It was Alpha Male's birthday yesterday.
I usually spend a lot of time and effort hunting down the right gift. Hours of research, thought and care goes into finding the perfect token of my love and affection. This year though, due to being somewhat pressed for time and increasingly incapable of organising a piss-up in a brewery (although if anyone from the office is reading this, rest assured that this applies only to my domestic life; I'm still perfectly capable of organising work related piss-ups, hurrah) I started the great gift hunt at 5pm Friday evening.
While I usually shop at a slow crawl (why rush one of lifes greatest pleasures?), on Friday I was a woman possessed. Having a strict time slot really serves to focus the mind.
I came home laden with bags but the fact that I had been forced to make snap purchasing decisions did not rest easy on my mind. Had I just grabbed and bagged? Would Alpha Male unwrap his presents and realise that I Had Not Given It Enough Thought?
The moment of truth came. Alpha Male sat in the sitting room surrounded by gifts, wrestling with Firstborn and the Small(er) One for present unwrapping control (the girls still think that any gift to come into the house belongs to them alone).
Now, before I let you in on the reaction, here's what my Oxford Street ram-raid resulted in;
- 4 pairs of socks, one grey, one brown, two black (wool)
- 1 monkey phone charm (it's an in-joke, ok?)
- 1 GAP shirt, slightly pyjama-ish but (I thought) casually sexy
- 1 copy of the cult cook book of the moment, The Silver Spoon
- 1 IOU for something more exciting, just in case any or all of the above didn't hit the spot (plan B)
All in all, a fairly lacklustre collection of goods. Right?
Hell, no. Either Alpha Male is an extremely good liar or he truly was delighted. The clear winner was the cook book, which is, apparently, 'the best he's ever seen' (in fact, he's spent most of today in the kitchen creating delicious things). The IOU was exchanged the same day for a butcher's block thing on wheels for the kitchen. The socks are on his feet and the shirt is on his back. The monkey phone charm, as expected, was stolen by Firstborn within five minutes of her beady eyes making contact with it.
I did come clean and apologised for the pedestrian collection of merchandise. I apologised for not having been able to find something so incredibly creative and obscure he didn't even know that his life wouldn't be complete without it. Alpha Male laughed and said, "You're mad. You usually give me weird stuff that I have to pretend to like and then get rid of when you're not looking. This year you've done incredibly well." And with that, he stuck his nose in his new cook book and was silent for over an hour.
The moral of this story? Sometimes, there is very little correlation between effort and reward.