Friday, December 12, 2008

No One's Wish List

Only 12 more shopping days until Christmas! Now, is this when the 12 days of Christmas starts? How does that work? Does anyone know? I don't think that they do. You know what else people don't know? What exactly it is that they're shopping for during these last 12 shopping days. No one knows what to buy (that is reasonably priced, not illegal in 48 states and doesn't involve a plastic guitar controller). And if you're one of those folks who has no clue what to get anyone, especially the men in your life, whatever you do, make sure you do NOT turn to USA Today for advice. For God's sake, don't do that.

The folks over there at the national weekday news publication known to some (like me) as the McPaper, USA Today, has published a "Holiday gift guide: Great gear to get your guys". Just the fact that there are all of the G's in the title as they try to be cutesy, is not a good sign. Don't try and distract us with your G's there, USA Today! We're not falling for that again. (Not after that Great Grater debacle of 2003.) The article appears to be written by a woman, an Arienne Thompson, who appears to have received suggestions from Esquire's online editor Eric Gillin. Now you know who to blame.

First suggestion for the man on your list (the key word here being "man")? How about a cashmere scarf? For the man on my list? OK, first of all, there aren't a lot of men on my list (shocking, I know). I suppose I could count my brother as a "man" (it might be the first time), but that's really stretching it. Regardless, I don't know a lot of men who would be all that into the cashmere scarf gift. I also don't know a lot of men who would be into the cashmere gift or the scarf gift. There aren't a lot of guys who can pull off the scarf look. Prince. That's about it. If your man is the metrosexual type or even the heteroflexible type, then he might be the sort of "man" that would enjoy a cashmere scarf. If he doesn't fit into one of those two categories (and he's still a he), perhaps you should consider passing on the scarf and see if it's possible to find something a touch more manly out there for him. I know, I know, it will be a chore. After all, nothing says MAN like cashmere.

The McPaper also suggest some high-end ear buds, like the Bose in-ear headphones. High-end ear buds are a nice gift, I'll give them that. And Bose makes terrific products. Me, personally, I'm going to have a hard time justifying spending $100 for earbuds. As a known tightwad when shopping for myself, my current earbuds sport a lovely lime green color, were $11.95 on sale and are a heck of a lot better than those cheap-ass ear buds that come with the damned iPod. But if you think your man's ears are worth $50 each, perhaps the ear bud suggestion is for you.

They also recommend some sort of a Wii controller. This makes the presumption that your man has a Wii. The one made by Nintendo! Not the other one! (Oh, what? I can't make one joke that references the Wii/penis genre?) And if he already has a Wii, they are also making the assumption that he plays with his Wii quite a bit (stop it!) and that he has lots of friends over to play with his Wii along with him. (Too....many.....jokes. Head....may.....explode.) If your man doesn't have a Wii, well, you probably don't have as many headaches. And if he does have a Wii, decide if it really needs some accessorizing before you go off and buy him more ways to control his Wii. He might think he can control his Wii just fine. (Most men do. Few actually can.)

This next suggestion perplexes me, but it might be for the chaps that fit in the cashmere scarf category. They tell us that, "You can't ensure that he'll use the shower gel, after-shave and body spray inside this grooming set, but the leather box it's packaged in is a definite bonus. He can use it to hold baseball cards or even cigars." That's quite the diverse range of things that they suggest the guy can do with the leather box. From baseball cards to cigars. Ladies, if you're dating a man who needs to keep his baseball cards in a leather box that used to hold (what would amount to) his Axe Body Spray, you need to find yourself a new man. Actually, you probably need to find yourself a man, as the baseball card in a box kind of guy may get you arrested in all 50 states and Canada.

I do find it somewhat amusing that they are basically suggesting that you buy him a leather box with some stuff inside that he will likely discard, thus indicating that there is no use for anything but the box! But I guess you can't just come right out and say that and have it sound like a serious suggestion, eh? "Just what he wants to find under the tree this Christmas! It's a brand new leather box!" What is he? A cat? Is he four? You could give him that big box the new refrigerator came in and he'll be occupied for days! Forget about the leather box, just go with the box-box!

And the suggestion that no one needed, but this time with a cheesy intro: Gloves!! "Winter gear never goes out of style, especially a pair of middle-of-the-road leather gloves that can be used to shovel snow or jazz up a casual coat. It's a really great solution that solves a lot of problems, so it's a thoughtful, practical gift." OK, whatever. You know, just the other day I heard a guy saying, "I really like this casual coat of mine, but I sure do wish I had something to, you know, jazz it up a bit." No. That never happened. And it never will happen. I'm unfamiliar with the "middle of the road" leather glove. Is that where you find them? Do you only get one at a time, like with stray socks? If so, this doesn't sound like the gift that keeps on giving. More like the gift that assures you'll never be asked to exchange gifts with that individual ever again.

And finally, but none too soon, while the middle of the road leather gloves may never go out of style, you may want to opt for a classic gift that keeps on giving such as a Swiss Army pocket knife. Now, when I think "Swiss Army knife" I think big, behemoth device that can barely fit in one's pockets. (Is that your knife in there or are you just happy to see me?) This little trinket sports a "small blade, key ring, scissors, nail file and screwdriver attached." Sounds to me that if you ever think you have an opportunity to use this puppy, you'll whip it out, realize in about five minutes that you're not MacGyver, and then use it to do your nails while you wait for the tow truck driver or the Search & Rescue teams to arrive. They also explain the color by stating , "The kicky color makeover also adds a little fun. "The idea of it coming in a number of different colors is a neat little wrinkle, especially if someone doesn't like red." If they don't like red? What the.....?? Ladies, if you give this knife to your "man" and he responds with, "Wow. I sure would have liked some body spray instead." OR if you give a regular Swiss Army knife to your "man" and he responds with, "I really wish this was some other color besides red.", here's what you need to do: You need to calmly take the knife out of his hands, open up the blade and stab him with it. OR, if that won't make your holiday pain subside, try stabbing yourself with it. You know, just as a reminder of what a peach of a man you chose yourself there! Perhaps, put on the leather gloves, a la OJ, first and then do the stabbing. Take care not to get any blood on that new cashmere scarf though. I hear trying to get blood out of cashmere is a real bitch.

So there you have it. If you happen to be on the receiving end of any of these lovely items this yuletide season, please let me know how well, if at all, you liked them. Ooh! And if you get some of that Axe Body Spray, I'd really like to know how many times you were accosted by strippers and centerfold models (because it shows that in all of the commercials, not just one, so it must be true!). I'd really like to know.

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