“You know, the nice thing about this baby is that you can mulch the grass, attach a bag to the rear OR slap this little plastic thing-a-ma-jig on the side and discharge that shit right out into the street! Happy Birthday, Judy.”
I’m 99% sure that’s the conversation that happened between our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Carter, in August of 1979. That assumption is based on the fact that I’d overheard my Mom say, “It’s Judy’s birthday today. I should giver her a call.” and then seeing Mrs. Carter mowing their front yard with a shiny new Lawn Boy the next day.
My goal here is to give you a list of some of the worst gifts you can give your wife/partner/significant other. Let’s get the obvious ones out of the way: no bears carved out of tree stumps, no tubs of protein powder and nothing that uses “As Seen on TV” as its marketing strategy. Consider this a “teaching a man to fish” moment.
As my short story about poor Mrs. Carter would imply, buying your wife a lawn mower as a gift is a guaranteed way to make sure you’re sex life becomes monastic. The same goes for weed whippers, hedge trimmers, vacuum cleaners, washers and dryers…you get the point. You NEVER buy your partner anything that helps them do something they hate to do more efficiently.
Clothes…bad. “You really think I’m this big?” Or, “I already have one of these. Didn’t you notice?” Even if she likes what you bought and you win, you lose because now you’ve set the bar unrealistically high for the next time. Do yourself a favor and don’t appear to be too good at anything. It never hurts to have a little bit of a “fuck up” quality to your character. Your schedule on the weekends will be much more wide open if you do.
A picture of…wait…YOU! Really bad. She sees you everyday…whether she wants to or not. Women rarely hide their emotions so if she wanted a glossy 8×10 of you with the kind of soft lighting they use to use on Liz Taylor, she would’ve asked for it. My money says, she’s never asked for it.
Gift cards are shit. A gift card says the only effort you put forth was scanning the impulse buy section of the checkout line while you were looking for Certs and came across that $50 BW3 card. That’s what you’ve made her…an impulse buy.
How about this? There’s a website where you can name a star after someone you love. The site should also include a link to the cheapest divorce attorney because you’ll need it. Unless you met your significant other at the NASA Christmas party, naming a star she’ll never see after her is like buying Erin Brockovich bottled water from the springs of Chernobyl.
Vacations…nope…UNLESS you present the idea with enough lead-time for her to be fully involved in every aspect of the planning. Otherwise, you’re going to fuck it up…yes, you will. You’ll choose to drive instead of fly so the two of you can “see some of the country.” She doesn’t want to navigate; she wants to be there. You’ll schedule at least one excursion based on your interests and not hers. The motorcycle museum will be like Pan’s Labyrinth to her. Stay home.
It’s simple…be thoughtful. The greatest gift you can give your partner is the one that lets them know you’ve been paying attention. It doesn’t have to be big and expensive. Maybe a vintage copy of a book that changed her life or a souvenir from the restaurant where you proposed to her or a DVD of the first movie you saw together. The best gift I’ve ever received from my wife was an ink sketch she had done of our first tiny little house. This was the home we decorated exactly the way we wanted. The little Cape Cod with a single stall garage where I mounted a basketball hoop. The place where we were living when both of our daughters were born. I get emotional every time I look at it.
Unfortunately for her, I’ve never been able to match this one, but I’ll be damned if I won’t keep trying.