A while back, a Cup of Jo reader left a comment, describing how she gave flowers to her 85-year-old neighbor, to thank him for helping her with a chore. “No one has ever given me flowers in my whole life,” he told her, amazed.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that. It feels so antiquated, but why are flowers typically considered a female gift? Why aren’t men included more often? Whose mood wouldn’t be lifted by a fresh scent and burst of color?


So, this week, to thank Alex for handling all the parenting for seven days while I had Covid, I picked out flowers from the bodega.

Alex Williams nyc

A portrait of a guy who had never received flowers.

“These are for you,” I told him.

“Me? Really?” His jaw fell open. “I’ve never gotten flowers. It feels amazing.”

Standing in the kitchen, I laughed at his shocked expression. “This has the same feeling as a surprise party,” he said. “For the first few minutes, I’m just in shock.”

Later, Alex pointed out that guys often receive functional gifts, like keychains or cast-iron skillets. “Almost every men’s gift boils down to some form of tool. Even a nice sweater or bottle of alcohol has a purpose,” he said. “But with flowers, there’s no purpose other than to bring enjoyment. They’re pretty for prettiness sake. Now every time I see them, I think, ‘Wow, that was so unexpected and nice.'”


Likewise, when a guy friend, who recently moved abroad, told me he felt homesick and brokenhearted (a decidedly rough combo), I sent a small bouquet of flowers to his apartment. Soon after, he sent me the photo (above) and these texts:

Him: You are seriously THE BEST ❤️

Me: Oh yay! I figured you needed some flowers. I had them include a vase bc I didn’t know if you had one lol

Then, a few days later:

Him: Loving my flowers, unforgettable move

How sweet is that? A man named Vince also recounted a lovely memory to Esquire Middle East: “The only time I received flowers was from a person I barely knew in college. It was my birthday; I’d been having a bad time. She asked if I could help her pick out presents for a friend, made me pick flowers and pastries, then went, ‘These are for you!'”

Thoughts? Would (or do) you give flowers to men? I’d love to hear… And thank you to the reader who left that inspiring comment!

P.S. What marriage means, and the first emails Alex and I sent to each other (we were nervous!).