As for gifting, most women are fine with cabled scarves. But use caution when knitting a cabled scarf for a man. In my experience, many men feel that a cabled scarf is a little too "showy" for their tastes. (A lot of men feel like they're pushing it just by wearing a scarf in the first place.)
If you have never seen a particular guy wearing a cabled scarf, then my advice is to ask them before you start knitting!