Fill your Boots, gentlemen

A press release came from Boots, last week, with the results of research that prove what women have always known – most men are oblivious to the hints we drop.

The percentage comes in at 85 so that’s four out of five men who don’t pick up on the message, be it subliminal or liminal (are you sure liminal is a word? Ed)

Even as I reveal the figure, I can sense that 85 per cent of men who read it, believe themselves to be in the 15% who do take the hint.

Boots released the results of its study at the launch of its new Ask The Girls service which aims to help men choose the right thing for the woman/women they love. There are branches with dedicated staff on hand to assist and useful advice online at

In my long years of experience, I have found it is a waste of time to attempt subtlety. Don’t even bother to turn to them, point at the dress you crave and say: “That’s a lovely dress, darling. Don’t you think it would look great on me? In a size 16?”

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I find the approach most likely to work is: “I want that dress for Christmas, in a size 16. I’ll turn my back now and pretend I don’t know that you have immediately gone to buy it.”

Hint-blindness is not confined to gifts. When I suggested my husband looked out of the window – if he could, thus inferring the window was too grubby to see through, he merely peered out and asked what he was supposed to be looking at.

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Boots press release quotes Professor Geoff Beattie, a leading body language expert. “Hinting is an important part of everyday social interaction but to do this successfully it is vital that gender differences are taken into account.”

He says men are missing out on a massive two thirds of crucial hints dropped by the ladies in their life.”

And if men think the word “crucial” may be a bit strong, do not underestimate the number of privileges that might be lost if they mix up the words Winceyette and silk when buying underwear.

According to the Boots’ study women’s top four hinting methods are:

1.Verbal hints, peppering their conversation with mentions of their preferred presents

2.Gestural hints to point out what you want when hitting the high street

3.Relying on friends and fmily to give verbal hints

4.Leaving a list lying around

The survey also discovers that one third of women have been disappointed by the present they get from the man in their life and a further 15% say they have been upset or angry about their partner’s choice. The Ask the Girls service is available at selected larger Boots stores nationwide throughout the festive season.

And chaps, don’t get side-tracked if you got into the store and just buy the first four things you see.

Few women want asupport bandage, natural laxative, anti-wrinkle cream and an eye test voucher in their Christmas stocking.

I don’t know though...

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