The perfect gift for your wife

The holiday gift-buying season has arrived, which means that, across this great country of ours, malls are filled with men who are wailing and gnashing their teeth.

Why? Because the only thing that most guys hate more than shopping is shopping for somebody else.

When it comes to gifts, most men are morons. No matter how well we know the recipients, we aren't sure what they'll like. We don't know if they have the item already. We don't know sizes. We don't know how stores are arranged or how to ask for assistance or how much to spend.

(Yes, these are generalizations. I'm sure there are men who enjoy shopping. I'm sure there are men who love nothing more than to select gifts for their loved ones. I don't know any of these men. And I'd better not meet any, if they know what's good for them.)

At our house, my wife does nearly all the gift shopping. She loves to shop, particularly on-line, and she always knows exactly what will make people happy. When it comes to the household division of labor, we believe in playing to our strengths: My wife is in charge of gifts and paying bills; I do laundry and scrub stuff. She doesn't wreck her manicure scouring grout, and I don't buy gifts that make people burst into tears.

However, like most men in this enviable situation, I must buy at least one gift -- my wife's. This is dangerous ground, as so many men know. The gifts we buy our spouses are the most important ones, with the biggest potential for future residence in the doghouse.

Based on my 20-plus years of experience, I offer you men out there these helpful hints:

--Listen. Your wife will tip you off, sometime in these last weeks before Christmas, about what she really wants. There'll be a passing reference to some product, a corner turned down on a catalog page, a gush over something another woman owns. As soon as you register this desire, race into another room and write it down. Otherwise, you'll later find yourself in the mall, wandering aimlessly because you can't remember what she said.

--Do some research. If you're buying, say, perfume, go look at her perfume collection and see which one is her favorite. It's the one that's emptiest, stupid.

--Forget gift certificates. They're gifts that say, "I haven't got a clue."

--Avoid clothing. If you get the wrong size, you're an idiot. If you get her something that’s too small, she'll feel fat. If you get something that's way too big, she'll think YOU think she's fat. If you must buy clothing, then go for one-size-fits-all. A scarf. Maybe some socks.

--Jewelry is always good. But only "real" jewelry. Buy the cheap stuff, and you'll never hear the end of it.

--Small appliances hold no romance. You should never buy your sweetie a vacuum cleaner unless she specifically requests it. Even then, you'd better sweeten the deal with chocolate or some other gift (see Jewelry).

--Pay an outrageous amount to have the gift professionally wrapped. Just as most men are missing the shopping gene, we also are genetically incapable of wrapping a present properly. Most gifts I wrap look like they were done by a drunken chimp. A nice shiny package with trim corners and a proper bow says, "I care enough to stand in the gift-wrap line."

Remember, men: All your wife wants for Christmas is the perfect gift, one that shows exquisite taste and a deep, loving knowledge of her innermost desires. It should be a perfect fit, perfectly wrapped, and a big surprise.

Happy holidays!


Mr. Jinks said...

Hey, watch it? Drunken chimps make up half your audience....


Sorry, Jinks. The sad part is that sober chimps make up the other half . . .