A Loco Viewpoint
Recently, my life partner, soul mate and designated zit squeezer, the inestimable Cupcake, celebrated a birthday. As good fortune would have it, it wasn’t a birthday that ended in a 5 or a 0, so jewelry wasn’t expected of me. Still, it was only one consideration out of a host of many that had to be examined closer than the Victoria’s Secret Spring Catalogue for fear of dropping the ball on this auspicious, albeit scary event. Why I would think Cupcake’s birthday is a scary proposition, is a fair question. The reality is, and you younger married fellas especially, should listen up, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines; these and other occasions are inevitably instances where we can either be a hero or a goat. This is important since, I don’t know about your missus, but mine wouldn’t dream of canoodling with a goat. Heros fare much better in the connubial goings-on department but is still not a slam dunk. Therefore, having worn both cape and horns over decades of hero/goat scenarios, I’d like to share what I have learned. If even one guy out there avoids banishment to the couch, then I will feel the effort worthwhile.
To begin with, let me first say that for me, part of the problem is that Cupcake has achieved the status of being “a woman of a certain age”. They call it that because the women at that age are certain they don’t want to divulge it. This means that under no circumstances can your sweetie’s birthday be forgotten, but it must be stated in no uncertain terms that the Birthday Girl’s age must never be mentioned. It’s sort of like celebrating New Years without throwing out your old calendar. Failure to do either of these imperatives will guarantee you wearing those aforementioned horns more assuredly than being a member of the Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo.
Another problem that a loving, caring, fearful husband faces when celebrating a temporal milestone with a woman reluctant to bid adieu to her receding youth, (is there another kind) is that the gift you select must be well thought out. She can spot an impulse gift purchase from Wally World a mile away. Additionally, I understand after thirty years of wedded bliss (and I have the “blisters” to prove it) Cupcake reacts badly as to practical gifts, such as a clothes iron, with the same glee I reserve for receiving power tools. These gifts mean, categorically, that work is expected of the gift recipient. What kind of lousy present is that?
I will say in the past, Cupcake has appreciated me giving her health and beauty aids. It’s no wonder since the Oil of Oo-La-La people charge an arm and a leg for goop for your face, which is a real bummer. As much as Cupcake enjoys these sorts of gifts, I am hesitant to buy the. I always feel I am getting soaked by these moisturizer companies. I even question whether Cupcake even needs more moisture in her system. I mean, she is so replete with moisture, it even oozes out in her daily dash from the car to the bathroom when she gets home from work.
Floral arrangements, too are generally welcomed by Cupcake at gifting occasions but I have an issue with this sort of tribute, as well. I take issue with presents that only last a few days and have to be tossed out. I may as well get her a dollar store dart gun which lasts about as long. In fact, wilted flowers attack my frugal sensibilities so much, I want to pack them up and take the drooping foliage back to the florist for warranty replacement.
It isn’t just the gift selection process that creates issues around Her Cupcakeness’ birthday extravangaza. There is also the matter of the special birthday meal. Cupcake goes out of her way to make sure the boys and I get to have whatever we wish on our birthdays. However, when we try and nail down what she would like on her special day and her answer is invariably something like, “Oh, don’t worry about me. Whatever you want to make is fine. Dry bread and water, or maybe a bit of gruel. Really, don’t go to any trouble.” This is because most mothers are, at their heart somewhat martyr-ish. It is a by-product of the pain of childbirth, I suspect. (“I spent 187 hours in labour with my little Bobby but it was all worth it,” even if Bobby turns out to be an axe murderer.)
Despite protestations to the contrary, I know now that the gruel thing is a lie. What she really wants me to make for her birthday supper are reservations at a restaurant with real servers and menus that aren’t displayed behind acne-beset cashiers which feature “kids meals”. The wise hubby, however, spares no expense. Few restaurants charge as much as divorce lawyers.
The cake is another integral piece of the birthday pie that must be digested somewhat before making an unwise move. The first rule, when dealing with ladies of a somewhat advanced vintage, is to forget the whole candle thing entirely, including hackneyed jokes about fire department policy. Even doing the “one candle to symbolize them all” gambit is fraught with peril. Some women approaching biddie-hood see the solitary candle as a subtle reminder they are too old to have the correct amount of candles safely on a baked good. Take it from an old pro; dispense with the cake at home in favour of purchasing “one of each” from the dessert menu at that fancy restaurant you were smart enough to take her to. Sure it will cost you a days’ pay but again, it is a small price, compared to getting fitted for the goat horns. Plus, there’s even a remote chance she will let you taste one of the non-chocolate based concoctions.
So, for all you fellas out there facing a sweetheart’s birthday, take heed and, ahem, goat luck!
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