No Surprises May Mean Better Surprises

I’m in one of those moods today where I want to experiment with something different. So what I think I’ll do is go so far outside of the box that I’m actually in a whole different box and write about something that annoys the ever loving crap out of me. Yes, that’s the perfect idea, and I bet none of you would have ever expected it.

Right now, my anger is directed at Christmas shopping. Ok, not exactly Christmas shopping itself, but more the way that some people handle Christmas shopping.

How many of you have ever had a conversation like this:

Not You: “So, what do you want for Christmas this year?”

You: “I’m really not sure. I don’t need anything. I’d be fine with some money or a gift certificate for someplace I like.”

Not You: “Oh come on, that’s no fun. That kind of stuff is such a cop-out. Seriously, what do you want?”

You: “I just told you what I wanted.”

Not You: “No, I mean what you really want.”

You: “Money or a gift card.”

Not You: “That’s not what you want.”

You: “Then what are you asking me for?”

Not You: Because I want to know what you want for Christmas.”

You: “I just told you twice!”

That Idiot Standing Across From You: “No you didn’t!”

And on and on it goes.

I don’t know how many ways to say this. If a man says give me money, it means give me money. I say man because it’s usually women who don’t believe us. Most guys will happily slip another guy $30 for a case of beer and call it a holiday season, but women don’t like to leave well enough alone.

Which brings me to the part where I try very hard not to flip my fucking lid.

I don’t mean to pick on the girls here because I have run across a homo or 2 in my day who likes to pull this shit, but I’ve had more of these conversations with women by a significant margin.

You: “So, what do you want for Christmas this year?”

Not You: “Oh, I don’t know, just surprise me.”

Surprise me would be great if we were allowed to go by the popular definition of the word, but that’s not how it works. Oh no. what surprise me actually means is I want you to know exactly what I want without me telling you, but I’ll settle for you being pretty close.

Here’s the truth. No matter what anybody says, they don’t want to be surprised. The next time somebody gives you the surprise me, arrange to have 7 truckloads of bull semen dumped into their swimming pool and see what happens. I can tell you with absolute certainty that they’ll be surprised,and I bet they won’t be happy. Well, maybe some of the deviants we’ve got reading this blog might, but generally speaking, not so much.

The other reason I hate surprise me is because I know who the surprise me people are. They’re the ones who bitch the longest and the loudest about what they got and what they didn’t get and how ugly it is and how so and so doesn’t know how to shop and how nobody knows them or understands them or appreciates them and muckity fuckity doo.

You know, none of this would be cause for a meltdown if you’d just answered the question helpfully.

I’m a guy, and as such I suck at shopping for people who aren’t me. And you know why I always know what I want? A. I’m inside my own head and can read my own mind, and B. My mind never tells me to surprise it. I get along pretty well with myself most of the time, and that’s a pretty big part of the reason why.

So the next time you have the what do you want chat with somebody, tell the person what you want. And if you’re on the other end, take the person at face value. Having a few ideas in mind is good for everybody. It’s good for the gifter because starting points make the malls easier to deal with and can even lead to some actual inspired surprises, and it’s good for the giftee because you’re more likely to avoid the shitty present that you’ll be standing in line to return or finding space for under the bed or in a closet sooner than you can say gee, you shouldn’t have.

I hope we all understand each other a little bit better now. My money’s on no, but at least I tried.

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