Why is it the way of the Western World to infiltrate Gift Guides for Guys with all things illustrated moustache and retro video game? Did we learn this in sex ed when we were kids? Women are from Venus and men will never get over Galaga so get them some stupid Galaga handheld that they can attach to their iPhones? Men like regular things. They wear clothes and eat food and aren’t all into whiskey accessories. Some men don’t even drink whiskey that often. Joe is trying to make rum happen. Anyway, stop trying to give the men in your life coffee mugs with illustrated moustaches on them, and try one of these more decent gifts instead. I mean it’s not like every Lady Gift List has exclusively hair accessories and rhinestone cosmetic pouches in it hahaha jk.
1. Crowd Pleasing Secretly Fashiony Thing, Esprit Shawl Collar Hoodie, $70, ASOS
Everybody likes a hoodie. Men especially, because they can be worn several times a week and for whatever reason, that’s socially acceptable. Also, a warm man is a man who is a man with better chances at propagating his genes, which is a big plus in the world of dude. If your shopping list is full of men who hate clothes, get them this hoodie — it’s cool, sturdy, warm, functional and brown. If you’re shopping for a fashionable man, get him this hoodie — it’s on-trend, brown, warm, cool and functional and would look cool with riding leggings. If you’re shopping for your dad, get him this hoodie. If he is like my dad, he will wear it inside out for god knows why, but he will still wear it and feel safe in it and that’s what makes it a great gift for men.
2. Cool Upgrade to a Thing he Definitely Always Uses Anyway Thing, Dr. Bronner’s Body Care, $5 — $15, Drugstores
Men use soap almost unfailingly, bless their little testosteroney hearts, but they don’t have the greatest options when it comes to which soap they use. There’s the Axe line, which is the brand equivalent of pumping oneself up with bovine recombinant growth hormones and is kinda shitty to women, there’s Old Spice Swagger, which, what even is that and why even is it, and then there’s the weird shit men buy when they’re in a pinch — like shitty Suave shower gel that smells like Moroccan Peaches or some weird sensual amalgamation like that. No to that stuff. Holiday gifts are about buying stuff for people that they wouldn’t normally buy themselves, so treat him to some well-made, good-for-him, non-finnicky shower stuff that gets the job done and smells cool too. He’ll be fascinated by Dr. Bronner’s 18-uses-in-1 claim, and you know he’ll text you every time he finds a new use. Don’t let him eat it; that’s not one of the uses. Men are stupid!
This holiday season, give him a hand job. Haha jk, give him these gloves, because unless he lives in California, he probably definitely has a cause for gloves right now in these trying times we call winter. The best thing about these is they can be fashiony if they’re worn with fashiony stuff, but if you’re shopping for a guy who couldn’t give two shits about style, give him two of these super-manly Brawny-guy gloves and he’ll be psyched. Every self-respecting man wants to sheath his burly hands in the skin of a dead buck. Unless he’s a vegan—then do NOT get him these. Think gloves are too typical of a man gift? That’s because they ARE A GREAT GIFT FOR MEN.
4. Make-Him-Famous and Show that You Believe in His Passions Thing, Personal Website, $8/mo, Squarespace
When I used to hear Squarespace ads on Spotify before I got fabulous and went Premium, they used to depress me because I thought they were this sad Geocities-like service that made sad little websites for sad people. Turns out they make fucking sick websites for like, really cool people and restaurants and bars and stuff. And for almost anything the guys in your life are into — BF, family, friends, whatever — there can be a website to make it better. This goes for girls too, but I ran out of non-doyyy stuff for my Men’s gift list, and I had too many for the Women’s gift list, so I had to make this distinction arbitrarily. But seriously imagine all of your dad’s collective knowledge of classic rock fun facts, on a website. Or all of your brother’s anarchist blog posts finally plucked from his gnarly blogspot.com feed and re-posted on an elegant platform with his own domain name of a reasonable length. Introduce your male counterparts to the power of the World Wide Web today. Advise him not to name his site Dude2.0 though. Strongly advise against that.
5. When All Else Fails and You’re Stumped on Those Outlier Dudes Like Uncles Thing, Gourmet Beef Jerky Sampler, $42, KRAVE
Because what could be more uncle-y than different types of meat, ripped from dead animals and shredded into jagged pieces, then cured with tons of salt and spice, then hung to dry in some arid closet for a really long time, then packaged in resealable bags the color of 90s-era snowmobiles. And called KRAVE with a K. Nothing could be more uncle-y. Get these for your uncles. All 5,680 of them.
I am like most 25-year-old women living in a major city in that I love love love READING gift guides on various blogs and retail websites but I don’t don’t don’t ever have any intention of buying anything from the gift guides because I’m a human being with a hippocampus that functions satisfactorily and I know what I’m going to goddamn buy my loved ones more than some intern at Kate Spade dot com, you know? But the point is to inspire, not instruct — and since I keep a blog all about wanting things, it only seemed fit to start my own gift guiding traditions. So here we are.
Volume 1: Gifts for Almost Any Girl
There are tall girls and small girls. Curly-headed girls and flat-haired girls. Girls with dogs and girls with cats. Girls who’ve read 50 Shades and girls who haven’t. But all (most) girls have a few things in common. They include: not wanting to be told to smile on the street by strange men, and an affinity for fun presents that beautify and amuse and simply please. So for your friend, mama, auntie, coworker, favorite bodega cashier lady, whatever — here are some never-fails. (Ed. Note: women also like serious literature, fly fishing, welding, raw materials, etc., as well as prettifying presents, I know this, I know, don’t give me any shit — above all, lipgloss reigns and we all know it.)
1. Cheap Cute Thing: Patterned Ribbon Hair Tie Set, $3, Forever21.com
You’ve seen these all over the place, yes? You saw them and thought, huh, didn’t think they could really upgrade the concept of hair elastics, but huh, they did. Huh. Well, let me tell you— I own these (bought on a whim because I’m an Any Girl and I love small, amusing, beautifying things) and their very presence on my vanity, office desk, wrist or head fills me with unbreakable joy. They are just so pretty it’s stupid. They’re supposedly kind to hair and all that crap, which, good, good, and they also, because they’re wide, add some bounce to ponytails (which, when flaccid, are omg ew), but the best part about them is that they have no real purpose in this world at all other than to be so cute and charming. Throw them at your friends at your next holiday party, use them to affix gift tags to presents, whatever, just give them to all of the women.
2. Totally Unique Candy-Cute Thing, Cat Parade by Sam Handmade Jewelry, $20 avg.
It’s not only because artiste spectaculare and full-time cutie Samantha Silverman is one of my dear friends that I’m crazy on her line of meticulously hand-squished clay goodies, I swear. It’s also because oh my inflatable light-up baby Jesus, is her shit cute. I just stopped by her table at a craft show this weekend, and it was like going to Baskin Robbins in a discoteque of happy. Browse her Etsy shop — most of it is sold, but she can make you something in a snap, or show you her inventory, if you reach out to her. The line of Kitty jewelry is ageless, if you ask me — I got some earrings for my tween cousins, but liked them unironically for myself, so… yeah, Sam, you beat Urban Outfitters at its own wild game. And if kitties are too feline for you, there are also some more macabre options, like DOLL ARM CHARM NECKLACES. What lady do you know who loves glossy, rainbow, saccharine-sweet, totally one-of-a-kind, really reasonably priced jewels? YEAH ALL OF THEM SO GO GET THIS STUFF DUMMY. (Love you Sammy thanks for coloring my world.)
3. Tiny Amazing Collection of Things that Keeps Giving, Birchbox 3-month Gift Subscription, $30
What do you get the girl who has everything/the girl you don’t really know that well/the girl who was born a human girl? A BEAUTIFULLY WRAPPED MONTHLY SPRINKLING OF MINIATURE BEAUTY PRODUCTS SHE CAN ACTUALLY USE OH MY GOD. I subscribed to Birchbox when I got my new job a few months ago, To Celebrate Myself, and I have not regretted it at all. The best thing since Sephora opened in suburban Malls, Birchbox is a genius retailer with a fully functioning online shop that’s complemented by monthly deliveries of 5-7 beauty samples (color, hair, body, and sometimes chocolate because LADIES!), not to meniton generous coupons and irresistible branding. And at only $30 for a three-month gift subscriptch, your friend Jen will be reminded of how goddamn savvy-good you are well into March. There are few self-respecting gals out there who can resist a tiny beauty product wrapped in pretty tissue paper after a long day of squashing gender inequality and eating lunch at their desks. Also I got a salt spray in one of my boxes so yeah SUBSCRIBE LITERALLY IMMEDIATELY.
4. Pointless Thing to House All Her Other Pointless Things Thing, Jewelry Plate, $20, JCrew Stores
I saw this on the Crap You Don’t Need that Makes your Knees Buckle Because it’s All So Cute table at JCrew on Black Friday and I nearly wept. It is. So. So wonderful in 100 ways. I’m currently using a not-terrible-looking white ceramic charger I bought at the Dollar Tree in Lewiston, ME, to organize all the witchy potions and frankincense I keep on my vanity, so I know first-hand how useful this little tray can be. She could bring it to work, or leave it at her Sig Other’s for her own little region of ownership, or she could even reserve it specifically for her SoulCycle locker, but of course then you’d have to kill her for being so wretched. But where it belongs most is in her room, cuddling under the statement necklace you so generously bought her last year. Namaste, dumb little tray, namaste.
5. Pricey But Will Make Her Realize You’re Practically Her Right Fallopian Tube That’s How Fucking Great You Are Thing, Personalized Portrait Stationery, $135, Rifle Paper Co.
Be real, be real— when she says shit like, “I want to send more letters this year!”, you think it’s kinda twatty, but loveable too. Rifle Paper Co. is that used-in-promotional-online-webisodes-by-small-business-credit-card-purveyors kind of brand in which everything they make is just so CHARMING and they seem like such genuinely nice people you can’t help but want to spend $135 on their paper wares for your galfriend. So go big — get her a letter set or calling card personalized with a too-adorable rendition of her adorable little face, and her name, and watch her adorably never really use it but get all mushy over how adorable it is anyway for years to come.
(Ed. note: I genuinely want #5. I am that woman.)
"My mom saw a dead body in Harvard Square on black Friday (outside of the Gap) . Still don’t know cause of death though I have been REGULARLY checking the Cambridge police blog (cause of death = LOW PRICES!)”
What televised-in-2009 long-bygone rerun-and-done pile of shit and sound am I going to bury my face into and cry at while eating a lot of soppressata tonight with my big dumb face in my big bed in the room with no real heat in decent lingerie for no reason?
* Ed. note: I’m fine just work is so stressy rn
Guys, full disclosj’ — I love Black Friday. This is because I love shopping, particularly with my mom, particularly at The Maine Mall, as you may have read in my chat with Logan about Why I Love Shopping by Lauren Rodrigue Age 8 on The Billfold a while ago. I’m not a get-up-at-1-am-and-hit-up-Best-Buy-for-a-cool-TV type, obviously. I’m more of a wow-50%-off-mild-mannered-sweaters-at-Gap-why-not-it’s-an-all-for-me-day. And so is my mom. On Black Friday we don’t stampede or crowd or wait in stupid lines. We careen down mallways. We flit through racks gracefully, chatting happily and excitedly like Disney birds. We languish in fitting rooms laughing and stretching out on the for-the-husbands couches, like they’re our Victorian drawing rooms, our paper shopping bags lined up like old important volumes on a shelf.
This time around, we didn’t even buy gifts for other people. Just for ourselves.
All poetic wordplay aside, the deals were, to borrow from the lingua franca of the Black Friday electronics-and-sports-store-raiding masses, Fuckin’ Holy Shit Awesome Wow. Things at Gap, for example, really were 50% off. All of the things! And at Ann Taylor LOFT, where I, fucking embarrassingly, find increasingly MORE cute things every time I go in, things were also 50% off. At J. Crew they were 30% off. At Macy’s, 20% off — my mom, delirous with joy, bought a $20 lip balm from Bobbi Brown just because. (It was not 20% off.) (It was returned promptly at sundown.)
My Big American Sale Day advice to you? 1) Go. Stop pretending to be cool and go shopping. You’re only uncool if you buy a TV on this day. 2) Care about nothing. Abandon your bills. Spend. Financial worries can wait till Small Business Saturday when there’s no goddamnwayinhell you’re gonna spend $98 on a little necklace from a little shop when you could get it at Forever 21 for $4.95. 3) Buy I guess like one gift for someone else. Maybe it’ll make you feel better, I don’t care.
How’d I do? Take a big fat look into the reality that could’ve been yours if you bucked up to Black Friday with Doris Rodrigue at the Maine Mall, New England’s Best Kept Secret for Stores thay you can Actually Find in New York but at which the Sale Sections are Actually Good and Abundant Becuase Fewer People are Fashionable in Maine than in New York (this is a fact btw).
1. Dolce Vita “Joust” Booties, $55
Let me tell you a story about booties. Last fall I splurged on some lace-up black ones from TopShop that have like a 2.5-inch block heel. I wear them so much and love them so much I sometimes burst into tears and then flames when I catch a glimpse of them in a window I’m passing by. They make everything look better. They make my ankles look like stupid little toothpicks. They are practically disintegrating, so I knew I’d need a second similar pair to sub in to give them a break. These are that pair. These are the second-best booties. You know those cool girls who get on the Subway and are wearing cool roomy duffel coats and perfectly fitting jeans and slouchy sweaters and just the right sized infinity scarves? Those girls have these booties. They didn’t get them for $55 bucks on Black Friday with their Moms though now did they. Babies.
2. LOFT Textured Tie-Hem Sweater, $30
There are few things I hate more than unoriginal misogynistic web content, and fashion bloggers using the phrase “WE ARE OBSESSED WITH…” is one of them. But I am kind of pathological about LOFT’s lounge line. It’s a cool-girl in-the-know style-secret that you wouldn’t be privy to unless you followed one of the select fashion bloggers who shops with her stylish but nevertheless A MOM mom. (Hint: me.) This sweater, from that collection, is super-great quality, and, like most things from that collection, it nimbly transitions from layaround-day-coziness to workday cuteness (with the above dreamboots, a silk collared shirt, etc.). It was $60, I got it for $30, just like a prayer, it took me there.
3. Forever21 Faux fur-lined Parka, $70
OK technically this is a Christmas present from mom and dad, and it’s not technically mine yet, but it so so so will be in like 3 weeks and I am pretty worked up about that. The same way my mother enlightened me to the diamonds in the rough (up-top to anyone else who learned that phrase from watching Aladdin 500 times in childhood) that can be unearthed at Ann Taylor LOFT, I alerted her that for every 25 clingy lurex bodycon knit mistakes at Forever21, there is one gorgeous, endlessly wearable, surprisingly well-made piece that looks great on everyone. After this coat, she’s a believer — it’s thick, warm, substantial and the fur lining is zip-outtable for fall and spring. I’ve been buying only fussy wool lady coats for the past few years, so this casual rascal will be a nice respite and will make me look like one of those cool girls with the boots, etc.
There was way more, obv, but I don’t want you to morph into a jealous raging maniac and slaughter me. The good news for you is it’s Cyber Monday right now, so you can get a lot of the deals I mentioned above without even having to go out into public with your mom.
In the all-too-likely event
that I get an IUD
I shall hope that Ellie Goulding is playing
in the background
when it happens