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The Gifting Dilemma

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The Gifting DilemmaOne thing I have generally found quite often in my married and unmarried male friends – when they are wearing a particularly colourful, charming and becoming shirt or outfit, it is one that has been bought for them by a wife/girlfriend/mother/sister. The cobalt blue, or khaki green or vivid red garment may make them look really wonderful, but it is often not one they would have chosen for themselves. Men often tend to shop for the same colours that have served them well – browns, blues, greys and similar dull stuff. Of course, this is changing for the better in today’s fashion and designer influenced times. But on the whole, men who would normally wear dull brown checks and who are suddenly spotted in parrot green are being utter darlings. Dutiful and affectionate towards their female relatives, these men display an endearing trait of accommodating or adjusting behaviour, at least when it comes to gifts received from near ones. 

Which is a lot more than can be said of any ordinary woman. Advertising agencies and marketing men spend crores of rupees showing the expression of a woman whose husband has just bought her diamonds/washing machine/gold jewellery/a new detergent. This expression of delight, wonder, and gratification, must be making a lot of men happy. They must also be getting more determined to see it on their own wife’s face. 

The truth is – woman are quite capable of faking enthusiasm over a gift received from the men they love, out of kindness for the relative – be it husband, son, or brother. They would die rather than make the husband or son or brother feel bad or hurt, and so they exclaim in delight at the gift. But as time passes, they may show a strange reluctance to wear/use/display the said gift item. And if the man is sharp enough to notice, he may begin to suspect what was true all along – a woman most loves the things she buys for herself, where she exercises her own taste, discrimination, choice and autonomy. 

Just mentally cast your eye over your own wardrobe if you are a girl/woman. How many among the items of clothing and jewellery that lie unworn have been given to you by someone else? Once in a while, by some lucky chance, a beloved friend, or lover, gives you something you actually want to possess. Then this object becomes very dear, acquiring the status of an adored pet. If the saree your friend gave you is one such, then it runs the risk of being worn threadbare, because you love it so much, and because you love the special friend too. But this happy coincidence happens in only one out of ten gifts a woman receives. For the vast majority, she practices the usual deception. 

Before men rush to condemn this particular feminine trait, let them just consider: 

  • How much actual choice do women still have over many important decisions in their lives? In a society still struggling to emerge from patriarchal values, deciding what they want to buy, wear, have is sometimes the only real area of choice for women. All other decisions have to be discussed with father/husband. That is why they are so stubborn about their own choice. 
  • Women value the actual relationship with the person, and the person’s treatment of themselves much more than the things such a person gives. This is brought home to me time and time again in Tarot readings where a wife may actually even despise a car given by her husband, if he has been drunken/abusive/unfaithful, or broken her trust in any other form. In terms of value, women tend to place more value on the unseen rather than the seen, when compared to men. 
  • When you consider the amount of money and trouble that a gift to a loved one usually involves, isn’t it better that it should bring 100% satisfaction to the receiver of the gift? The best option when gifting to a woman is to take her to a shop, and ask her to choose her own gift within your budget. 

Watch out for Gifting Dilemma Part II – How men suffer from women’s gifts! 

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