When Bad Gifts Happen to Good Women
Do we need a gift clause?
When a live-in ex and I broke up many years ago, my brother casually remarked that he wasn’t at all surprised about the demise of our relationship. “He wasn’t nearly festive enough for you,” Jake wisely pointed out.
Even through my tears, I could see the boy had a point. Being in a mixed relationship (one festive, the other not) is problematic. The tedious aforementioned ex “didn’t believe” in holidays and felt they were just a retailer-generated way for big business to bilk idiotic consumers out of their hard-earned money. (Translation: he was too cheap to buy gifts for anyone but himself.) The few presents he did pony up were uniformly ugly and completely inappropriate, the apex of that being a hideous, faux-Santa Fe turquoise bracelet the girl he was schtupping behind my back helped him select. (I should’ve known then.)
To make myself feel better, I asked some friends to share their crappy-gift histories. “A vibrator and a novelty watch,” my pal Melissa answered. That didn’t sound too bad to me, but it sure pissed her off. Diana’s now-ex did way worse: “very chalky chocolate wrapped in kente cloth, allegedly from ‘the motherland.’” Um, yeah. First of all, food is rarely a good gift. Disguising obviously aged, inferior food product in ethnic clothing to somehow up its value is just retarded, though it does show some imagination. “Hmmm. OK, I’ve got three old Hershey bars and my dad’s sweat-stained Nehru shirt – she’s gonna love this!”
Rare is the man who can purchase clothes wisely. I’ve received shiny polyester pajamas (hello, yeast infection!) and countless ill-fitting naughty undergarments. Why do guys always pick out the most uncomfortable crap (nobody wants a piece of polyester lace wedged between their labia) and inevitably get the sizing all wrong? Undergarments are generally – thankfully – not returnable, so you’re stuck with a frilly new dust cloth.
Similarly, prezzies that the giver is actually giving himself are also a very, very bad idea. One bad-gift hall o’ famer is the iPod my friend Emily scored off her husband. I know what you’re thinking – everyone wants an iPod, right? Wrong. Emily had told Husband Dearest several times that she absolutely loathed the ‘Pod and couldn’t imagine a more daft gift. Not only did she get one, but he’d thoughtfully pre-loaded it with all HIS favorite songs.
I mean, how hard is it to buy a good gift? Pretty much every lady asked wanted a professional massage. (Happy ending optional.) Jewelry, electronics and cashmere anything were also listed as predictable faves. Though it’s hardly romantic, my friend, Andrea, thought a once-a-month professional house-cleaning would be an excellent item to unwrap under the tree. I agree, though I’d prefer a naked houseboy. Merry Christmas!