Opinion

Men hard-wired to give bad gifts | Box

Something tells me it is time for my Christmas present advice column. My columns generally prompt some screaming arm thrower at a city meeting to throw some arms at me, usually attached.

Today’s column is designed to be a self-help guide to the universe of buying presents for your wife or girlfriend.

Christmas is such a special time of year that I always try to mentor the young married couples and those preparing for the big fall to understand just how hopeless and happy it all really is.

At a certain crossroads in my life I learned an essential lesson when buying presents at Christmas or Valentine’s Day, or any other present giving trap day.

I am sure you have heard the axiom, “it’s the thought that counts.” If you believe that one you had better be adding lots of 151 rum to the eggnog. You are going to need it. It may be your only friend for a while.

Here is the secret, and this part of the column is for men only. Women should stop reading until the last line, please.

You are supposed to fail at buying a gift for your wife. Only in the beginning of a marriage does the “oh that is so nice” line get activated. After that you get the “look.” We all know what the “look” is … it is frightening and prompts 151 eggnog in mason jars.

Here is the revelation of the secret code. You are predestined to fail. No matter how hard you try you will eventually be a present buying failure. That is the genetic job description set up by God. (I could be wrong about this but I doubt it … and I probably wouldn’t admit it if I knew I was … that is also part of the genetic job description of the male dummy.)

I did a very scientific poll of the women in office and a few others to get the inside scoop.

More than one gave me the line, “Well he is not too bad at Christmas (translation: he’s an idiot, but Christmas is close and he may read this column so we will see how he fares) but at Valentine’s Day he sucks.”

Another said her husband bought his mother and grandmother a gift for Mother’s Day, but not her. They have a 3 year old.

Here is a very hot tip. On Mother’s Day when you do not buy a gift for your wife, but you do buy a gift for your mother and grandmother, do not respond to your wife by saying, “Well, honey bunny, you are not my mother.”

During the Mother’s Day season there is a severe shortage of eggnog, which means the 151 rum will need to be consumed straight. You may suddenly find yourself converting into a flambé rubber chicken.

Here is another very good wife quote, “Years ago he bought me a shirt for Christmas, not something I asked for, he guessed that I might like it. I hated it. I instructed him to not buy me clothes ever again. My husband tries but without specific directions about what I want, he fails.”

My favorite is one of my long-time contributor to failed Christmas presents from her husband. Ron Olness has a long history of buying just the wrong Christmas present for Becky. She hates electronic presents, which he always buys her. He consistently buys her something I would absolutely love, and she hates.

Becky said last year she got even with him for years of goofy gifts … she bought him a cemetery plot.

Every woman in my office I told this story to cheered, which made me nervous and consider stocking up on some 151 eggnog.

Here is the final advice-column secret. Becky and Ron Olness have been very happily married for more than five decades.

Merry Christmas and good luck.

Dennis Box is editor of the Covington/Maple Valley/Black Diamond Reporter and Enumclaw/Boney Lake Courier-Herald. Reach him at dbox@maplevalleyreporter.com or 425-432-1209, ext. 5050.

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