Thursday, September 15, 2005

On September 15, 1980

my wife was born. As per our prenuptial agreement (not to give gifts to eachother) I did not give Rachel a birthday present. Not only have I always held true to my promise to Rachel, I have also forgiven her for the few times she broke her corresponding promise to me. Given that we share our wealth, we both feel it is silly to purchase something the other obviously chose not to purchase.

I will admit that I have been criticized by other married men for my practice. "Never mind what Rachel says," they argue, "all women are crazy and need gifts to feel appreciated." I ask the married and committed men among you - are your women sane enough to appreciate you NOT getting them gifts?


Anonymous said...

Shmueli, buy some things for her or at least for the home that will bring a smile to her face, brighten up her day etc. Being sane isn't all it's cracked up to be...

Tobie said...

What are you talking about, Shmuli? You bought all those Brita filters from Walmart today- now that is true love.

Anonymous said...

Shmuli, if you were really asking other married men, you would know that they could not possibly answer such a question in a public space.

Mr. HaLevi said...

Shmuli, you put me in a bind, because the way you phrase your question is unfair.

You see, yes, we could say my wife is not sane, and as a result wishes for me to give her presents. And that this makes no sense as we share our wealth.

Of course to view it from my own perspective instead, we can see that I would be the one who is insane were I not to do something as silly and easy as buy a stupid little gift that results in a happy wife who leaves me alone while I watch the Red Sox. So perhaps the question we should be posing is to you Shmuli - are you nuts?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you shmuli.

miriam said...

"Given that we share our wealth, we both feel it is silly to purchase something the other obviously chose not to purchase"

though my opinion is apparently not invited, i will offer one anyway.

Consider the case of gift-giving that costs only time, not money. while is some sense you may share your time with your partner (his/her choices regarding time often directly impact yours, especially when it comes to things that just have to get done), it's a lot less straightforwardly so than wealth. Most people agree that it is not silly to spend time (at least within reason) on something the other person clearly chose not to. (a simple example: baking pie when they would have made do with twizzlers for desert.) i would argue that once you throw money into the picture the situation changes only slightly (unless its a lot of money. how much is a lot is determined by individual financial circumstances...) - the main point of a gift is to show that you thought about someone and all that, blah blah blah, and also that you are capable of thinking about them accurately enough to give something they will enjoy enough to be glad they own even if they wouldn't necessarily have predicted so themselves.

that said, perhaps a better reason mitigating against gift-giving (at least at predetermined dates) is that the perfect gift rarely presents itself, and one often wastes time and energy searching because one "has to" buy a gift. plus, its embarassing to give a present that's really supposed to say "see how well i know you and how much i care about you" and be totally wrong. ( i think of a family friend who gave his wife earings for their first or second anniversary, only to discover that she doesn't have peirced ears.)

oh, and yes, many women are (1) crazy and (2) want gifts to feel appreciated. but they don't always have to be on our birthdays ;). oh, and we might also want to be sane, thereby negating (2) at least a little.

Shmuli said...

David - Rachel has permitted me to watch sports on TV ever since she got disgusted with me sitting in front of the computer and reading the play-by-play online. I seldom watch sports any more though because other members of my household deny me permission.

Miriam - I actually did the earing thing. I didn't count it as a gift from me because my mother, who is disgusted with my behavior, insisted I get the gift. She went with me to the store, picked out a few items, from which I chose one and then paid for it. Of course, I was supposed to pretend to Rachel that they were from me but I was truthful. Now Oren, while it is never too early to start lying to your wife - as Yehuda and David can attest (just kidding) - it is far more important to lie to your mother.