G’s birthday is coming up. He’s one of those gents who is impossible to buy for. In the 7 years we’ve been coupled, I have struck gift-giving gold only twice. The first time was such low-hanging fruit that I knew I couldn’t go wrong. We were taking our belated honeymoon, which was a lavish Mediterranean cruise (ahh, the people we were before children!). While it was a trip to mark our union, it was also serving double-duty as G’s birthday would happen while we were crossing over from Italy into Greece. I bought him Docksiders and sunglasses. And like a little child, thrilled with his new things, he wore them both every day.
And then this past Christmas, I decided I needed to buy him a new wife.
No. Not actually a new wife. That would be a gift to me! I jest.
But I did want to buy him something like a new wife, one that didn’t have babies to attend to and housework to do. I wanted to buy him something that would keep him entertained at night while I put babies to sleep and, like I’m known to do, fall asleep beside them only to wake up fully clothed and unwashed well after G joined us for the night. So I bit the bullet on my Amex card and bought him a Nook, one of those fancy electronic book tablets. They should replace Game Boys and PSPs with these things – boys are inclined to use them because they seem like a game yet they’re actually reading! I plan to pick up 10 knockoffs of these suckers at a Tijuana market just as soon as I can.
This year, I thought I’d take action early. I’d notify a babysitter weeks in advance and book a reservation at a nice restaurant in NYC. We’d have an actual date night, like two adults we used to know. This is the conversation I had with him over the plans I’d made:
Me: You never responded to my email about the dinner reservation I made for your birthday.
G: Oh yeah, I got busy. What is it again?
Me: I booked a reservation at a great restaurant in the City for us.
G: Ehh, I’m not really sure what that day is going to bring yet. Maybe I’ll take the day off and we’ll do something. I don’t want to be tied down by a reservation this far out.
Me: Your birthday is on a Saturday (Editor’s Note: Why don’t men ever know when their birthday falls in the week? I look this up every time I buy a new planner.)
G: Even more reason then. I’m not sure I want to haul into the City on a weekend when I commute in all week.
Me: I’m not asking you to go to work. It’s to eat a meal with your wife!
G: Why don’t we just eat locally at Charlie Brown’s and take the extra time we would have spent driving to and from the city to do something else? (Editor’s Note: Charlie Brown’s is my dining nightmare. It’s a buffet-style dinner place that serves a lot of meaty fare that you can chase with a wilted salad you assemble with tongs that have surely been dropped on the floor. A lot.)
E: I’d rather just scrape my dinner off the highchair, like I do every night. This place is a good restaurant in the city. It’s a sexy kind of place with ambiance.
G: Ambiance to you means really expensive for me.
E: I’m paying for it.
G: [Eyes me suspiciously] You’re paying? And how’s that?
E: Me, Amex. What’s the difference? You’re NOT paying.
G: What’s the name of this place?
E: It’s called Yerba Buena. It’s a Mexican place.
G: This is sounding more like your birthday dinner. (Editor’s note: I would choose this place for my birthday dinner, too, but why does that matter!?)
E: No! It’s for you! They make guacamole table-side! You love that! And they have exotic things like watermelon french fries!
G: [Rubbing temples.]
E: On second thought, I’m wrapping up your Nook and you can just open it again. Like it was new.
G: How about you tell me you bought me Yankees tickets and then NOT give them to me again?
E: Yes, maybe I will. That sounds like a great idea.
(Ugh, birthdays. Is your husband impossible to buy for? Give me some home run gifts you’ve thought of.)