Saturday, November 10, 2007

And It Begins

I haven't had a boyfriend for a long time, and because of this it's been a while since I practiced the nuanced and fine art of gift-giving-for-boys. My father and brother barely count. My brother is easily placated by gifts that involve booze or cash, and my father kicks off each gift-giving season by presenting his children with a two or three item list from which to choose, and we do, and he has the good humor to shine on some surprise when he peels back the paper to find exactly what he asked for. Those two don't require any sleuth, and this year I think I need some sleuth.

I'm out of shape in this matter. The last time I did a big Christmas gift-buying extravaganza for a boy was the last Christmas I was with Keith, which is five years ago now. During the years directly after Keith and I parted ways, I was in grad school and batting my eyes every which way at the Wily Republican, and I never bought the WR a single, single thing for Christmas or even his birthday. I was smart enough to know that to go out and spend money would be fruitless. I wouldn't be getting anything from him, and he was probably just going to end up making me extra sad around the holidays by either spending a giant chunk of change on something sparkly for that girl he swore he was going to end up with if only he could convince her that she loved him or by calling me up on the day I decorated my Christmas tree to announce that it was quite possible that that same girl was pregnant, which would then cause me to sit for hours on the couch with a pint of ice cream and a bottle of vodka. At least I knew enough to keep myself from spending money on a boy who was making me that crazy.

So it's been years. Years.

When Keith and I were together back in the day, Christmas was really, really something--mainly because Keith is a gift-giving pro. The first year he showered me with clothes, with rings, with necklaces, with kitchen appliances, with perfume, with every girly thing you could ever wish for.

I tried my best, too. I bought him an eclectic mix of stuff that included a quesadilla maker and several joke gifts: a low-budget and foul-sounding porn DVD and red-white-and-blue striped novelty condoms that billed themselves as for only the most passionate of patriots. Besides those and other small items, I went all out on clothes. I bought boxers and socks and t-shirts and sweaters and hoodies. When I was finished with him, Keith was the poster boy for the 1999 Old Navy men's collection.

I feel like I might be on the verge of doing something similar this year, but maybe with a more sophisticated twist. And I don't think my boyfriend is too thrilled about my plans.

If I had it my way, the BFW would be whipped into the poster boy for J. Crew:

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This would be quite the change for the BFW, who wrinkles his nose every time I say the word argyle. If he had it his way, he would live in a world where hoodies and this hat were considered haute couture.

But, oh, how I want it, want it, want it. And it's not just him I want it for either. It's me. I want to make myself over into a poster girl for J. Crew. I want to wear tweeds and kicky little shrugs and wide-legged pants. I want to be so preppy it hurts.

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I want us to be some sort of houndstooth-clad power couple. This, I'm sure, makes the BFW very, very nervous, and I'm sensitive to that hesitance and fear. Still, some switch in me has been thrown since moving to Maine. There's just something about the state that necessitates these types of clothes, even though the general level of fashion here is definitely what I'd classify as "lacking." I've even seen fanny-packs. On teachers.

But there are certain warm spots where the streets are populated with fresh-faced, tousled-haired preppy people who glide around thinking about the next time they'll get to load up the kayak and cut through the cool bay water. I want those people's clothes, and I also want those people's kayaks. It's clear that I've got some work to do before I transform into a full-fledged Mainer.

But the question remains: what exactly am I going to throw down for Christmas this year, and how irritated will my boyfriend get at my attempts? Will he ultimately melt and let me have my way, or am I going to have to deal with a winter of flaps and fur?


Joe said...

As a dude, I can say that clothes really don't "stoke the ol' home fires."

At least for me.

If he is coming to Maine to visit you between January and April, you should plan a little ski getaway to Sunday River or Sugarloaf. If you wanted to go big, Tremblant up in Quebec (it's a pretty damn quaint place... you might like it, too.)

But then again, I love to snowboard. Maybe he doesn't.

You could do a Boston weekend. Splurge, stay at Copley, see some music.

Diane said...

haha, I love this post. As an experienced gift giver for a very particular man, I can say one thing: no clothes! I tried so hard to turn my somewhat lazy slob into an abercrombie masterpiece, but ultimately failed and ended up giving much better gifts... an ipod, weed wacker, tool set, nice ass lunch box, made a fool of myself many times in those foofoo outfits, and of course coffee-coffee-coffee, so much freakin' coffee I could open my own shop. He'll tell you what he wants, unknowingly, just pay attention!! Good luck!! Can't wait for the follow through on this one.