How are you about receiving gifts from your guy?

by Dating Goddess on April 29, 2007

HornblowerIt’s my birthday! Since my sweetie’s work week ends at noon today he’s flying in this afternoon to take me on a dinner/dance cruise and spend his “weekend” with me. But you already know how thoughtful he is. (See “The art of wooing is not dead.”)

The other day he told me he’d been shopping for my birthday gift. I’d forgotten to tell him that his presence was my present as he was already spending a lot on air fare. But he wanted to give me something I could hold — besides him!

The other reason I wanted to dissuade him from gift giving — but it was too late — is I’m hard to buy for. Dates and beaus have given me “safe” gifts of flowers, books, stuffed animals, etc. I appreciated their thoughtfulness even if I wasn’t always thrilled with the gift itself. But I still liked how generous the guy was to not only think of giving me a gift, but to follow through.

Gift giving was usually traumatic in my childhood and marriage, so I still have some baggage around it. While I try to be Zen about it now and appreciate whatever I get — or nothing — it can still be a sore spot. In the past, I felt invisible babydollwhen my family gave me gifts that had nothing to do with me. Several Christmases I locked myself in the bathroom crying after gift opening when I looked at my gifts and there was nearly nothing that I had requested or wanted. I rarely played with baby dolls, but my mother gave me one each birthday and Christmas until I was 14! She loved them — I didn’t. My older brother bought me albums he wanted, my older sister would buy clothing that she could borrow.

My ex was no better, although not as self-focused in his gift giving. His first gift was a tiny pendant he’d bought on a business trip a few months after we began dating. Now, I’m a tall woman, 5’10” and not waif like, but not zaftig. I wear large earrings and necklaces to match my frame. This pendant would be like an ant on me — completely unnoticeable. I thanked him and put it in my jewelry box to remind me of his thinking of me, but I never wore it.

steamer trunkSo you see, I enter this gift-receiving arena with trepidation — and steamer-trunk sized baggage.

Of course, I don’t think I’m hard to buy for! (Do we ever see that in ourselves?) Only after my ex and I had many discussions about it did I come to see that my taste was challenging for him. My point of view was, “It would be easy if he just opened his eyes and looked and listened!” Hints were all around him. I am a football fan. Did he ever buy us tickets to a game? No, he bought me a life-sized cardboard cutout of my team’s quarterback. I collect colored depression glass. Might he have gone to an antique store or eBay and rounded out my collection? I frequently play my favorite recording artists. Did I ever get one of their latest CDs? You know the answer to these questions.

And if he’d just opened his eyes, he would have noticed I wear larger jewelry, not ant-sized pendants. I’m sure whatever my sweetie gives me today will be based on his observations of things I like and that I will like it.

So my question to you is, how are you when a beau gives you a gift for a significant occasion? Even if you graciously receive it in the moment, if it isn’t on target, do you let him know? And what do you do then — stuff it in the closet, take it back, or re-gift it? If he’s around your place much, he’ll notice it isn’t prominently displayed, used or worn. Then what?

And if this mis-gifting happens repeatedly, do you do what I’ve done in the past and make it mean that he isn’t paying attention to you? Or do you just accept whatever is given as a token of his affection?

godiva(And, dear readers, Godiva is always appreciated, even as a belated birthday gift. I’ll gladly email my address to anyone who wants to send along a pound or two. <g>)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cupertino April 29, 2007 at 12:34 am

I guess because I’m a guy, I just don’t fret about “what it means” if I don’t receive special gifts. I know how my sweetie feels about me, and I think she’s as gift-giving-challenged as I am.

I’ve always tried to give gifts that the recipient would like, but I find it hard. My ex was a natural at this; I’m not. It’s easy to say, “Well, if only he’d observe or listen,” but it’s hard for me. Maybe I’m just not observant about such things. I also knew never to buy her jewelry, because she had very picky tastes. If I wanted to get her some, I’d have her pick it out.

Something I got into with one woman I was dating, at least around Christmas: She’d give me a list of things she knew she’d like, and I’d give her a list of things I knew I’d like. We didn’t know what we’d get, but we knew we’d like it. I suppose that takes away some of the mind-reading magic, but it made gift giving and receiving less stressful and more rewarding for both of us.

Bookyone April 29, 2007 at 3:04 am

Hi DG,

I’m with you. IMHO, one can never ever have too much chocolate. 🙂

Best wsihes from bookyone 🙂

NYSharon April 30, 2007 at 1:25 pm

I have always accepted graciously at the time of gift giving, since the person who bought it made an effort. Then later I might say, “you know I really loved it but I am not so sure it is right for me. I wouldn’t want you to have spent money on something that may not be so useful to me, would you mind if I exchanged it? Would like to come along and help me pick out something else?” I also have befriended the sales staff at the local jewelry store/favorite clothing store and would make stops there to try things on and point out what I would like. My ex would go there and they would steer him in my direction. My ex was wonderful at the gift thing but it took years of training. His new girlfriend is probably appreciative of that.

Tolken May 3, 2007 at 10:05 pm

From a guys point of view, you know we aren’t as emotional about gifts I guess, it could be useless or even useful we still may never use it or wear it.

We are a fairly basic beast…

portrait painting gifts May 16, 2007 at 3:17 am

Good question. But I’d like to share a secret which I’ve noticed when I was still staying in a ladies dormitory. I have a roommate who is – hope she won’t read this – a certified gold digger. She won’t go out with her boyfriend unless the guy gives him some gift. For ordinary dates, the boyfriend is required to give him some roses. And mind you, each gift should be something different from what were given before. Wow!

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