Gift Guide #1: What To Get Your New Not-Wife

Gifts for the masculine of center


Vivace 2 Note Spray ($90)

K and I aren’t celebrating any holidays this year because we’re shortly heading out for a proper post-wedding getaway in Costa Rica, and we’ve agreed that this vacation will be present enough. I cannot wait for the beach and the jungle and the bike rides and the many hours devouring time-traveling romances and historical biographies (which I won’t read, because those romances are long). But if we were celebrating, here are just a few of the things I might gift to my paleo, bike-commuting, butch, masculine of center, eminently practical traveling companion.

ONE Not too fancy or frilly; this bag would just look good while being functional and putting up with K’s extreme travel schedule. AWOL Bag ($249)

TWO If I had a nickel for every time I walked into the kitchen and saw K performing a series of complicated maneuvers on this door frame pull-up bar, well, I could have bought one more time-traveling romance for Costa Rica. Add rings and rubber bands and you’re pretty much that chiseled guy from the 90s Bowflex commercial. Doorway Pull-Up Bar ($19.98)

THREE This girl makes meatballs. “They’re the perfect snack!” She says. Turkey with orange zest and cranberry; lamb with parsley, green onions, and garlic; beef and pork in tomato sauce. Any given night, she’s painstakingly forming tiny lumps of meat. This scoop is meant for cookies, but even better for balls. (Yup, I said balls.) OXO Grips Medium Cookie Scoop ($13.99)

FOUR This shampoo bar lathers up so pleasingly, plus it’s from a small business, plus you can just pop it in your bag and it won’t explode everywhere, plus there is really a Mr. Liggett, and I like to imagine that he’s a cordial, friendly chap who’s really into hair care. J.R. Liggett’s Tea Tree & Hemp Formula Bar Shampoo ($6.99)

FIVE For urban bikers, or just picnic bikers, this double pannier is waterproof, durable, secure, and then magically uses magnets to turn into one shoulder bag that is both functional and attractive if you need to head home sans bike. Win. Tandem Bike Pannier Bag ($129)

SIX Dan Savage’s Magnum podcasts are ninety minutes, good for at least two morning commutes or one puddlejumper flight. No commercials, just funny, interesting questions. Dan Savage Lovecast Season Subscription ($19.99)

SEVEN This little piggy would make K’s paleo lifestyle a lot cuter. Wooden Pig Cutting Board in Cherry ($48)

EIGHT These headphones would be a nice way to stay zen while sitting next to that chatty lady in the middle seat, or the ubiquitous “what time is it” subway dancers who twirl a little too close to your glasses. QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones ($242.19)

NINE Last year, we headed to a merry divorced double-header with my families for the holidays, and I made her open one of her stocking stuffers before we even got to my mom’s house: tea from the herbal apothecary down the street. I walked in and said, “I need a tea for an introvert who is going to be expected to answer a lot of questions from people who are enthusiastic, yet bad listeners,” and the herbalist threw together this awesome witches’ brew of skullcap and holy basil and other magic stuff. I don’t know if that’s what got K through, but at least it gave her something warm to hold. Replicate it at your own local tea shop, or I hear that Tulsi is good for stress relief! Tulsi Boxed Tea ($4.99)

TEN Two things K hates: inefficiently-run meetings and the sad, short dark days of winter. Maybe these Paperwhites would cheer her up on the cold lonely February days when I come home to her mournfully binge-watching Parenthood. White Flower Farm Paperwhites ($39)

ELEVEN This is a neat way to support local businesses. Buy a Kobo eReader, and set it up so that your local independent bookstore gets a share of the proceeds every time you buy a book. This would be a great way to stay connected to K’s beloved hometown bookstore, Prairie Lights. Learn More. Kobo Aura ($149)

Title Image: Our friends run an incredible botanical perfumery up in Maine, and last summer K tested one of their perfumes, Vivace. 2 Note says Vivace smells like “lime, blood orange, and black pepper,” and K says it’s not too girly and not too cologne-y, and I say it smells damn good on those hunky shoulders.

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  • Meg Keene

    Um. I’m just back from vacation and I love this. That is all.

    • Elisabeth S.

      HOLY SMOKES, Rachel, that meatballer is AWESOME! I want it, and also all your recipes, please!

  • I am not even a little bit masculine of center and I want ALL THE THINGS. Except the shampoo. I like smelling like orange blossoms and mango thankyouverymuch.

    • Jess

      I want that leather bag. It could only be better if it had a shoulder strap so I could carry it through the airport. Now if only I knew somebody who would spend $250….

  • KC

    If there is actually a “tea for an introvert who is going to be expected to answer a
    lot of questions from people who are enthusiastic, yet bad listeners” available anywhere, oh man, I would love some. Simply holding a hot mug of something does help, but… yeah. Any assistance is good.

    • Jess

      If you find one, let me know. I would pay lots of money to have this over Christmas. And many other times of the year.

    • MisterEHolmes

      For all your tea-loving needs, I love Adagio teas. PLUS, if you have a thing you’re nerdy about, you can also get fan-made tea blends, for things like Firefly, Sherlock and much much much more! The decaf vanilla has been a LIFESAVER in my house, perfect when I want a cuppa but it’s really too late to have caffeine.

  • EmLeMat

    Prairie Lights!!!

  • Dani

    Every time I see or hear the word ‘hunks’ I can’t help but think of Kate Beaton’s comic Hark! A Vagrant because hunks.
    Also, there’s a mug!

  • snowmentality

    Love this post.

    That perfume description sounds like something I would love, too. I tend towards feminine-of-center, but tend to be “meh” about scents coded more feminine (like very fruity, flowery, or aldehyde-y scents), and tend to love scents coded more masculine (like rosemary, pine, and cedarwood.)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      I sent this to Elizabeth after she put together this roundup. It’s the perfume/cologne I wear every day. I also can’t really do feminine scents (they give me headaches), and I’m convinced this smells like a beach bonfire:

      • snowmentality

        Oh, that sounds awesome! I need to go to Sephora and smell that…

        So far, my favorite perfume ever is Annick Goutal’s Encens Flamboyant — I bought a teeny tiny sample vial and fell in love. Frankincense, spices, wood, more frankincense. (It’s like church incense, not like Nag Champa.)

        I also love Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Cipresso di Toscana, which smells like rosemary, lavender, pine, and eucalyptus. It’s bracing and refreshing and herbal.

        Both of these are generally considered masculine scents. Encens Flamboyant is listed under the “Masculine” collection on Annick Goutal’s website. Cipresso di Toscana, in particular, is something I think most people would instantly read as a men’s cologne if they smelled it in isolation, though it lacks that heavier, muskier note that you often get in men’s cologne.

        Highly recommend either/both to anyone who likes a more masculine scent.

  • Anon

    For my masculine of center partner, who hates Christmas and doesn’t ever want to make a list, I got a gift package. It’s a super cool concept, sort of like birchbox, but they are compiled by people or blogs you might know (and contain more than samples). I got my guy a package curated by Bill Nye (the science guy). I’m thinking I’ll get a book one for my BFF, and a sporty one for another BFF.

  • Jane Patterson

    That pannier is awesome.

  • OK YOU GUYS just stop it! This is just too perfect!! I have a fiance that is a aka not wife aka husbutch too. This was such an awesome post! And I squeeled in my head because paperwhites are my favorite flowers in the universe. I’ll never forget how on one of our meet-ups in the beginning of Us my masculine fiance brought me a bouquet of paperwhites :)

  • Therese

    Bike panniers!!! The best invention EVER for urban bicycle-commuter grocery store trips. Or for hauling large quantities of booze across town for parties when you don’t have a car ;).

  • NB

    Yes! That scoop! We also just discovered its utility for perfectly portioned meatballs, and now I am on an all-meatball, all the time, diet. It is perhaps one of my favorite kitchen do-dads!

  • Lizzie C.

    Such rad ideas! How bad would it be to make a screen shot of this with certain items circled, then email it to friends and family? ;) P.S. We’re going to CR for our honeymoon too! 17 days til sloth sanctuary and cloud forest time….

  • Sheila

    Yesssss thank you for the Kobo/Indie bookstore love!

  • Melissa Pepitone

    I came in search of amazing gift ideas, but was immediately distracted by “many hours devouring time-traveling romances and historical biographies (which I won’t read, because those romances are long).” Oh my, oh my, could you possibly be a fan of the best of the door-stopper romance series,Outlander?