The Sage is impossible to please

In truth, I’m a lot easier to buy presents for than the Sage.  There are plenty of safe options if inspiration doesn’t strike – I’m quite feminine enough to like jewellery, perfume and really nice toiletries, I always wear attractive underwear and the size is easy enough to check, I’d be quite open to being taken shopping for shoes and clothes and anyone who has known me for over forty years should know that I love books, music and films and might be able to guess what I’d like. I also love tools and don’t think it’s at all peculiar to be given them, and I love pens and stationery in general.  So it shows a distinct lack of imagination that the Sage has, more often than not, been completely clueless about a possible present and has, several times, effectively given me nothing at all.

Mind you, he’s just at bad at receiving presents.  It is not unusual for him not to bother to open them at all, if he thinks he knows what they are, or just to tear the paper enough to look.  Several weeks later, there will still be a small stack by his chair until I lay the law down and make him move them.  And I think there are few things more boring than a wife who is houseproud and nags a husband about his stuff, which he has every right to leave just where he wants because it’s his house too.  I don’t want to be pushed into it, but honestly his stuff stays where he dumps it until the cobwebs grow dusty, he’d literally never bother to put it away.  I’ve tried leaving things and always am the first to crack, though sometimes it’s taken a couple of years.

But even if a lot of thought has been given into a present, it’ll probably not be appreciated.  For example, a couple of years ago I thought I’d had a brainwave.  We had a very dear friend, Norman, who was a professional musician, a pianist.  He played regularly in the restaurant at the Ritz, in nightclubs and variety shows, in orchestras in the theatre and on television, that sort of thing.  And once he was on the Morecambe and Wise Show.  He played for them regularly, but didn’t appear on stage except that once, when he was mentioned on the credits.  And I was thinking of him (he died several years ago) and looked him up on IMDB and found the episode, tracked it down on Amazon and bought the series for the Sage.  It took quite a bit of time to do.  I’d already got the Sage’s present, a peculiarly unattractive antique mug that he wanted, so gave it to Ro to give his father.

It seemed to tick all the boxes.  The only visual record of one of the Sage’s oldest and most-loved friends, the Sage loves nostalgia and, though he’s not that interested in television, even he enjoyed Morecambe and Wise and might reasonably be expected to watch the whole DVD, not just the bit with Norman in it.  I thought it was a brilliant idea.

But. He’s never bothered to watch it.  I reminded him after a few weeks and again after a few months, when I asked if he maybe didn’t care to watch a video of someone who had died, which he said wasn’t the case.  I watched it myself in the end and it was lovely to see darling Norman again.  But the Sage has never seen it.  So, pfft.  I won’t be imaginative again.

It’s only fair to redress the balance a bit and I’ll write about some of the excellent presents he’s given me.    But it’s proved to be safer by far to lower my expectations way down.  I don’t care for disappointment.

10 comments on “The Sage is impossible to please

  1. Anonymous

    Mom’s husband is the same way but gets miffed if people don’t act overly effusive when he gives them shoddy gifts from the dollar store. We no longer exchange gifts…

  2. Mike and Ann

    We tend to buy presents when the right thing is there in front of us, and say “Would you like that for your birthday/Christmas/wedding anniversary/whatever?” Then give the present immediately, whether we’re near or far from the occasion. This means we are both usually well in advance (or occasionally in arrear) of whatever the occasion is. I think I’ve bought Ann two (or three) Christmas presents already (and she’s in the same position). Not ideal perhaps, but it’s a system that seems to suit us.

  3. janerowena

    It’s such a minefield. I tend to take my dearly beloved to a shop I like, leave him there, tell him I love everything in there and go for a coffee while he chooses. This year no such opportunity has arisen, we have been too busy, and I tripped over something in his study clearly intended for me last week that I really don’t want… It’s tough. So I did what any sensible person would do and went online and bought myself a new pair of boots. I can now face the horrible present with style and grace. I think.

  4. mig

    Barney will mention things from time to time during the year that he’d like and if I’m feeling particularly intelligent, I’ll make a note, otherwise I wouldn’t have a clue. For instance,’the History of Perforations on the Penny Black’. It’s not exactly the sort of thing you’d stumble across in WH Smiths is it.

  5. Z

    The Sage is, and always has been, a bachelor at heart. If he wants something he will buy it. And, though he’s generous (he often insists on paying my credit card bill), he rarely buys me anything.

  6. martina

    I purchased a nearly new recliner from a friend in October. Mom loved it. Friend then said she had a duplicate recliner. I asked Mom if she wanted the duplicate for Christmas. A loud YES PLEASE. She was at my house two days later to pick it up! At least I know she liked her present, even though she got it two months early.


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