:: Second Coming: Gift Giving ::
:: Average Single Male :: by Jim Parker
As a living and breathing person, we have all received numerous gifts from ex-
lovers, family members, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. Some good
and some not so good, so such is life. In any case, there are times when we
have been left to wonder where people derived their gift ideas and what they
were thinking at the time of purchase. I am sure everyone has opened a gift and
thought one or all of the following:
  • What the hell is it?
  • What am I supposed to do with it?
  • What expression/emotion should I be showing right now?
  • How do I ask to exchange it?

Those are rather embarrassing and awkward moments, not only for the
receiver, but the giver as well. Of course, we cannot eliminate all future
uncomfortable situations, but we might be able to limit them or reduce the level
of discomfort. In the rest of this section, I will attempt to provide some method to
the madness to the art of gift giving.

What is a gift?
In my mind the definition is: anything voluntarily given to someone without the
expectation of reciprocating compensation. A gift could be an item, money, and
the most overlooked, time. The key to my definition is the word "reciprocating."
Of course, a "give and receive" relationship is fine, but giving to receive is
manipulative and rude.

I believe gifts fall into three categories: things, stuff, and moments. The table
below provides my thoughts and a brief description as to why they fall into each

Many of you may argue that the some of the examples could fit into one of the
other categories. I agree, but I am saying the two keys to gift giving are function
and thought process. For instance, a nice bouquet for your mother is different
than surprising your lover with a candle lit room full of roses.

Here are a few more considerations:
  • Things are completely meaningless without moments.
  • Stuff is good by itself for nonsexual relationships.
  • Anyone can give things and stuff.
  • The amount of money spent on a gift should never be disclosed.
  • Moments create impressions and lifelong memories.
  • Moments are rarely linked to money. They are more commonly
    associated to personal feelings.
  • Gift giving is a selfless process. Do not give a gift and expect to receive
    accolades, honors, sex, or other rewards in return.

Not every gift we give can be "perfect." This is especially true when we are
involved in serious committed relationships. As an ASM, there are times I feel
overwhelmed with the dates I am supposed to provide a little gift for like the one-
month anniversary, the three-month anniversary, the six-month anniversary, the
one-year anniversary and her birthday. Add to those dates the first kiss, first
dance, first movie, first intercourse, first oral sex and how could I forget the
special occasions like Christmas, Easter, and Valentine's Day. I am one gift-
giving machine.

Throughout my travels in the world of relationships and gift giving, I have made
a critical discovery. Let me enlighten you on what many women have not
considered quality presents; lingerie, kitchen appliances, video games, Midol,
bathroom fixtures, feminine hygiene products, office supplies, car/vehicle parts,
vibrators, drugs, alcohol, porn movies, acting out sexual fantasies and self help
books. Could this be the reason for my continued single status?

Did you notice that some of the gifts mentioned had a "me factor?" Meaning the
gift would provide me with pleasure, like the lingerie and video games. This is a
key point, it is not appropriate to give a present with a "me factor." Also, notice
the impersonal nature and the level of effort. Granted the feminine hygiene
product was a personal gift, but it was a little on the rude side. I will not explain
the details, but she deserved it, needed it, and I was yearning to get dumped.
Note that if you wish to terminate your current affair, please feel free to choose
any of the gifts I have mentioned.

Gift Wrap
No one is born with a talent for giving great gifts. The best advice is to learn
about that special person. Get to know their likes and dislikes, their hobbies,
and person they wish to become. Listen to their subtle clues. If they say, "I like
that" or "that is nice" or "I have always wanted one" are fairly solid hints.
Remember gifts are not always measured by a monetary value. If your partner
enjoys cycling, plan a day trekking through the city. Include a picnic and I would
bet on a positive response. My final note is; giving presents is a way of showing
others how we feel about them, how well we know them, how much we
appreciate their influence in our lives, and how we express our gratitude. Be
creative, spontaneous, and thoughtful, have fun, and start giving moments to

The above material is a rough draft of the final product that will be included with
the follow up book in early 2010.

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Things have no function and are impersonal. They are material in nature
and the person does not have a "need" for them.  Coworkers Neighbors
Extended family. Toys/games, costume jewelry, stuffed animals,
flowers, novelties, candy, wine
Stuff has a function or purpose and usually has a more personal touch
than a "thing." Family Friends  Clothing, CD's, kitchen equipment, office
supplies, money, sporting gear, towels, books
Moments always have a purpose and show a thought process.
Passion, creativity, inspiration, spontaneity, and romance may
accompany a moment.  Immediate family Close friends Significant
others Romantic dinner, jewelry, framed pictures, trips, personalized
items (pens, towels, candles)
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