Sunday, December 9, 2007

Never look a gift Guy in the mouth

I had some appointments in the morning and afternoon on Friday, and rather than go to work for only a few hours during the day, I decided to call in, cash in a vacation day, and get most of my Xmas shopping and errands done. Guy, if you're reading this, I got you nothing so far. I got you nothing because nothing was on sale, unlike all the gifts I'm sure you've gotten for me. And that I'm sure you'll tell me about when I open them.

Getting gifts from Guy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he gets me things I really like, enjoy, want, and need. When he freestyles a gift, it's very useful and wonderful. When I tell him what I want, he gets exactly what I want. Regardless of the gift, though, I know he got it in some kind of sale. Guy is a bargain-hunter extraordinaire. He got us $3,000 off the Civic we bought 18 months ago, he found us a set of 600-thread count sheets and pillowcases for $55, and a yoga/fitness ball for me for $22.50.

It was the fitness ball that set me off, though. A few years ago, when I was heavier and still trying to lose weight to get my blood pressure into a safe range again, I told Guy that I wanted a fitness ball. I showed him a few different brands online and in catalogs, explained how they're sized, and so on. A week or so later, Guy and I were in a sports store when he spotted the balls on a shelf. "Is this what you want?" he asked.

"Right," I replied. "That's what I'm after, and they even have a small size. Here, you can come back later and 'surprise' me with a color."

"Holy shit!" Guy exclaimed. "They're 25% off! Sweet! I'm getting it right now! Yeah!" He pulled one off the shelf and walked to the checkout. "Fuckin' A! 25% off!"

He purchased the ball with me right there, which left me feeling a little bleh. After all, you want some kind of surprise, right? What made this situation long-term annoying was that for the rest of the day, Guy would occasionally shake his head and say "Man, I got that for 25% off!" while wearing a can-you-believe-it expression.

Now, women may be from Venus, but occasionally men are from Uranus. I don't mind him saving money--Guy and I are both cheap-ass Libras, and it's rare that Shorty will buy something on the regular price rack. But can't we just pretend I'm worth the whole $30? Seriously. And even if you save the cash, can we not act like the $7.50 is the same as getting a plasma TV for half-price? So, Guy is wandering around thinking "excellent, I got her the gift she wanted and saved some cash on it, good deal," but he's only saying the last part over and over, the part about saving money. And I'm walking around behind him envisioning daggers in his back and thinking "oh, i'm not worth $7.50? Is $7.50 worth the D-Con I'm thinking about putting in your turkey enchiladas tonight?"

So, this topic lay dormant until recently, when I mentioned it to Kellye the Observant and Amusing. "Well, of course he kept talking about it, Pixie," Kellye replied. "It's like a Viking thing: when he returns from an epic battle or victory, he can't just tell you; he has to sing a song about it." Of course, at this point I was once again laughing while slumped over my keyboard and Kellye sang, "I...have slaaaaaain...the beeeast....of Circuit Cityyyyyyy...!"

Just a few days later, Guy and I were wandering around Estes Park when my eyes lit upon a gorgeous necklace in a shop window. I oohed and ahhed over it, but it's really rare that I can bring myself to buy myself some jewelry. Guy and I went in and looked the display over, whereupon Guy mentioned the possibility of getting me something from the case for Christmas. I pointed out two or three that I liked the best, then said he could come back later and get it when I wasn't looking.

"See," said Guy, verbally pulling out a shovel with which he could dig his own miserly grave, "if I get you the brown one, it comes with earrings, and everything in the case is 30% off, so if the necklace is $59, and the earrings are $39--"

"Would you knock that the fuck off?" I said, five years of irritation dripping through my words. "What, am I not worth the full $59 or something?"

"No," replied Guy, "I'm just a cheap bastard!"

At this point, the standoff broke down into laughter. But we did have a brief discussion about how his commentary makde me feel. I'm fine if he saves money on my gifts; I know he's going to because he's the bargain-master. I just don't like having that be the most important thing to him. So the other night, I mentioned to Guy that I didn't know what to get him for Christmas, since he'd already gotten me something in Estes Park.

"I've gotten you three somethings," he replied.


"After the business with the fitness ball, I felt bad for being so cheap, so I got you a couple other things."

Shit. Now I had to get him three things. Which is okay--for all of my shit that he puts up with, it's the least I can do.


Miss Kitty said...


The fitness-ball thing still has me laughing. You & Guy, each pulling a Beowulf when you save money on something. Sheesh. :-P

BaxtersMum said...

get him a digital picture frame -

with three pictures - two of you and one of the wonder kittehs.


faded said...

This post gets a rant warning and a dark warning. Feel free to not post it if you feel that you should not.

The fact that the two of you can give gifts and then discuss it represents real freedom. Talk and learn how to give to each other. The ability to give gifts will translate into the ability to give yourselves to each other in a very powerful way.

When I was growing up, gift giving was so conditonal and manipulative that I swore I would never buy another gift for a family member. I did that when I was 14 and have not purchased another gift for any of my brothers, sisters, or parents in the last 38 years.

In our house today giving gifts is the most dangerous thing you can do. People get upset and angry because you spent to much money on them. They get angry becauase your were cheap. Or they say I don't want it. It can be real tough giving and getting gifts around here.

As for the frenzy of the holidays, Jim Croce summed it up nicely, "If I have to sing at garden parties, I'd rather drive a truck."