• Jessica Sherry

Romantic Gift Fails

Valentine’s Day got my crazy-writer-brain thinking about romantic gifts and how, oh so often, they can go wrong. Whether its V-day, Christmas, a birthday, anniversary, whatever, these are gifts that maybe shouldn’t be given—unless specifically asked for, of course. In fiction, a romantic gift fail could drive the plot forward in a telling and amusing way—it’d say to the audience, hey, this guy, gal, or robot isn’t right for the MC. Here are some not-so-great, unasked-for gift ideas:


  • A treadmill—a co-worker received one for her birthday from her husband and it did not go well for him

  • A kitchen aid mixer, unless of course, your significant other is into baking. Otherwise, it’s a not-so-gentle shove into the kitchen

  • A cookbook, another shove into the kitchen, again, unless they enjoy it

  • Wrinkle creams, duh

  • Hair regrowth treatments

  • Subscription to Jennie Craig or Nutrisystem or the like

  • Recycled jewelry—this can be sweet, like a family heirloom, or creepy, like jewelry that used to belong to other girlfriends/boyfriends or bought from a pawn shop, making it a badge of a failed relationship

  • Spanx

  • A gym membership

  • House cleaning supplies

  • Anxiety teas, pills, gummies, etc.

  • Products for excessive sweating

  • Awkward self-help books

  • Anti-snoring products

  • A framed picture of the gift giver--without you; kind of cocky, right?

  • The same gift over and over again showing a minimal amount of thought, effort, creativity

  • Really, anything that says to the person, you need to change


How might the wrong gift propel your story? How would your MC react?

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