I remember watching my Dad on Christmas morning sitting in a big chair behind us kids, a pile of presents growing larger on the floor beside him. Whereas we’d be tearing the paper off our gifts the moment they touched our fingers, most years he wouldn’t even have opened any of his by the time all the presents were handed out.
I used to think this was a ploy to tease us by having unwrapped presents to look forward to once we’d finished unveiling all ours, but now I know the truth – he just knew what he really wanted for Christmas wasn’t inside any of those wrappings.
Like on our birthday and father’s day, women always over think the presents they buy us for Christmas with our beer money because men are, as I’m sure you’re aware, fairly simple creatures. In this household, a typical conversation in the lead up to Christmas will go something like this:
Tracey: “What do you want for Christmas?”
Tracey, after an exhausted sounding sigh and an unacceptably long pause: “Can I phone a friend?”
Look, we know you’re tired and the kids are giving you hell, but we simply want our pound of flesh, or however many pounds you weigh, and the good news is we don’t really care about the wrapping. In fact, unwrapped is probably best because bras just slow us down (even at forty-five, they still baffle the hell out of me – if I could invent a bra it would have a pull-string at the front, like a parachute).
The thing is you’ll spend a lot less time giving us this particular gift than driving to the shops and searching for something else. You might even enjoy it. We’re seriously doing you a favour here. Yes, it’s a bit cliche, but we’re seriously more interested in your presence than your presents.
Speaking of clichés: come Christmas morning, if you insist on us menfolk pulling something out of our stockings instead of yours, you can’t go wrong with socks and jocks, right?
Well, actually, you’d be more right than wrong.
You see, blokes generally have no desire to march into Best & Less or Target and buy the damn things ourselves. These sorts of shops are devoid of alcohol, gadgets or football memorabilia, so we plain don’t like them. Hell, most of us don’t even know what size undies we wear. We’d end up in the middle of the Bonds section, contorting our torsos and giving ourselves a wedgie, trying to read the faded label riding just above our butt crack.
By giving us socks and jocks you’re giving us more than just a few strips of fabric to house our tackle: it’s the female equivalent of an afternoon at a day spa. You’re giving us a frustration free Saturday afternoon unhindered by the drudgery of shopping which would have meant time away from the telly and our bar fridge. We get to relax. Thank you.
Second. Best. Present. Ever.
But socks and jocks are just the tip of the clothing iceberg. This is the thing about Christmas – women get the chance to buy their hunks of spunk the stuff they know the buggers need but can’t convince them to go shopping for.
Tracey always buys me a shirt for Christmas in the hope I will use it to replace one of the older ones in my wardrobe. Tracey and I were married back in October 2000 and I still have a couple of the shirts we bought from a vendor on the streets of Phuket. Okay, so they’re not shirts I wear out to functions anymore but they still, to Tracey’s horror, make an appearance every month or so.
Unlike a woman’s top, which sometimes can only be worn once or twice before being relegated to the Vinnies’ bin, a man’s shirt tends to go through a sort of recycling process.
After the shirt starts to fade it isn’t thrown out, it’s merely downgraded. For example, a faded shirt is still good for trips to the beach or going to the in-laws. Fraying might downgrade the shirt to the pajama pile, and if washing refuses to budge an odour, or a small rip appears, this means the shirt is just about perfect for yard work or fence painting.
Why do we continue to wear this tired, old shirt and steadfastly refuse to buy a new one?
Well, it’s our lucky shirt.
Why is it our lucky shirt?
Because after we wore it this one time you had sex with us, therefore it is already one sexual encounter luckier for us than any shirt you could possibly want us to purchase.
So ultimately we’re back where we started only now you’ve gone and spent our beer money on a shirt. My advice is, if you want to see us wearing this new shirt we pull out from under the tree more often than that hypercolour t-shirt we bought back in the early nineties, sleep with us after the very first time we put it on: sleep with us before we even get a chance to take it off.
In fact, do it regularly enough and by New Years we might even throw a few of our holier, less luckier shirts out.
But if the idea of a shirt doesn’t float your boat and you still insist on using our beer money to buy us something to unwrap on Christmas morning – assuming, of course, you aren’t keen on wrapping an actual carton of beer – go with something new and gadgetry because if it’s one thing us guys love it’s having the latest bit of ‘Wow!’ before our mates do.
But chances are the kids will have unwrapped their presents before we get to ours because we know the ‘Wow!’ we’re really after for Christmas doesn’t require wrapping.
Bruce started his blog because friends and family kept wanting to know how he managed to feed and clothe such a large family while still having fun and being able to afford holidays and beer. He had no idea, but thought if he started writing things down some sort of pattern might emerge. When not at work Bruce enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies. He’s recently taken up the cycling challenge with a view to surviving long enough to see all his kids out the door so he can finally sleep in.