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Presents | My Girlfriend Gives Horrible Gifts


My girlfriend does not understand me at all. At least according to her presents.

She has bought me a giant candle that you fill with water so I could float a smaller candle. Then there was the little sculpture of two love birds hugging. Even my grandmother would call it twee.

I asked for a tie once and she knitted one. It was one inch wide and there was no backing. I wore it once and it rolled up into a tube like a cigar cozy.

This year, she asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I have been trying to exercise and lose weight. I said I wanted a Suunto M4 heart rate monitor, which is easy to use and doesn’t look like it belongs in Chernobyl. I also said I’d like a FitBit Ultra, which is a step counter that you can use to monitor your activity 24 hours a day on their Web site.

She replied that they were expensive. Their $150 cost was what I paid for her fancy dress clogs, but that is beside the point. What she meant was that they were not pretty.

My girlfriend is addicted to catalogs and gets dozens delivered every week. She handed me catalogs for Eddie Bauer and LL Bean. Nothing says handsome sexy boyfriend like LL Bean. Fantastic.

Given my hunched, bloated physique and ghoulish pallor, buying clothes in person under the fluorescent lights of a Rustbelt strip mall is traumatic at best. Choosing a shirt out of a catalog filled with rugged mountain climbing firemen — with teeth like Chiclets – is humiliating.

I have bought her $100 skeins of yarn made with the hair of a Canadian yak. I gave her a couple of sweet digital cameras. There were some cashmere sweaters. And, I bought her several books about motherhood and China. Everything is thoughtful and sweet. She uses and enjoys her gifts on a regular basis.

My gifts not so much.

This time, I picked out a heavy green cable knit sweater with a fisherman’s collar. I am sure it won’t make me look fat and dumpy.

And every time I wear it, I’ll think of my girlfriend’s pretty green eyes!

Steven de Polo is 44 years old and lives in Grand Rapids, where he works in foundation relations at Grand Valley State University. Steven is divorced and has been in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, with whom he is raising an 9-year-old girl adopted from China and a 5-year-old girl from Haiti. His Jamaican-American stepdaughter works in New York City and plans to get her CPA license.Steven enjoys being a dad, especially the trips to the comic book store and getting barbecue spare ribs. He dislikes long division and the idea that his princesses may start dating before they reach the age of 40. He supports Kids Food Basket and is on the board of the Local First Educational Foundation.

2 Comments

  1. Annie

    December 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

    ha! If my boyfriend says that I give the worst gifts after he gets the auatographed picture of Irish Mickey Ward that I got him then he’s a goner!

    You men are hard to please!

  2. Jackie (WritRams)

    December 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

    This post made me laugh RIGHT OUT LOUD. We want pictures of you in the sweater while you workout.
    ;)