It’s that time again. “Hon, what would you like for your birthday this year?” asks my husband, trying to make it sound like a lighthearted inquiry. We both know it’s more like the commencement of a weeks-long cycle of anxiety.
I watch those “say it with diamonds” commercials and shake my head. My husband probably wishes I would pick out a pair of diamond earrings, or some designer duds, or expensive perfume, or something else out of the “Gift Catalog for Wives”, but I’m just not that woman. Never have been. I’ve got nothing against the women who gasp over baubles, or furs, or 18 karat bling; but the particular gene that causes attraction to those things is missing from my DNA.
This makes birthdays and Mother’s Day and Christmas and Valentine’s Day and anniversaries a big problem for my husband.
Have you ever been in a group and a woman shows her friends the new jewelry that her husband bought her? The other women ooooh and aaaaah, and the other husbands/boyfriends look uncomfortable? My husband wants to be the oooooh and aaaaah generator. Just once.
If he wants gift ideas, I’m always full of them. This Christmas I asked for new oven mitts, and I got them. I love them. I also got a new crock pot, and a soda machine. Excellent choices! Almost every year, I ask for the same things: candles, slippers, kitchen stuff, and I adore what I get; but those aren’t the kinds of things that make women melt and feel cherished and tell everyone how wonderful their husband is.
So, you think I’m just pragmatic and not emotional or romantic? Not true. It’s just that what makes me melt isn’t available at the store and won’t need fancy wrapping. It takes thought and effort and feeling. I could hand my husband a list, but I won’t…..not because I’m trying to be uncooperative, but because if I have to tell him, it loses most of its appeal. See, I want him to think, to feel, to know what’s in my heart and find a way to touch it; to remind me that he still knows what’s underneath the Mom, the professional, the volunteer, the friend, the Grandma.
Am I expecting him to be a mind reader? No, not really. If there is a particular thing that I am enthused over, he knows about it. He’s my best friend; he knows everything about me.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling, so for discombobulated boyfriends/husbands everywhere, here are some ideas for women who don’t fit the mold for Cartier and Chanel.
*Write her a letter, and tell her what you admire about her, or what memories of the two of you are most cherished, or just that if you had to do it all over again, you’d still choose her
*Don’t ask her permission or opinion about a night out for the occasion, just plan it with confidence, tell her how to dress and what time to be ready (or even better, pick out her outfit and leave it with an invitation) and surprise her
*Make her something with your own two hands: whether it’s a framed photo collage, a new birdhouse, a window box, or a CD of her favorite songs
*Plan a surprise party. I know that you don’t know how, but that’s what her girlfriends and family are for, to help you (and completely ignore her when she says she doesn’t like surprise parties. That’s just something women say so they aren’t disappointed when they don’t get one)
*Sign up for a couples thing that you don’t want to do, but she does: dancing lessons, cooking classes, massage school, etc. and then go happily, even if it really isn’t your cup of tea
*Get cheesy: have flowers delivered, or take a horse drawn carriage ride, rent a billboard
*Renew your vows (which is one of the few times that a little bling should also be involved)
*Set up a session with a photographer for “couple photos”
*Take a walk down memory lane and return to your first restaurant or rent the first movie you saw together
There, you’ve just gotten the “inside scoop”. You’re welcome. My husband is probably still wishing he could get away with something in a velvet lined box, but whoever said “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” didn’t know this girl.