Well, it's officially Ken's birthday. If you found my blog through his, you already know this, I'm sure. He has a few posts up about the event in a bit of self-promotion the likes of which I would never participate in (December 8th). After reading Ken's post criticizing gift-giving, I was tempted to "out" him in the comments by pointing out that we exchange gifts yearly. And then I realized that in a way, he was right. While we do exchange gifts, we do it in a very manly, unassuming way. First of all, we're almost never on time. This way...Could be a birthday gift, could be a Christmas gift, could be payoff on a gambling debt...Who knows? Secondly, the gifts are always the same. I send Ken an Amazon.com package of all the books I would have read if I hadn't given up reading for my porn habit. He sends me a package of dry ice. Did I mention the dry ice was surrounded by lots of Cajun goodies, which I then eat nonstop until I get sick? Really, it's a very nice setup.
I think he gets it right when he talks about the gender difference, though. If you'll forgive the upcoming language and chauvinism, I'd like to compare gift-giving with post-date discussion. Specifically, the differences in the way each gender deals with them. As Ken pointed out, gift-giving takes on some kind of mythic Jungian significance for women. It's either a token of emotion, or an act of competition. If Lord of the Flies was written with a cast of young women, the rescue team would very likely have arrived to find a tight-lipped girl weaving sheet sets from palm fronds, muttering "give me a kiln-fired dish set with gold edging mined from the Forbidden Mountain, will she?" Men aren't like that. We don't want to make a big deal of things, lest other guys see any emotion in us. (Unless we're watching Brian's Song, or our team loses the Super Bowl...We're not monsters, for God's sake***.) We also don't extend the gift-giving niceties. There's no follow up. Well, practically none. I only have to confirm that Ken didn't already have any of the books I sent. He only has to confirm that I didn't choke on a piece of snout. Again, it's very much like the sharing of date information:
Two Girls After a Date
Girl 1: How was it?
Girl 2: Oh my God...It was perfect! He was wearing this nice...[what follows is a word by word replay of each and every moment of the entire evening, including who was wearing what, where you went, who ate what, and what songs were playing in the car AND what each of those things meant]...and it only lasted for three and a half-minutes, but he fell asleep in my arms!
Two Guys After a Date
Guy 1: Did you screw her?
Guy 2: Yeah.
Guy 1: Nice.
(Of course, I myself would never participate in such a misogynistic exchange. These Cro-Magnons are merely representative of the less-sensitive men I have encountered in my life as far as you know.)
Anyway, if you haven't done so already, go on over and wish Ken a happy birthday. He deserves it. And Ken, if you're reading this--and you better be--Have a great birthday, and maybe I'll try something different this year. You're just lucky you didn't publish your birthday night plans a little earlier, or you'd be getting a very public strip-o-gram. A very public male strip-o-gram.
Before I forget...Go on over to The Subway Chronicles and read some good writing. The host is looking to break 20,000 hits for the month, so let's help her out. Oh, and Ken has a piece up there...But don't let that stop you.
*** Ladies, you might be wondering about groin injuries. There's really little emotion there. As any man will tell you, these are the inevitable steps one will take immediately after a buddy takes a punch, foot, elbow, ball, dog bite, parking meter, etc., in the goods.
1) A sharp intake of breath.
2) A sympathetic "Owwwwww."
3) Three hours of giggling and trying to re-enact just what his face looked like at the moment of impact. ("Then your eyes went in different directions, and you made this noise like, 'Yurk!'")