was dropping hints about not wanting to make a big deal of his birthday, to me that suggests he already might be trying to gracefully say "please don't spend much on me or do extravagant material things for my birthday; let's just relax and be with each other."
posted by allterrainbrain at 2:59 PM on September 17, 2006

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