I’ve been so neglectful of any day of significance so far in my marriage of decades that missing another day wasn’t an option. My husband is patient but I do suspect that his unilateral romantic gestures aren’t the highlight of his life.
So I thought that maybe getting him a present that would show how much I value these years would be emblematic of our time together and the happiness we’ve shared.
It’s hard to buy things for him. First of all, he’s one of those people who profusely……did you think thank? No! He’s one of those people who profusely comment on the gift and after his exhaustive analysis of the goods and bads of the present is complete, he perfunctorily thanks. So yeah! Profuse criticism. Perfunctory gratitude. You can imagine how much I look forward to Valentine’s Day.
After much deliberation I came to the following conclusions as to what an ideal Valentine’s Day gift should be. Something to commemorate the occasion with. Something that would be a memento of how much we have in common. Something that would include all the new-age ideas of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and….what else was there? Yeah, love! Of course love.
1. It couldn’t be a gendered object. I mean, my husband has already been ruined enough by toxic patriarchy. Giving him something like a shaving set, some gaming device or new tires for his car are things that further endorse his idea that he’s a man. In some cases, he even thinks that he’s the man. In the interest of feminism and womankind, we need to stay away from the gifts in Aisle Blue.
2. It couldn’t be lingerie that I hand over to him coyly and that then sits in the back of my closet as our almost successful attempt at sexual debauchery . So many lingeries are now snuggling together in the back of my dark closet that they might be having sex with each other for all I know.
3. It also can’t be something romantic. Romance isn’t his love language, I know. I mean, what my husband calls romance and what I call romance are such different concepts that I’ve stopped giving it or expecting it. I want him to clean the bathroom floor as a show of affection. He wants me to support his weaponized incompetence. So, two different things altogether!
However, I also am privy to a little nugget of inside information. My husband doesn’t consider a gift worth accepting if it doesn’t come with batteries or a screen or a few buttons. The gift also should be loud enough for all of us to know he has it. And the gift should be seen and heard at all times. This makes things simple sometimes but for a gadget collector like my hubby, this only makes everything even more complicated.
But, as the famous expression goes, “Where there’s a wife, there’s a gift that keeps on giving”, I did stumble upon something that made the perfect gift.
“Wow!” , He said as I wheeled the gift across the hallway to bring it over to him as he undressed it with his eyes, his face shining with anticipation at what was to come out of the gigantic box.
“I worked really hard to get it before Valentine’s Day, honey!” I said coyly as I pushed the gift over to him.
With one swift motion he stripped the wrapping paper. I winced at this obvious disrespect for yards of paper and my extremely concerted efforts to pack it so he wouldn’t be able to guess but I curbed the urge to scold him.
His smile faltered. His brow furrowed. A slight dent in his chin, which is usually sexy, got deeper and looked scary.
“A vacuum cleaner?” He stammered, “Erm. This is for Valentine’s Day?”
“Of course”, I smiled patronizingly as I saw him dumbfounded at how thoughtful and useful my gift was, “And honestly, honey, I wouldn’t have thought of it if you hadn’t gotten me that grill last year. I’ve been using it so much to cook for your family each time they come over. I realized that since they’ve been invited by you so much over the last year because we now have a huge grill to barbecue meat on, I should pair it with something that would clean up after they left”.
“Oh and your parents are coming for dinner tonight. I’ll grill and you can vacuum when we’ve eaten”.
He was lovingly stroking the vacuum cleaner but his eyes looked devoid of life or love. A vapid expression of a hugely missed opportunity was clouding his face. Thinking he was estimating the price of the vacuum and worrying that I had probably spent too much I took out the meat, seasoned it, fired up the grill and set to work.
Finally, in the name of love, we are even.