Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Man gifting – why men want nothing


I hate Fathers Day. And it’s not just because I had a violent alcoholic dad who drove drunk into an oncoming vehicle when I was six. Although it did make the clay coil ashtray with ‘Best Dad in the World’ I made him at school a bit redundant. Lucky Mum still smoked. Although I could have changed it to ‘Best Dead Dad…’

Three husbands later I have worked through that man-hating shit. I almost like men now. I even love some of them. But Fathers Day brings up one of my major issues: man gifting! Easier to buy a gift for a woman you have never met than get a bloke you know really well something he wants. Or needs. Basically because most men don’t want or need that much. Once you’ve cooked them a meal and given them a blow job, they’re pretty well done.

Men are impossible to buy for. And it’s not because they’re demanding. They’re not. Men don’t care. They say stuff like ‘don’t get me anything’. And they actually mean it. Like, they actually don’t want anything. I find that statement incomprehensible. Women don’t say ‘I don’t want anything’ because we want everything. If we do say it, then it’s a trick. When you don’t get us anything like we ask, we sulk because it’s proof you don’t love us. So in the end you did get us something: more disappointment in YOU. Traditionally man gifts have been socks and jocks. If the foot and cock are covered than a man is happy. And big man hankies. Wank rags. It’s gross but imagine being that easy to please! Men are happy as they are. Women don’t have that sort of self-acceptance. Men haven’t been told there’s heaps of shit wrong with them like we women have, so there’s not a marketplace swamped with millions of cutesy man gifts to bring tiny moments of micro-fulfillment followed by the aching abyss of want.

(Most) Men don’t need lingerie. Or handbags. Or the latest designer tool belt. (Although it does look good with lingerie and a handbag.) So what do you get him? If you want to buy a gift for a woman you could buy her a cushion, hand and body cream, perfume, bath salts, an ornamental teacup or a candle. A monogrammed dildo. She’d be happy with any of this crap. Especially if the dildo doubled as a candle. Like you could light one end and enjoy mind shattering pleasure and ambient lighting all at the same time! I just came thinking about it. Incidentally, candles are clearly for women. You don’t see man candles anywhere. If you did they wouldn’t be sold in ornamental glass or smooth sheaths of bamboo. They’d be in stubby holders. Men don’t get the point of $50 candles. They’d rather a wind-up camping torch anyway. But no point buying that, he’s already got six. So what do you get for the man who wants nothing? A barbecue? No, can’t get my man that, he got me that for Mothers Day last year. What about new tools for the dad who likes to get hammered? A guerney for the man who likes to feel the power in his hose? A socket set for a man who spends long hours twiddling odd shaped knobs? I don’t even really know what a socket set is. Can you also get a jocket set? Although I’ve always been impressed by men with socket sets. It’s so manly. Socket Men. But maybe they don’t know what they are for either.

Apparently, if I am to believe catalogues that prescribe man gifts, a socket set is something you can buy a bloke to make him happy. You don’t want to be the one bloke in the street who’s one socket short of a set. Other man gifts include things such as sheepskin seat covers for the car. An industrial fan for the shed. Or a mower. They’re very impersonal. They basically says ‘stay outside’. They scream ‘fix something’. I like a good mow as much as the next woman but it doesn’t feel intimate. It doesn’t say I love you. So what do you buy a man to show him you love him? I once bought my bloke a fancy wooden compass. It was met with confusion. ‘So you can always find your way’ I say. He pointed out it was broken. I said ‘Oh well, you’re lost then’. It sits dusty on the bench next to my other strange and failed attempts at gift love. So this Fathers Day I am getting John what he wants. Nothing. However, I got myself a $300 candle…

2 responses to “Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Man gifting – why men want nothing”

  1. Bill says:

    Mandy, Mandy, Mandy. Scotch! My family know what to give me. They asked, I told them. I have a really reliable supply of free booze. Works for me. Iknew there was a reason I had kids. Scotch! Love your column Mandy.??

  2. Jon says:

    Says a lot about you, Mandy that we always suspected. Cheers.

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Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

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