Gender Roles and Gift-Giving in the 80s

The 70s were a confusing time for kids. The culture was changing and like all culture changes, while there’s always the revolutionary group moving forward with new ideas and new challenges to entrenched thinking, there’s also the stalwart holdouts plodding forward and pretending their sky is indeed, not falling.

But the 80s…well, the 80s made the 70s look like Hilary Farr on Love it or List it would look if she had a three-hundred-thousand-dollar budget to spend on an 800 square-foot house (I’m saying the 80s were crazy and excessive). But, in ’79 my dad got re-married to a young lady eighteen years younger than him and if you think that wasn’t bound to cause problems no matter what the decade, you’d be very, very wrong.

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Paralysis by Analysis – Or, What In the World Do You Buy For Women These Days?

image Pleasing a woman is never easy, even in the best of circumstances. Pleasing her while she’s pregnant…why, that’s just a Pandora’s box that is perhaps best left unopened.

Perhaps my first memory of displeasing a woman, came back in the 80s. I don’t remember if it was my mother’s birthday, or actually Mother’s Day, but I found this really cool, under-the-counter can opener that I thought she’d love (remember: this is the 80s). With my little 10-year old money, I bought it and presented it to her on the now-forgotten holiday. Expecting her to be “wowed” by my selection, I was devastated when she started crying and even moreso when, after many months had gone by and she had not asked my dad to install it, I realized she didn’t like the gift.

That was an important lesson; one which, if you judge by the media and locker-room talk, many men would do well to learn.

The Lesson: A “good” gift is one part selection, and one-part timing.

For instance, had I given my mom the can opener at Christmas–at the same time she got a really pretty sweater or some jewelry–it probably would have gone over OK. However, having that being the “only gift” at the time, made what might normally be a good gift, instead something that reminded her that her young, active lifestyle of jogging and reading books like, “The Sugar Blues,” while partying and driving around on the weekends in her little blue Mustang, were over.

So it is with much trepidation that I approach May. In addition to Mother’s Day being in May, it is also the month of CareerMom’s birthday. In fact, there are only three days between the two this year (I know…yay me!). What does one get a pregnant woman whose self loathing is at an all time high? Sure, I could go the “spa” route, but really…a “pregnancy massage”? Really?

I could go with some nice clothes, which she’d only get to wear for a month or two before (hopefully) putting them into a storage bin for the last time.

Jewelry is always nice, but my bank account isn’t that lucrative right now.

What’s a man, and his two boys, to do?

I pose this question to my readers:

CareerMom asked that I give her money to purchase a new swimsuit for our beach trip at the end of the month. Ok, that’s doable, but…ho hum…BORING! Come on…she’s 6 months pregnant. She isn’t going to go buy a sexy bikini or even a moderately revealing two-piece (I know…it’s not for ME…).

I then thought about getting her a gift certificate for some clothes at a trendy-ish clothing store for women, like Chico’s or Boston Proper. But that would be for after the baby comes and after she’s lost some of the baby weight, which…I know, is a goal of hers.

But this idea is fraught with perils. My thought is that this would be a personal incentive for her to lose the weight so that she could get some fun new clothes. I know she’s going to lose it anyway, so is it really so bad? But, what if she gets offended that I “want” her to lose weight?

Is this a good idea, or is this a Pandora’s Box that I would be well-advised to just put back in the hole and cover up with some dirt?