It’s one of those jokes that are funny because they’re true that many men are just as surprised about the gifts on Christmas as the kids. “Gifts” are so firmly in the “female” category that almost every girlfriend to a boyfriend for more than two weeks gets drafted into “shopping for gifts”. While my love is very much not a stereotypical cis het guy in many aspects, this is sadly none of them, and while I will fully admit that I’m whining from a position of privilege here, it still sucks.
We’re financially comfortable, so we don’t need to disguise necessary but expensive purchases like a new phone or new tires as “birthday gifts”. We’re also not in the habit of making expensive surprise gifts, as we’re both sensible people who think that buying something expensive for somebody without that person telling you what they actually like is nonsense. But still, occasionally I’d like to get a gift that shows the person thought about me and cares. Neither do I want to send him a link to a specific product and know exactly what I’ll get, where it was bought and how much it cost, nor do I want any more shower gel or scented candles. And it’s not like I don’t have hobbies.
To get to the heart of the story, I decided to give my struggling spouse some hints.
Me: Love, it’s your wife’s birthday soon, have you noticed how much she’s into Japanese cooking lately?
Him, laughing: Very subtle, very subtle.
Him, 5 minutes later: Do you know any Japanese restaurants where I could take you for your birthday?
Me, sighing: We already agreed on going to an Indian restaurant, do you remember? Also, I was more thinking about cooking boxes, tableware, tools. Obviously I was too subtle.
Him: Where do I get such things?
Me, slightly annoyed: You have a working internet connection and a credit card, figure it out!
About 30 minutes later, him, now definitely venturing into learned helplessness poor hapless husband territory: I really don’t know what to do!
Me, exasperated, pointing at kid #2 who was giggling next to him: ask your daughter, she can show you!
See what I did there? Yep, I passed the “taking care of gifts” bucket down the line to another female family member, teaching her that men are just too incompetent to do it themselves and women have to do that job, and I’m sorry. I swear I’ll never do it again. I’ll rather send him links for the rest of our days than teach my daughters to simply accept that bullshit.