How well does your boyfriend know your style? Can you trust his choices? Or will he resort to kinky underwear...
You tell your boyfriend not to worry – that you'll love it because it’s from him. It’s a nice thought, but let's be realistic, there is the possibility of being presented with the equivalent of the Bridget Jones Christmas jumper… or something Paris Hilton might wear. Which leaves us with the question: what do you do if you simply can't like it?
And of course, this horrifying quandary may, for over-thinking girlfriends like me, raise a further question. What does it mean if you don't like it? If it’s just SO not you, he really should have known… Or should he? Even my mum can sometimes get it wrong, and she’s the only person I’ll ever shop with. Some men just aren’t intuitively fashionable, and the very fact that they had the balls to go into Topshop, let alone hold up different jumpers, should touch the heart.
Because, let's face it, there are a number of pitfalls a guy has to negotiate when buying clothes for a girl. For one thing, there’s size. By flattering you it may be too small – leaving you with your face plastered in a fake grin as you try and squeeze it on and look happy and sexy at the same time – and by trying to be realistic he may just verge on insulting.
Then there is the issue of style. Thankfully I have not yet been bought anything from the clothes rails of Ann Summers. Nipple clamps, as a joke, but nothing that signals a boyfriend trying to fulfil his pornographic fantasies. It has all been strictly PG, which basically means jumpers. But maybe playing it safe is easier. Style choices are so personal. There are only a select few items in the shop that you just go 'yes' to. As girls beginning our twenties, we have begun to settle into our own personal style niche. It's just not that easy for guys, and you’ve got to hand it to them for trying at all.
But, back to that question: when you hate it, what do you do? Do you wear it all the time with a huge smile, whilst feeling uncomfortable, just because you love him? Or do you don it a couple of times when he’s around, and then let it linger in to the back of your drawer because you just can't give his present to a charity shop. Or do you come clean about it because in a loving relationship you should be able to tell them everything?
Personally, I just smile as I awkwardly smooth down the invisible wrinkles on that…wonderful… piece of clothing, and then thank them profusely. It will then be worn just enough times to give it justice. There is no need for them to have endured that foray into the world of women's clothing for nothing.
Frankly, I have got more use out of the clothes I've stolen off them than received from them. Maybe that’s a good compromise. All the same, I suppose I am still waiting for the guy that buys me that perfect item of clothing, which I really, really love – then I'll know he's a keeper.
And if my current boyfriend is reading this: I can understand if you’re reluctant to buy me anything now, but I promise that if you do, I will be honest… sort of.
All Illustrations by James Whittle