(Readers: This is one of my favorite “holiday” articles, previously published in the Chico Enterprise-Record in February 2012).
This begs a question. What day is the opposite of National Compliment Day? You know, the day when one receives a swift kick to the rear end? For guys that day is probably Feb. 15..
We’ve hardly passed Christmas and now guys need to be creative, again, but this time for Valentine’s Day. I enjoy shopping for sporting goods or tools, but for anything else, yuck.
I’m married, almost 19 years, with two daughters. One would think I’d have Valentine’s Day pegged. Our home is full of estrogen. Even the mutts are females. We have two tomcats but they’re neutered. Sometimes their eyes catch mine and the communication barrier transcends species. They stare at me as if to say, “Watch out pal, stay outta trouble. See what happened to us.”
The kids are into sports so they’re a breeze to shop for. I stay away from clothes though. How many guys know the difference between a blouse, a top, or T-shirt? Comrades, here’s a lesson.
A blouse has buttons. A top has no buttons but can also be referred to as a T-shirt. A T-shirt is just that, but also serves to cover the body’s “top.” My oldest daughter Kate explained, “Think of geometric shapes. All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. Understand?” Yep, clear as mud. Kate gets a T-shirt.
But Hun, my wife…she’s in a different category. I’m fairly creative and thought I had a great gift one Easter. I bought a basket, fake grass, jelly beans, and theme oriented trinkets. One that caught my eye was a gigantic egg. It was actually a container for Leggs pantyhose. I remembered seeing the ads on TV and thought it would be cool to get her a huge Easter egg. And the big surprise inside is panyhose. I admired my originality. Self-admiration, I learned later, can be dangerous.
Hun graciously accepted the Easter basket and life was good…until about the Fourth of July. I bumbled into trouble and she asked, “What on earth were you thinking giving me a Leggs egg for Easter? For one, I hate black pantyhose and two, didn’t you check the size? What kind of idiot are you?”
I stood shocked. First, the incident occurred three months prior and my brain had since disengaged. Second, she implied I was an idiot. OK, maybe I was. As for the category of idiot I had no idea. What an unfair question.
For past Valentine’s I’ve shopped for candy, flowers, organized dinner reservations, and even made honey-do coupons. Zero to Hero flower shopping excursions to the gas station didn’t go over well. I had better luck buying grocery store flowers, earning credit for actually parking and getting out of the car.
Maybe this Valentines I’ll get her a tractor. You see, Hun works with contractors and knows about heavy equipment. She’s quite versatile and cajoles with the best of them. “Hey, that tractor over there has a mower right? The John Deere I saw doesn’t, plus it’s missing a scraper. I need a five foot box.”
We recently test drove several tractors. It was a blast but I just can’t bring myself to empty our savings account to buy a John Deere. But then again I don’t want a Dear John letter either. Maybe I should just rent one. We can joy ride around town - a whole lot more fun than buying jewelry.
Ladies, this is your opportunity to provide a much needed community service. I’d appreciate your advice. Only five shopping days remain until Valentine’s. A prize will be given for the best idea. The winner gets a box of chocolate.
### Visit Eric’s blog at www.etcguy.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.