Monday, December 28, 2009

Er....emotional fallout

Luckily, this particular meltdown did not involve food.

Transitioning back home was rough. Long day of traveling, a lot of stress, good food choices, but not without a lot of effort. I had to forcibly yank my wandering mind (and eyes) back on track -- it was like being harnessed to a wayward pitbull. Draining.

Got home, found my two presents laid out on the bed from the B/F. Very sweet. Had gotten him some very nice gifts down south, and was excited for him to come home so we could open them.

That's when everything went completely haywire --- like a Freaky Friday kind of scenario, except I don't know who I swapped bodies with.

Before I left the B/F asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I'm not one for gifts and such, so he rarely gets to indulge his love of shopping for me. I told him a specific perfume -- one that I used to wear a long time ago and wanted to revisit.

The name was repeated at least three times before I left, because I know his memory is faulty. On the day he bought the perfume, he texted me and said "The perfume you want is X, right?" Picture me rolling my eyes as I read the text, heaving a long-suffering sigh, and texting back, "NO -- It's Y."

There are two perfumes with very similar names done by the same designer. He kept fixating on the wrong one -- ie, the one I didn't want. I thought the text would clear that up for good.

So ... you can see where I'm going with this.

When I finally got home, exhausted and probably a bit overwrought from leaving my family, I laid out all the presents I'd brought back for him (including gifts from my parents, and also a ton of his favorite t-shirts only found in a certain store near my family's house, and a very carefully selected gift from me -- something he's been wanting for a long time).

When he came in, we settled down for our Christmas together.

And of course, I opened my box and found the wrong perfume. He bought the very perfume I told him three times NOT to buy.

Instant tears. Crushing disappointment.

It sounds silly, I know. It probably IS silly.

It's just a box of perfume. But the message I get is: I couldn't be bothered to make sure I got it right.

This is probably one of those instances where men and women have completely opposite reactions to things.

But as I stared at the little pink box so clearly emblazoned with the WRONG name, I'm thinking to myself, why doesn't he pay attention to what I say? Why doesn't he listen?

And that, my friends, is a real button pusher for me. I don't like feeling like I'm not worth hearing. I don't like feeling like an afterthought. It makes me cry like nothing else, and also enrages me -- a bad combo, I gotta say.

Naturally, the B/F was full of remorse, and wanted to rush out right away to exchange the gift. Which is rather silly at 8pm on a Sunday night.

I cried through the entire "Sound of Music" broadcast on our local TV that night before going to bed.

I'm trying not to get too bogged down in this and not make it a federal case, because generally speaking the B/F is a pretty swell guy, and has been at my side through thick and thin since I met him.

But he's got a terrible habit of not paying attention to detail, and it drives me absolutely crazy. And I tend to personalize it. To my mind, it's not that he doesn't listen in general, it's that he doesn't listen to me.

Ergo, situations like last night's do tend to occur.

But, I ask you (righteous indignation in full force): when your partner, who rarely asks for gifts, requests a specific one for Christmas, don't you bloody well make sure you get it right?


  1. I do try get it right. Perhaps you could buy him a handy little notebook to write things down in. If he had written it down he never would have made the mistake. I am a big note writer. The older I get, the more forgetful I am getting. Notes are the way to go.

    Hope you are feeling better now.

  2. Yes, but I'm a girl! Men are - generally - HOPELESS at gifts; they don't seem to understand that it's not a 'thing' but a proof positive that they understand us, that they care and that they think of and invest time and energy in us. All in a (beautifully wraped) box. Okay, it's a hard call but we manage it, don't we?


    PS I totally understand your reaction btw - the hurt and disappointment and probably suppressed anger. I sometimes wonder if gay female couples ever have these issues or whether it's just because they're, well, men.

    PPS The first Christmas we were together, my bf bought me a food processor. No joke. The emotional scars are still raw and it was 13 years ago.