A vacation — together, of course: He’s paying for the two of you to go somewhere alone? For more than 24 hours? Homeboy lovvvvves youuuuuuu. You’ve got yourself a winner, girlfriend.
A signed and/or first edition of your most favorite book ever: This guy thinks you’re awesome in every way. Not only does he think you’re beautiful and funny, but he thinks you’re smart and thoughtful and has actually — shocking! — paid attention when you’ve spoken about your interests, including the life-changing impact reading, say, To Kill A Mockingbird had on you. He took the time to hunt down something that you will likely keep forever, which, thus, will also be a reminder of him for just as long, indicating he is invested in the relationship you’re building.
Incredibly expensive and uncomfortable designer heels: This dude is sweating your relationship, but it’s unclear if that’s in a good or bad way. Two Frisky editors speak from experience on this one: I got a pair of Louboutin pumps for Christmas from a boyfriend and on New Year’s he proposed. Jessica got a pair of Loubs from a boyfriend for Christmas and she and her man broke up in the New Year. In both cases, the incredibly expensive and uncomfortable designer heels were just his stupid, emotionally unevolved way of settling his nerves and convincing himself “I want to be in this relationship — don’t I?” For the record, I got dumped too, only nine months later. The big ticket gift that signaled trouble just happened to be my engagement ring.
Super sexy lingerie: I am going to go on record and say that I do not appreciate a gift of lingerie. It just seems like a gift that’s more for him — specifically his boner — to enjoy than me. All that being said, if I’m being honest, I would rather a gift of sexy lingerie than no gift at all, and sexy lingerie at least indicates that he is having an awesome time fucking you and would like to keep doing it for the foreseeable future.
Generic designer bag that you expressed no interest in ever: Consider this the opposite of the signed first edition of To Kill A Mockingbird. The guy who gets you a generic, logo-ified designer bag wants to impress you, except he doesn’t have any idea who you are. If he did, he would know you hate labels, don’t wear leather, and would prefer a signed first edition of To Kill A Mockingbird from a guy who actually listened to her when she spoke instead of checking his Blackberry for game updates.
Cooking lessons: On one hand, this is a creative gift. He didn’t want to get you something typical, like a pair of shoes or a cashmere scarf, and he went to great pains to think of something no one else would give you or had given you before. That is thoughtful. Or it is thoughtful if you’ve expressed a passing interest in cooking and he stored that nugget of info in his brain for safekeeping until this very moment. If you haven’t expressed a passing interest in cooking, a gift like this that has no real connection to any of your interests is more about him trying to be creative for gift-giving pride’s sake — “Look, honey, I got you something unique! Aren’t I creative?” — and hoping for praise, i.e. “OMG, you guys, Greg got me Thai cooking lessons — it’s, like, how did he know I was dying to learn how to make Pad Kee Mao?!” If you have expressed an avid disinterest in cooking and he has hinted that he would only marry a girl who knew how to make his mom’s lasagna, well, this is a passive aggressive gift that should make you question your compatibility.
Diamond studs or some other piece of “introductory” jewelry: If this is the first time he’s bought you jewelry — a necklace on sale at Anthropologie doesn’t count — congrats, he’s serious about you! More serious than he was about his last girlfriend, who only got a necklace on sale at Anthropologie.
A copy of Eat Pray Love or some other bestselling book about a single woman “figuring out” what her life means without a man in it: He’s going to dump you and is a little worried you’re going to go all bunny boiler on him. He’s also a douche.
Earmuffs: Let me guess — it’s Christmas Eve and you guys have plans to go out to dinner! You excitedly hint, “I can’t wait to give you your gift — you’re going to love it!” and — though you don’t know this until right now, as I am explaining it to you — he quietly panics. An hour before he meets you at the restaurant, he swings by the local department store, asks the poor woman in accessories who’s sadly working on Christmas Eve, “I need a Christmas gift for the girl I’m dating” and she points him in the direction of these earmuffs. He crosses his fingers and hopes you like them because he really, really wants to get laid before he has to head to Long Island to see his parents for the holiday. The End.
Membership in a “Gourmet Ice Cream of the Month” club: Jackass is dumping you. His loss. That ice cream looks good.
A flatscreen TV: I have two pieces of good news, one piece of bad news to report. The first piece of good news — he is getting more serious about you and wants to stay at your place more often. The bad news — he really can’t deal with watching Monday night football — which, if he’s going to stay over more often, he needs to be able to watch – on your crappy television. The other piece of good news — you actually really wanted a new television! After all, you’re not a dope — you know that it’s much more fun to watch “The Real Housewives of Botox City” in high-def.
A gym membership: Who gives a fuck what this gift means? Dump his ass, work out if you feel like it, and meet some other, less passive aggressive dude who appreciates your curves and cellulite and appetite and allow him to tap that ass.