Valentine’s Day UNregistry: what NOT to get your woman on V’day


VD is the one day I shove the feminist in me and openly declare that I need pampering. And gifts are a big part of it. We can all wax eloquent about the joy of gift-giving but we know it’s bupkis when compared to the joy of unwrapping one. Finding a good gift for a woman is easier than finding a graphic scene in an Irving Wallace novel. As much as Men’s health magazine would have you believe, you need not delve deep into our core beliefs to get us one—A pretty, well-fitting dress that none of my friends have. A shiny-but-not-too-tawdry pair of earrings. A relaxing day at the spa followed by a home-cooked meal. Simple joys of life are all what we crave for.

Yet, men over-think it every year. Fights ensue. Insecurities are disengaged from their deep seats. Year-old issues are roused from the dead, ultimately leading to questions of the “where is the relationship going?” nature. In short, no action. Just angry reactions.

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Subtlety is overrated

I know that men are inundated with choice which could paradoxically limit their ability to choose. By flagging some of the options as verboten, I hope to ease the situation:

1. Gift cards

This includes all food coupons, department store cards (Victoria’s secret too), Amazon and iTunes cards. We get it. They’re utility-based gifts, but that’s something you give a long-distance friend when you forget his birthday, not someone you’re having dinner with that night.

2. Teddy bears/ figurines/statuettes of any kind

As much as we need to support our knees when we see one, we don’t want you to give us cuddly things. It just makes us look vulnerable. And we want to be pampered without appearing vulnerable. Same goes for figurines, but in a different way. Anything that could adorn a showcase in the house is best left for the wedding registry.

3. Chocolates

We love chocolates. Any shape. Any form. I am sure many men do too. That’s precisely why we don’t want them. Plus, you could get them at a Walmart.

4. Home appliances 

You might think that an easy-bake oven is the perfect gift for your wife/girlfriend who loves baking. Maybe for Christmas, sure. On VD however, no allusions or even mild winking at gender stereotypes. Even though we’ve all seen that scene from “The father of the bride.”

5. DIY books

Books on how to change a tire or fix the motherboard on the computer might speak to our feminist side, but remember how we decide to dump that side on VD? It’s best to steer clear of any procedural books for the day.

So, yes. The gift should be feminine, not feminist. It should be useful, not utility-based. It should make us feel pretty without being confining or stereotypical. And it shouldn’t look easy. That’s all it takes to make a woman happy.

Or you could just say that you don’t want to exchange gifts this year because spending time with her and seeing her  lovely smile trumps a million gifts. Your take.

Has it been that long?


(This is my first attempt at ‘prosetry’. Well, I started to write a poem and it ended up looking like something in between)

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Remember when I was almost run over, as you scampered away

afraid to know, afraid to face?

perhaps loath to look into my eyes,

afraid they might not mirror the transparent love brimming in yours

your brain—left though it is—must’ve been teeming with a zillion impulses;

yet you dug deep and plucked out an eloquent “I like you.”

 

But hey! Who am I to judge your acuity?

A face like pebble and a pace like snail was all I had to offer

speechless and emotionless—giving the pole I brushed past a tough fight

No wonder the cabbie misjudged the turn

If it were not for the rogue thread in my silk scarf, caught nastily in the metal mesh,

my inertia would’ve continued to cause some interesting road incidents.

Remember? The green D’day scarf?

Ohhh! Who am I talking colors with!

 

I think you were still walking your crazy sprint-walk

perhaps warming up for a run in case you got slapped

What if this is a prank? I thought of all your capers I shamelessly fell for

What if his friends are hiding in, ready on cue to point fingers and laugh in unison?

 

You looked prepared for a slap—stoic, with a pose slightly biased to the dominant right cheek

If it were indeed a prank, you had the makings of a Broadway star

 

I wasn’t too psyched to embark on a ride this time

So, I asked “Are you kidding with me?”, betraying all my naiveté mid-question

“No, not at all.” Phew! Not a slap so far!

“Then, are you serious?” I was the champ at asking insightful questions 

“Yeah.Yes. Of course.” You were always the glib one

 

Okay, this is a proposal, no doubt now. 

I have to respond, but I don’t know how

A mere “yes”?—too pedestrian

“I love you too”?—dripping with desperation

“Why did it take you so long?”—too histrionic

 

“Same here,” I blurted, disrupting the soliloquy

You paused a teensy bit; I bit my lip

Did my clumsy reply make him second guess? 

And then I saw—a face never quite resplendent

as if my words flushed your pallor a bright cherry red

I could’ve kissed you right then!

 

As I sit down today, to reminisce those moments of childlike joy, of nascent love,

all I can say is that our decade-long (and counting) tryst has had its share of tranquil drizzles, of raging tempests, and of purely transcendent Mumbai rains.

 

I am glad it really has been that long.

Four things I would do if I were cheated on!


I like to plan things—down to the shreds. It gives me a feeling of faux-security, a vicarious control over my future. You don’t get a second shot most times. I have my proposal all planned—I decided to go with the shrieking and jumping up and down bit, followed by a twinkling tear to go with the diamond. I recently perfected the move I would use to handle the bum making lewd gestures, if he were to come within arm’s distance. And my Nobel acceptance speech has been ready for ages, save the few tweaks I make every time I read William Zinsser (His ‘On writing well’ is a delightful read).

It’s just something I do. Regardless of how unlikely the event is. Which brings me to the topic of my post: what would I do If I were cheated on? This one probably belongs to the hall of fame of unlikely events, but is certainly possible. And, yeah, now would be the best time to call me a twisted, paranoid lunatic for planning my boyfriend proposing to me and cheating on me in the same breath. But, this is a brain child of not only my neuroses; it’s mainly my compulsive watching of Mad men. There have been legends about men philandering, but nothing quite like the spectrum of skirts Don Draper has gotten himself into, scared the living hell out of me.

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My wife walked in on my fivesome! (via google images)

I don’t pretend to imagine what one endures when they gain knowledge of this horrible fact. Even constructing a scenario gives me the chills as I see myself doing things that would need Bobby Donnell to keep my ass out of jail. But, whatcha gonna do? The topic is such that it shoves the vilest of human emotions bubbling to the surface. A relationship hinges on mostly intangible attributes, the most valuable of them being trust. When some jerk stamps all over this already intangible mess, there is very little legal respite you’ve got. I checked it out. Adultery as a crime has no teeth unless you live in Michigan or are willing to settle for $10 in Maryland.

As much as I picture unleashing my feral side at the thought of adultery, I know I am not capable of violence. But, I am no saint either; no turning the other cheek for me. The least I can do is be prepared. So, here I am, shrugging off a thousand sanctimonious voices advising me that life cannot be planned, to present my cheat-sheet—a bite-sized guide for the future me reminding how to get a good deal out of the whole adultery business.

1. Make a kick-ass pre-nup

This should keep most men in their pants, when done the right way. Granted that this is a preventive measure, but what the hell, I am allowed to cheat in semantics. Invest in a good lawyer and make an air-tight prenup agreement; chances are if he’s ready to sign it, you wouldn’t need it at all. If not, you can sleep peacefully knowing you can make him pay through his teeth whenever you want.

2. Leave him

Stop reading what Prudence from Slate magazine has to say. Don’t bother what your shrink has to offer more than a couch to cry out the initial weepies.  Just dump him alright. It’s just not worth the rigmarole of forgiving and starting over. No matter how evocative his pleas of undying love for you, tell him he can shove it up an orifice of his choice. You don’t give second chances; not in this department.

3. Shop! Shop! Shop!

As much as you feel like listening to Adele, shrouding yourself in an introspective bubble, break out of it. Take a shower. Let him do the “what went wrong?” song and dance. You—soak in a spa massage, get those Zooey Deschanel bangs you thought you were too old for. Or that red silk Valentino number you wishfully gave up tiramisu for. The phrase ‘nothing to lose’ never had more meaning.

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Douches come in all sizes and shapes (via google images)

4. Learn to identify a douche

You can’t always thwart infidelity, but you can learn to weed out the riffraff early on. For example, if your guy has a friend who needs relationship help three nights a week, he’s probably screwing you over (with a guy/girl? don’t ask). If he is okay with you having ‘headaches’ every other day, yet wakes up looking like a million bucks, he’s probably getting some on the side. Also, if his face takes up as much space in the media as the state of Florida, there’s a good chance he’s the power-driven, alpha-male prototypic philanderer we all hear of. Nothing condones infidelity, but if you approach a tiger like you would, your garden variety cat, then this cheat-sheet is of no use for you!

PS: This post is just a light-hearted take on an emotionally catastrophic event; I do not mean to trivialize it. 

PS1: I am not a rationally closed off femi-nazi who thinks infidelity is a male turf; women cheat too (the relative numbers are irrelevant here). I am sure men go through hell when it happens. So, I give you the stage. Take potshots. Make your craigslist sugar daddy jokes. I’ll root for you.