Twas the day before the day before Christmas. In my world I think of it as the “day before the day I start shopping for Christmas". Moreover, there is nothing more disconcerting than shopping for presents for the wife, especially on the last shopping day.
Shopping for my wife used to be easy. I would put off my shopping until Christmas Eve, get up, eat breakfast, maybe slink around the house until about one, then sashay into a jewelry shop, and make my purchase. I didn't spend a lot of money, it was the thought that counted. I was buying what I could afford, $20 earrings in the early days. Later in our marriage, I bought her some stuff that could really cut glass. The purpose of going to the jewelry store was for personal publicity. I was a man, I was in a jewelry store, and I was buying jewelry. I got extra points if someone I knew would see me buying jewelry. What they saw was a loving husband buying his wife JEWELRY! Women wished they were going home with me, men were envious, little girls hoped they'd meet someone like me some day, little boys didn't care.
Reality is that I suck at buying gifts for my wife. Early on in my marriage I bought my wife a gift just for being her. No special occasion, no birthday, it wasn't the anniversary of the day we met, nothing like that. But I saw this item and just knew she had to have it! Seems like a food processor doesn't have the same appeal as cheap earrings. Now in my defense I really thought that she would love it. I was making her life easier! The other day I needed a new beard trimmer and she suggested that I wait until after Christmas because she might get it for me. I reminded her that personal grooming products and kitchen equipment weren't gifts but necessities. And then I realized where I went wrong with the food processor. We, or should I say I, only used the food processor a few times. The only time she touched it was when she moved it to the garage. I re-gifted it in 2004 about 16 years later. Okay, I gave it to my mother who was thrilled at how thoughtful I was. Mothers of course are thrilled that we can put sentences together.
Going shopping under the best of circumstances is tough. Going during the Christmas rush is just madness. 99% of the time when men are going to the store it's only for themselves. Even when we lovingly offer to go to the grocery store late at night for our sweethearts, it's only because we've been thinking about going and getting some chips or ice cream for ourselves. By offering to go we get style points. When she is pregnant and wants Mexican TV dinners at nine in the evening we go, but we find it an excuse to get more dip.
Nowadays I start early on my shopping. About a week before Christmas I start dropping hints to her that maybe I wasn't listening when she mentioned that she wanted so and so. I bring out my little black book and call her girlfriends, our children, Dr. Laura, and light a candle at Lourdes in the hopes that God will bring all things to my recollection. Once I've squeezed every piece of information out of my sources, the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars I make my final move. I confess to her that I have not remembered a single suggestion she's made. I take my verbal lashings and with paper in hand, I go shopping.
Today, the day before the day before Christmas I went shopping. I would have gone on Christmas Eve but there was a threat of snow in the forecast, besides I happened to drive by a mall. I went into the "Women's Intimates" section of a well known store... all by myself. I knew her size, I knew what she wanted, I froze. I hung out in appliances for about an hour before I got the nerve to go in. As soon as I entered the "Intimates" department my sperm count dropped by about 5o%. The women's area is of course where female hormones come to reproduce and they feed off male testosterone. It is why they place this section on the side of the store opposite of the electronics section. You cannot place your hand on any rack without touching something that makes you feel like you're a sex maniac. Everywhere you move it is a girly world. Words are hard to form when someone offers assistance. I've had better conversations overdosing on Novocain. I was slapped twice by asking different women for assistance. The slapping stopped when I quit answering the question "What's her size?" with "She's not anywhere as big as you.
Women on the other hand shop for boys all of their life and let's face it guys, there is nothing at all sexy and steamy about the men's section. Boxers or briefs is the biggest decision that we ever make shopping. Our only criteria is to find the best underwear to hide the skid marks from the outside.
And she will be great on Christmas Day, she'll open up the presents that she told me to buy her. She'll put on an Oscar winning performance as she tears the wrapping (if I bothered to wrap them) off of her gifts. She'll exclaim that I'm so thoughtful and so considerate, that I always know just what she wants.
And it will be our little secret. About how lame I am, how stupid I am, how lucky I am.