The Guy Code of Conduct Chapter 3: Present Buying

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yeah, if you like mental and emotional torture. It’s that time of year when we as men are put to the test. The relationship test. Well, it’s not THE relationship test. There are countless relationship tests day in and day out that test our mettle as a husband, fiance or boyfriend. Buying presents for special occasions is one of those tests. Whether you celebrate Hannukah or Christmas, put on your thinking caps boys because it’s time to sharpen your perceptive accumen. Make no mistake though, it’s not me assuming that men have perceptive accumen, it’s the women, and therein lies the problem. 

Did anyone see or read The Davinci Code or any of the sequels to it? Professor Robert Langdon kept finding himself in life threatening situations in which he has to solve a mystery using obscure clues found in ancient artifacts and works of art that were usually hidden all over some city. Sounds like Christmas shopping doesn’t it? Langdon had it easy though. He was only up against a murderous cult or psychotic nutcase. And if he was successful in saving the day he usually got a little nookie at the end. Still sounds like Christmas shopping to me. 

Now back to that perceptive accumen. Let’s hop in Peabody’s Wayback Machine, destination 1989. Our hero Phil had a fiance. And a mullet.Typically those last two things are mutually exclusive. One day Phil, his fiance and his mullet were strolling merrily through a store in a mall when the fiance saw a shower massage and said, “Oh, I’d like one of those.” Fast forward a month when said fiance opens her Christmas gift to find the aforementioned shower massage. And it was a damn nice shower massage too. If  it was a Davinci Code novel, however,  Langdon’s family would be dead and he was getting no nookie. Not even in the shower. I kept the fiance, lost the mullet and stll hear that shower massage mentioned every year as an example of the worst gift buying ever. 

My point is, sometimes the subtle hints women drop regarding what they want are often lost on men. It’s not that we’re stupid, it’s that our brains work differently. Men are hard wired for action and reaction. We are hunters while women are gatherers. I’ve seen the pet pyschic have better luck interpreting a single woof from a one eyed, three legged basset hound with the pulse of a ficus tree. “What’s that Lucky? Your owner doesn’t hug you enough? You miss your siblings who were left behind at the pound? Wait, I hear a voice coming through from beyond. I think it’s your grandmother. She says ‘woof, woof’, does that mean something to you? Wait, I’m translating, she says she didn’t want a shower massage for Christmas. She wanted a rawhide chew.” That’s right, it’s a pet pychic who channels the spirits of dead animals. And he’s still more accurate at that than most men are at deciphering the byzantine, labrynthine maze of clues women leave to test us.

Getting the wrong gift ruins Christmas for everyone. If a woman isn’t happy with her gift, we can tell and we feel like a jerk. Nobody wins. Often a Christmas gone wrong might go like this:

Woman: (sigh) “oh, a sweater. Thanks.”

Guy: “What? What’s wrong? That time when we were in the store you said you liked that sweater.You didn’t mention anything else.” 

Woman: “Yes I did. Several times. Remember when we went out to dinner and I said I liked the dessert? Well they make the dessert with the Cuisinart 6000 Deluxe Mixmaster Turbo. And I wanted it in taupe to match my kitchen. And one of those Jane Seymour necklaces.” 

Guy: “What the hell is taupe? And those stupid Jane Seymour necklaces don’t look anything like hearts. They look like swans.”

Guys, don’t stress yourself over gathering clues. Our brains aren’t made they way. We’re hunters. Ladies, if you want something just say it and we will go hunt it down. Yeah, I know, not a great final punchline, but c’mon, I worked in shower massages, pet psychics and Jane Seymour here, that’s gotta be enough. 

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