Gifting someone who is married is like walking a tightrope in heels. Your gift, no matter how personal, will never be an individual one. You’re basically buying a gift for two. Often, we get them things recklessly, without thinking, only to hear a week later that “Mama Junior alileta shida”. Or we think we are being cheeky and hilarious, but our silly gift launches a cascade of overthinking and accusations which result in someone going to their sister’s for a week. Here are some things never to gift a married man:
1. Designer perfume
You were not hinting at anything. It wasn’t that your married buddy lifted his arm and the steam from his armpit wiped out a nearby colony of flies. No, you saw someone selling Dior Sauvage cheaply, and you thought your bro would appreciate it. The problem is, as soon as he walks into his house smelling like anything other than the Imperial Leather soap and Vaseline lotion his wife is used to, he will be confronted by a seething wife and explain who that new whore is.
Do not buy your married friend underwear. Even if you accidentally saw the sorry state of his favourite pair. Even if the Calnav Kline collection he has been rocking since the campus is now so faded it has changed colour. Getting him a new set will only put ideas in his head. Funny ideas, like maybe he should let someone other than his missus see them.
3. Trendy clothes
Have you ever seen skinny jeans on the willowy-yet-bloated frame of a 40-year-old? Do you know how ridiculous it is to behold ashy ankles and no socks, just because a mzee is trying out don’t-touch pants? You can take the man out of the safari boots, but you cannot take the safari boots out of the man.
4. The Kamasutra
If you’re a married man’s special friend; you know, a good friend who scratches his back when his wife’s nails are otherwise engaged, then the worst thing you can do is introduce that man to some new techniques in the bedroom. He has been on a bland diet of missionary and ‘ukimaliza unifunike’, and you want to confuse his life with ‘above the head’, ‘the crouching tiger’, ‘the expressway’, and the evergreen ‘kifo cha mende’?
5. Your friend’s phone number
Do not give your married friend that cute girl’s number. The cute mutual friend has been hinting that she needs a mubaba in her life. Don’t tempt Baba Rama, because he will give in faster than Eve. You blink, and that cute girl whose number you forwarded is moving to Kitisuru, has a new set of long talons and an iPhone.
6. Gym Membership
Marriage is hell on the guts. And the knees. And the lungs because of all the yelling from separate rooms. Buying him exercise equipment is actually a nice gesture, a gentle push for him to get in shape. The only problem is that a gym membership opens your buddy up to other married women who are also going to the gym, and it gives him a two-hour window in the evening when he can leave his phone at home and drop off the grid.
7. Sex toys
When the bedroom has become more of a room for sleeping than a wrestling arena, a few accessories can ignite the spark of what was once a roaring flame. A set of rubber/silicone marital aids would therefore be a lovely gift for your friends, right? Wrong. Your buddy could present those aids to his traditional wife, only for her to ask him why he is trying to kill her.
8. A weekend trip
There is nothing more sinister than forcing married people to spend even more time with each other. Gifting them a week away in Watamu may seem like a no-brainer, but what you’re essentially doing is adding grey hair to that man’s head.
9. Matching sets
Do not purchase anything that has a matching set and gift it to your married friends. That includes a set of mugs, T-shirts, shoes, and even bedding. That shirt with the words ‘If lost please return to Wanjiku’ is not cute. Neither is the matching set of Kitenge shirts you expect them to wear to a wedding or something. Why would you buy them that duvet that splits
10. Baby items
The room for error on baby gifts is too significant for you to take the risk. If your married bro hasn’t gotten a child yet, then your cute baby gift is a not-so-subtle reminder that he is keeping people waiting.