Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sauce for the Goose...

For all the pieces out there about men being similar to trees when it comes to gift giving, the unspoken super criminal of gift giving is “us.”


We’ve all flunked at least one Christmas where the poor husband got socks. Socks! If we got socks for Christmas, we’d stew for months. It would be the stuff of legend. There would be flaming emails and calls so prolific as to melt the entire eastern seaboard’s communication grid. All males in the family would have to go into witness protection program or engage in a self flogging reeducation camp on proper presents just to insure such an experience would never happen again...ever.

Part of the problem is Men’s stores; you go in there and see what...drab clothing. Golf clubs, the smell of wallets. Fun times. These uninspired shops continue to exist because we’ve allowed it. We've enabled them to continue. We go to the mall with the best of intentions…we know our guy. So we think, we’ve got time and ooh look, there’s a sale on capes. I need a new cloak. Okay, now to business! Look at that, I’ve been needing some new gold hoops and maybe some make up since it’s bonus time. Hey, the salon isn’t crowded. I’ll just squeeze in a haircut.

Oh geez! I haven’t shopped for my love and I’m running out of time, I’ll just duck into the department store and…What did I buy him?

That year, I was in rare form. He got a red sweater, new socks, The A team third year complete season and a gourmet Chocolate bar (and one for me). Not my finest moment as a wife.

It is testimony to his great love that I still get presents.

I wish to sever this disfunctional relationship with the Men's store, to stop being co-dependent with those indifferent purveyors of "Y" chromosone geared presents.

Having racked my brains for an appropriate way to categorize Male gifts that are Gift Worthy, that knock their not so new socks off, I decided to consult an expert.


After he recovered from the shock, here are the secret top ten gift giving ideas with helpful tips on the side for Men.

10) Clothing that looks like what we already wear –We do not accessorize and we hate to shop, so if you get us a nice shirt or a jersey from our favorite team, this is cool. Note: Other than for sporting teams, we don’t wear red. Don’t buy red. Don’t expect us to wear red if you do. It will be regifted to a younger brother as soon as we reach the post office or we’ll mumble gratefully “thanks” and then said sweater will always be at the dry cleaners or in storage somewhere.

9) Electronic gadgets –oddly enough, this is not as big a hit as you might think. Unless it is compatible with what already exists or we’re proficient with technology and some of us aren’t, these gifts are a source of frustration. We don’t want things that require reading directions. We don’t like directions. We don’t ask for them and we don’t like having to use them to operate a television.

On the flip side, brainless technology is also a bad call. Robo dogs that need walking? Talk about fuzzy logic! Look, it’s not real but you still have to devote time and energy to it; no thank you. Stores pimp gadgets with batteries included for men. Real men see through this as a blatant appeal to women, buy this and you’re done! Look Honey, I bought you a laser pointer. Isn’t it neat? Um…I think the robo dog needs to go for a walk.

8) Tickets. Like you, we’re busy. We don’t want to have to plan things. Buy two for a concert or a play or a show you KNOW we’d like or a game and set up the date. It will impress us you gave so much time to our relationship. If it’s a sporting event, make sure you’re mentally psyched for going because having an indulgence for a present isn’t fun. (A fun way for YOU to get us a planner we won’t buy, is to get the tickets and put the date with the tickets in the planner. But let us know to look, because otherwise, getting a planner for us is the equivalent of getting an ironing board. Whee.)

7) If we need a new watch, you can buy this. Otherwise, steer clear of men’s jewelry. We don’t accessorize. Even if we’re vegetarians, we still dress and focus on life in a meat and potatoes kind of way. One watch. Works for Day. Works for Night. Works for Dress and Casual. No rings. No necklaces. Nada. We’re men for crying out loud!

6) On the subject of needs: If our brief case, jacket or wallet looks drab or worn, this is an okay place to splurge and get us an upgrade, just make sure we won’t feel silly with it. As stated above, we don’t like shopping, even for us.

5) Channel your hunter gatherer skills for shopping. Watch and learn, track your subject and then move in for the kill. For example, books: We don’t’ want to know how we communicate. We don’t like having to work at just talking. Humor books also strike a false note, even if written by guys we like, as those get dated fast, one read and they’re done. Magazines? Be careful. Most guys don’t subscribe to GQ or Men’s Day type magazines. We do subscribe to SI and Time and Newsweek and National Geographic. Want us to read more? Go to a book store and watch to see what men pick up, peek at the selections and see if you’ve got a fit, then pounce!

4) No guy says they have a hobby. We have collections and obsessions, not hobbies –stamps, baseball cards, coins, model trains, fantasy football, movies and star trek. If we like golfing, we like golfing, it’s not a hobby. Got that? Good. Now, if we like doing something, get something for us we like doing. Just don’t write “For your hobby, hubby” on the card.

3) Homemade gifts…unless you’re really good at it, and even then it’s dicey. It’s not like we collect or appreciate quilts and as good as your pumpkin bread may be…well, we’ll appreciate the time and effort…but homemade promises…those work better. For example: a scrap book works! A sappy poem does not. We begin to cringe with the opening line, “My heart’s song transcends the stars…” A coupon for a one hour foot rub from you works! From the spa…well, most guys I know aren’t signing up on Saturday for a pedicure.

2) Food. There is no love so sincere. However, chocolate is not our go to of choice, it’s yours. Besides, we KNOW if we get chocolate, we’re going to have to share. Fruit of the month, well, it’s nice and we might be surprised by how much we like it…Wine of the month –better. A smoked turkey. Excellent. Imported stuff, Prime Steaks. Now You’re talking! Dessert of the Month –okay, you got us there. (Gift cards to restaurants however, do NOT work. They feel like a prepaid nag to go out). Take us to a place you discovered you know we’d love, that’s a date!

Food related items should be 1) high quality, 2) functional 3) not require additional high quality functional items. A Barbeque Grill tool set does not work well without the Barbeque grill. It’s like an empty jewelry box.

1) Affection and Attention. We like back rubs and unexpected kisses. We like a peaceful home. We want to come home to a woman that is delighted to see us not because of what we can do as relief pitchers with the kids or the chores, but because we are simply there. Forgive us our foolishness and abandon some of your frustration, we don’t want you to swallow it because then it’s still inside. We want your enthusiastic presence for us more than anything.

Look, we brought flowers, silver and chocolate!

Merry Christmas!


MRasey said...

Funny! Thanks for sharing.


Suburban Correspondent said...

I'm trying to decide whether that list is helpful or not. Essentially, it's saying that there's nothing he'd really like you to buy for him. Only Number 1 sounds appealing to him, right? And it's not always possible, short of placing duct tape on the kids' mouths at 5:45. How frustrating! I guess women like chocolate and flowers, men like admiration, a peaceful home, and a smiling wife. But that still doesn't solve the Christmas dilemma.

I tend to get my husband a photo book or pictures he can put on his desk. Which reminds me, I've got to get going on that....

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Ok but see when I ask my husband what he wants for Christmas he says "I don't know." And he never gives me any help. So sox it is. But glad your hubby gave you some direction! i too hate the men's store!

Christine said...

This year, my husband sent me a wish list. I am so psyched! I know EXACTLY what he wants. I think I'll go shop for it all, right now.

Because, I admit, I STINK at gift giving. But at least he has my admiration and a mostly peaceful home (we do have 2 teenagers in the building, these days. there's only so much I can do).

Arachne Jericho said...

Lovely! :D I think this list is pretty helpful and true to life, for the guys I know.

Especially when their wishlists are totally outdated on Amazon.

Very funny! :D

Anonymous said...

I like this -- and I liked what you said about the back rubs and unexpected kisses! My hubby would certainly agree. :)

Kate Boddie said...

I have never shopped in any type of men's store for any man in my life, be it a boyfriend or my dad. My dad actually likes watches but it got to the point that everyone kept buying him them that he said no more. He probably has 8 or 9 good watches. And I actually like getting socks. Since my stock is constantly being depleted by a savage beast, the more socks the better. In fact I think I got something like six pairs this Christmas. But I guess on a general level this post works! I guess I have some non-normal people in my life!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!