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It's always easy to find an appropriate gift for a woman, and if you can't figure out what to buy, she will tell you. Many men, on the other hand, won't give you a single clue. Try it, ask us what we want for our birthday. More often than not, the response you will receive will be something like, "Anything you pick out will be fine." Or worse, "I don't need anything."
When shopping for a man, resist the urge to buy a necktie and go for something a bit more exotic. Be aware that men and women are different sorts of shoppers. A woman will buy something unusual and exotic for herself, but for a man, shopping is a more utilitarian pursuit. There are things out there that a man wants, but will never buy. It's your job to find out what those things are.
Here's a few ideas for the man in your life. Every guy has a little bit of Indiana Jones in him. Unusual accouterments made of dead animal parts will usually delight. While a wallet is usually too ordinary, a wallet made of snakeskin, alligator, or something unusual will bring a smile. Another ordinary item is a keychain. Usually boring, yes? Not if it has a real cobra head on it. Other items with boars' tusks, whale teeth, or other types of animal bones will also be a treasure he'll keep forever.
If your man is a beer drinker, go to the import shop and get a six-pack made up of one beer each from six different countries. Or if you don't mind the prospect of him taking over the basement, get him a beer-making kit and let him make his own.
There is an old adage that goes, "a woman can never have too many pairs of shoes." So it is with men and pocketknives. If he doesn't have a Swiss army knife, get him one. If he has one, find a simpler pocketknife with just knife blades, but with an unusual handle. A carved bone handle with an Asian design is an excellent choice.
Men, too, will almost never buy jewelry for themselves. A nice masculine silver ring that reflects his personality will make him think of you always.
There are a few simple rules to follow when shopping for gifts for men. First, don't even bother asking him what he wants, he won't tell you. And if he does tell you, it won't be what he really, truly wants. Exotic but useful is the key. Keep that in mind, spend an afternoon shopping, and you're sure to find the perfect gift.