Saturday, 5 February 2011

The duffers guide to taking a hint

I see it all the time at art and craft markets, couples wander up to my stall, look at the jewellery, have a chat, the girlfriend/wife/partner picks up a piece of jewellery and says something to her boyfriend/husband/partner that - to me - is clearly a hint that if someone special bought the item for her, she'd be highly delighted. All she gets back is a blank look and they wander off. Very occasionally, the gentleman will return and buy the item; he was just playing dumb. I'm always most impressed with guys that can pull that off (DH is hopeless, he will actually ask me "Is that hint for your birthday present then?") !!!

So, for all you blokes out there that can't take a hint, here's a rough guide translating commonly heard phrases and generally letting you know what might be going on in your beloved's mind.

The vital point for you to realise is that when you are taken out shopping close to Valentinue's day, her birthday, your anniversary or Christmas she is NOT doing this just to deprive you of watching sports on TV, or keep you from your mates in the pub. She is trying to help you come to the right decision about a present for her and to save you wasting your money. See ... she loves you really.

So, when you're in a shop or (for preference) at a craft market stall and she picks up (for example), the bracelet photographed
if she tries it on, she is interested in it. If she just puts it down again and tries on something else, that wasn't a hint. Sometimes things look different when they're on. (NB With earrings she will just hold them up next to her ear and look at herself in a mirror, she won't put them in as most retailers don't like you to do this with earrings for hygiene reasons.) What she says after trying it on is the key to not missing the hint.

If she says "Oh, this is lovely, I really like it what do you think?" and shows it to you, she isn't really interested in your opinion, she is engaging you and bringing the item to your attention. If you go back later and buy this for her, she will pretend it was all your idea and tell all her friends how clever you were to notice that she'd like it. Other things she may say if she'd like you to buy it for her are:
  • "This would go with my new dress"
  • "It fits perfectly, it was made for me"
  • "I really like this, I'd like to have it but I can't afford it" (you will get bonus points here for your generosity)
When she doesn't buy it for herself, she isn't torturing you and drawing out the nightmare of having to keep shopping til she does find something she wants to buy - she is dropping a hint to you.

The thing to do next is after a few minutes, when you've left the stall, is to say "I'm just going to buy a newspaper, I'll be back in a minute" she will probably realise what you're doing but she won't let on, so no need (at this stage in your hint-taking education) to be any more subtle than that. She probably won't even question you if you don't have a newspaper when you come back, if she does, just tell her "They didn't have a copy of The Daily Mirror" (or whatever paper you usually buy).

However, some ladies have a different approach, having tried the above way numerous times in the past and had their hints ignored, they are a tad more direct about it and may say something like:
  • "This is a lovely bracelet, it would be so nice if someone listening to me would buy it for my Valentine's day present"
  • "It would be lovely if someone came back to buy this for me when I wasn't here"
In my experience, this still only works about 50% of the time. Oftentimes, the gentleman will pick up one of my business cards which are handily lying around at both ends of the stall and I will get a phone call/e-mail/internet order. I have a really good memory and if you ring me during the week, I will remember the hint and know what you are talking about. After a week though, my memory is a bit faulty so follow up on this kind of comment fast! Hopefully you're getting the idea by now; you need to realise that it's imperative to take heed when she's talking; if you're not listening and are daydreaming about the football scores, then you will not pick up on this hint - remember: pay attention!

There is one final way that some ladies adopt. These ladies have been so often disappointed in the past and fed up with presents they don't like, that they utilise a candid, blunt and to the point method:
  • "Get your wallet out, you're buying me this for Valentine's day"
This is a royal command, if you don't buy this item right then, don't expect any smoochies later on! This has a good success rate but it's a little unromantic. So I urge all of you people out there who never know what to get your other half for a present; all you have to do is listen when you're out shopping together - she may be trying to tell you something!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sooz Jewels' jewellery is designed for women to wear, we have no objection if men wish to wear our jewellery and readers of the above guide may therefore feel free to substitute gender and gender-specific terms at will should they so wish. Sooz Jewels is an equal opportunities purveyor of craft jewellery.


  1. This should be taught in school!!! I try the first approach so often without results. Maybe I should just use the 'get out your wallet' attitude instead!

  2. Too funny, I should be a good mom and send this to my 3 sons!

  3. The average bloke is so unbelievably hopeless at taking hints, in my experience. They don't do subtle at all !!

  4. This made me smile and I will FB it to my boyfriend :)

  5. Brilliant!! And so accurate!! xx

  6. Thank you for your feedback ladies; I seem to have struck a chord! I hope you all get super pressies for Valentine's Day :-)

  7. Personally I won't hold my breath. Loved this post Sue. :-) x x x


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