I may have come to the conclusion that guys don’t know how to give good gifts - the majority of guys.
Or, at least the guys I’ve dated.
It’s one of those things you overlook when you’re in the relationship, because you don’t want to be that girl. But at some point, months after the relationship is kaput, you take account of such things: Guys just aren’t very good at giving gifts.
Yes, this is a general statement.
And I make it, generally speaking about every guy I have ever dated.
While I likely don’t have a track record of dates most women my age do, I’ve dated enough to feel reasonably credible in making this general, slightly brash, statement.
Let me give some examples: My first relationship was a college summer romance. (I know - you might as well sum it up as “bound to fail.”) But it was decent. Decent, as in, he picked me up, picked out the restaurants and paid for meals. (This has not always been the case.) On our last date, before I flew back to school that fall, he spent half the time outspokenly regretful that he didn’t think to buy a gift. So he brought me to a Movado store and said, “ Pick out something.” I didn’t. Call me crazy, but this tactic just didn’t sweep me off my feet.
The next was... less than decent. It happened to be my first relationship on Valentines Day. I was told his schedule was packed but that he planned to “swing by” at the end of the day. Being my naive self at the time, I foolishly dropped off a gift that morning at his door. Later that evening, driving home before he came by, I happened to stop at a red light right beside his car. I honked and waved. He awkwardly smiled back. Then his car took a quick turn into a CVS before “swinging by.” Moments later I received a bag of York Peppermint Patties.
The relationships that followed, and ironically some of my longest, l’m not sure even ever attempted this gift thing. More rarely even attempted the “I’ll pick you up” or “I’ll pay for dinner”-thing. Call me old-fashioned and sentimental, but is gift giving really that hard? I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I think I’m a pretty good gift giver. I mean how complicated can it be to give someone a gift they would like?
My dad, on the other hand, is a pretty incredible gift giver. He’s the kind of that doesn’t need a special occasion. He creates special occasions. My dad would buy me a DVD or soundtrack for every college musical or play audition, just to tell me “You’ve got this!” (and ironically it worked every time.) He would give us kids “travel packs”, full of candy, magazines and movies on the first day of every road trip. And he’s that guy that actually does The 12 Days of Christmas for my mom, for as long as I can remember. Yep, my Dad is that kind of guy.
I have tended to had high expectations in life. In most everything that means anything to me - dating, jobs, movies. My parents would probably agree. As a kids it would mainly show up at Christmas. Each year I would casually assume the largest box near the tree was for me and when it wasn’t, I would shortly after leave the room in tears (there just might be VHS recordings to prove this.) But where I place these high expectations has evolved through the years. Since graduating college I’ve had big movie-picture kind of expectations of life in general. And more times than I can count, these unmet great expectations have left me underwhelmed.
I guess many of us hope for bigger and greater things as we grow - like that easy access success so many of us assume we will have as adults. Yet the true gifts in life that satiate our crazy high hopes are rarely what we put on a wish list and rarely what we even earn. We tend to wish for things with the shortest lifespan, and these are often the very things that shorten our lifespan. After so many years, I’ve decided these constant unmet expectations must be reexamined. What if the gifts we look for aren’t what is best for us? What if where we’re looking for them, isn’t where we will ever find them? There is absolutely no wrong in wanting good things. In fact, I think hoping for great things is what keeps us living - and living fully. But if we were to shift focus on where we get these good gifts, and who gives them to us, we might find more than we would ever have put on a wish list. We just might then have every reason for great expectations.
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts how much more will your father in heaven give to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11