Is it all men generally or my husband specifically who can’t detect a hint even when rammed in the face and who will fail epically when it comes to present buying? Who will only manage to buy a gift that is actually desired if somebody else has gone into the shop, chosen and purchased said gift, preferably had it gift-wrapped in store and all they need to do it reimburse a sum of money (and still grumble about the cost). If it’s all men generally, what’s wrong with them? If it’s just my husband whose incompetent, why me?
Yesterday was my birthday and the run up to the day was not going well for Husband.
There are a few easy, no-brainer present solutions that anyone could buy me without too much thought. My favourite perfume (Jo Malone’s Nectarine & Orange Blossom, in case any family members are reading), tickets to Move It for which I’d left numerous mail shots lying around the house having not bought a ticket for this year’s event, a second lens for my camera, cold hard cash…
And not one of them occurred to Husband.
But then there was one gift that I really really wanted: a Pandora bracelet. Just a simple bracelet with a single charm to which family could add to over time (yet another fall-back present option) and I would end up with a truly personal piece of jewellery.
My problem is that I don’t like directly asking for a particular present. I have this romantic idea that after 16 years together Husband will have some idea about my tastes and preferences. That when he grumbles ‘So, what do you want for birthday then?’ Actually he’ll be able to read my mind, or at least pick up on the hints I give him following my ‘Oh, I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it,’ response.
‘There must be something you need,’ he later said, literally tearing up a Move It mail shot as he spoke.
‘Birthdays aren’t about need, otherwise you’d get the windows fixed as a birthday present.’
‘Then you’re likely to get something you neither want or need.’
Ah, how true.
So I hatched a plan for Boo to show Husband what I wanted. After all, who could turn down a doe-eyed 6-year-old, especially when they’re offering marital salvation. They had a window between ballet class and a kids’ party on Saturday to go and find me my present. So on Friday I took her into town to have a look at the beautiful jewellery and pick our favourite charms. We discussed how silly Daddy was not to know what to buy but how she could help him out.
We even told Husband about our beautiful discoveries. obviously he didn’t take in a word.
The next day I waved them off, Boo with her part in the plan firmly in mind. My heart sank a little as they headed off in the opposite direction to the jewellery shop, but then they were gone a while so would surely have got round just about everywhere. All they’d have to do is walk past the shop in question and Boo could do her stuff. ‘Oh, Mummy really likes those. Let’s go in there.’
‘So, where did you go in town?’ I asked Boo as we walked to the party. I knew she wouldn’t be gullible enough to tell me what she’d bought.
‘I can’t really remember. We went to a lot of shops.’
‘Did you go to the shop with the pretty bracelets?’
‘No. Daddy said he didn’t know what I was talking about.’
What I didn’t expect though was the present I got in its place. A green, glittery plastic heart-shaped ring. It was up there with the time the twins gave me a pair of silver stacked trainers so I could be like a Spice Girl.
And Husband had also used Boo’s cute-factor as she proudly handed over the gift. She was thrilled with it. And I probably would have done if I was 6. Husband must definitely have been thrilled at his less-than-a-fiver purchase. Not being a Tiger Mum I fixed an excited grin and have worn the ring for two days now, my friends awe-struck by its ‘specialness’.
My next birthday is a big one. My last big birthday caused such a present-buying crisis in Husband that I didn’t get a present at all. But I have a plan for next year: I’m giving my gift list to my best friend and giving her telephone number to Husband. It may not be romantic, but it’s also not going to be a green plastic ring.