Thursday, December 23, 2010
She Will Love It
Everyone who knows Göran knows that he is the hardest person in the world to buy presents for. Every year, for the last four Christmases, Glen has come to me with desperation in his voice. "What do I get for Göran?" he sighs.
I reply, "I don't know, kiddo. You're on your own. Be creative. Good luck! I know you can do it!" I give him a few Zen-like clues, and then I send him on his way.
This year, our foreign exchange student went Christmas-gift shopping with me. He looked at me with a quizzical expression, "What should I get for Göran? For you it's easy. But for him it's hard."
Tell me about it!
Nothing ordinary will do. A present for Göran has to be exotic, dazzling, and totally unique. And it has to speak to him in a certain way. He has very particular tastes. So searching for a Christmas present for him is something like a mythic quest. I usually end up devoting one entire shopping trip just to him. Once I've found his gift, I can then go on another shopping trip to get gifts for everyone else.
This year, as always, I started out with no idea where even to begin. I just sort of wandered around the mall, waiting till some form of inspiration hit. Finally I had an idea -- not an inspiration yet, just an idea. So I poked my head into one particularly promising little boutique and started looking around. A clerk came to my assistance, and I described something very particular. She pointed me to a certain display cabinet, and then I saw it. It was perfect!
It wasn't the totality of the gift. I knew that in order to make this gift right, my perfect find would have to be accompanied by a few other little items. That's where the inspiration came in. Presentation, artistry, and a little bit of sweat would make it the perfect gift. As I described my plans to the clerk, she sighed romantically. "Oh, she'll just love it," she sighed.
Whenever this happens, it always gives me pause. First of all, do I really come across as straight? I mean, really, she wouldn't just assume that I'm with a man? I guess not.
So then I have to decide, do I just let it slide, or do I educate? In this case, I was leaning toward "educate." So when she said, "She'll just love it," I matter-of-factly corrected her: "He'll love it."
"Oh!" she said, a bit nervously, "Him!" She pointed me toward some accessories that she thought were a bit more masculine -- in masculine colors. Knowing Göran, I promptly ignored her advice and headed straight toward the dazzling, shiny, exotically colorful accessories.
This particular Christmas gift, I realized, would require a special box. So earlier today, I went in search of and finally found an appropriate vessel. The person helping me said, "Oh, that's a beautiful gift item."
"Oh, that's not the gift," I explained, "That's to put the gift in." I described what I had gotten. "Oh, she will love it," the clerk smiled warmly.
I just smiled inwardly.