When dating, Christmas is awkward.
My last steady beau led a precarious gifting trail to his departure from my life. I know this is going to sound shallow… I freely admit I am. However, I beg you attend … because that’s what he was lacking… attention to the details of my life, and note, while I hear I should be, I am not subtle.
On our first Christmas together, the gift was so forgettable that I did. My birthday precedes Christmas by a few unfortunate days. I know he didn’t lump the gift because… welllll that pisses me off; I do not recall pissage, so my birthday gift was also of the unmemorable variety.
On the second Christmas, he bought me wine. My roommate is a sommelier. I have access to the best wines in and outside of Tidewater (NOT Hampton Roads). Did he ask her? Nope. In addition, my birthday gift was something that didn’t fit. NEVER buy a woman clothes that are LARGE unless you are 100% sure LARGE is her size in this particular item. WTF? I am a small woman, with some curves in what most people would consider the right places. This does NOT equate to large clothing. The medium and small substitutes he found were also too big. On many occasions, I had mentioned the difficulty fitting my frame. I’d even dragged him shopping at my favorite clothing store, White House|Black Market, where the sales reps keep tabs on what I buy and what I like… and Oh Yeah… MY SIZES. The goal was that he would catch a clue and allow the wonderful sales people to fix him… errrr… me up.
Or hell! He could have bought shoes. Every time we walked past a pair of cool, FMPs, he was aware enough to say, “They look like Red Zone shoes.” I always answered, “Yes. They’d be perfect!” Clearly, he got that drill. Did his knowledge of my style and size 6 shoe translate to cool shoe gifts? No.
Ok…here’s the real kick to the curb gift (but I didn’t because I am wimpy like that). On Dec 15, 2012 (I know this because I was invited to a tree-decoration party), I invited last steady beau…AKA USMC…to go with me to a party. As usual, he made a BIG fuss about the invitation; he was thrilled, and he LOVED Christmas (even though doing so made him the Worst. Atheist. Ever.) and well… just more blah, blah, blah about the privilege of going with me and how much fun it would be. Ummmm no. It was a party that I was attending from pity. The party guy was odd to say the least.
At the party, when we were all standing near the division between the dining room and kitchen, I hit a small cd shelf with my purse. As there were movies and DVDs five-deep on each shelf, several fell. Among the fallen were numerous dvds from the The Great Courses series. To alleviate the host’s obvious embarrassment as others poked fun at his nerd centric video collection, I mentioned that I also enjoyed the Great Courses. A few days later, guess what I received for my birthday? Yep. Storytelling from The Great Courses Series. The first error here was the very general gift given to someone he had been dating three years. The second was the lack of connection to my life. At my job, I had arranged a near permanent “loan” of the Rome series for him… not a gift, but still, I borrowed the series for him because he likes learning about Rome. Clearly, I had easy access to the entire set of options.
On my birthday, I opened the small flat professionally wrapped gift… already prepared for a dvd. I had steeled myself to be happy to receive his favorite movie: The Princess Bride… kudos for loving it, so I really had no response other than a befuddled, “Thank you,” for the Storytelling dvd, which I opened in front of he and his teenaged son. WTF? And then I had to go shopping with them to help them find gifts for USMC’s daughter, my wonderful son, and his then girlfriend. All the while, I wondered why he hadn’t recruited someone, ANYONE to help him select gifts for me… or ask me for a list. I would have gladly provided a few reasonable items; I don’t gouge. I helped USMC and his son select a bevy of gifts for the 20-somethings. I hoped someone had helped USMC choose for his son as well… I hadn’t been asked. I probed gently over the next couple of days to make sure the teenage son was taken care of, but USMC assured me his number one son had been well covered…and though I didn’t ask, he also assured me I’d LOVE my gift.
Ummmm yeah… about that. Fast forward to Christmas Day. A small square box awaited me. I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t Great Course’s Medieval Series. All 4 of them! I did not love them. I didn’t even like them, but I thanked him, and watched as he carefully extracted every second of enjoyment opening the Christmas presents I had carefully selected for the runner (great wicking socks and clothes for the cold weather), Marine (wine glasses etched with Semper Fi & a nice red wine to go with them), golfing (gift certificate for the Golf Pro shop), dad (certificate for two rounds of golf with a cart), who loved Christmas (cheesy Christmas CDs and ornaments). He mentioned he might need gifting help. Yeah… you think?
Still, his gift does not win the worst gift ever. One Christmas about 15 years into my marriage, and yes, I know people become more difficult to buy for each year, but books, yarn, and shoes are always welcome in my world. I know he thought I had too much of each, but isn’t that for me to decide? NEVER ENOUGH! Books are read, yarn is fondled, and shoes… well they wear out.
That memorable year, I am sure he gave me some of the usual suspects… gift cards. I know there wasn’t a “big” gift because as I opened the last item, a 18 x 24 x 2” box, I couldn’t figure out what he’d found for the BIG one this year. In the past, the BIG one had included a new house phone, a vacuum cleaner, gift certificates for meals at restaurants…that he would share, and a weightlifting ring…solid gold and frightfully large (I guess I’d mentioned a time or ten that jewelry is a better gift than appliances). I suspected another gift certificate despite the fact I had told him…selfishly he assured me… that Christmas and birthday gifts should be something I could use, not something he could share.
Under cheery, red Christmas wrap and duct tape… yes….duct tape, was a box for a toilet seat. I opened the box still expecting something else. No! It was a toilet seat for the broken one in the master bathroom. I was the exclusive user of the master bathroom; I’ll give him that. I know people will say it is the thought that counts, but really, WTF was he thinking?
I like Christmas, but the joy has been gifted out of my over the years. I think it might be time to just gift myself, even though the surprise factor is missing, I know I will get something I like. 😉
Selfishly, and maybe greedily yours… Red Zone. 😉