So my wedding anniversary was last week, and I am immensely fortunate to have a spouse who remembered this occasion all on his own -- in fact, he had to remind me -- and he even sent a sweet romantic gift of flowers to my workplace, making me feel special and providing me with that delicious moment when female co-workers cast covetous glares. (The last time I received flowers at work was from a Tina Turner impersonator I'd written about, which elicited glares but only because my co-workers didn't know what they were for. I did not enlighten them.)
The thought occurred that a reciprocal token delivered to my husband's office would be fun. But then I tried to think of what to send, and determined there really isn't an equivalent of such a gift for guys.
He totally wouldn't want flowers or balloons or -- heaven forbid -- Teddy bears. One time, we stayed at a B&B that had lace curtains and mismatched-but-complimentary floral bed linens and wooden heart-shaped signs on each door designating room names such as "Lovers' Nest" and "Enchanted Rose." And there were Teddy bears. Everywhere. It was even too girlie for me, so I barely flinched when, in a righteous fit of primal masculinity, my husband nearly punched the bear to within an inch of its snugly little life.
Having eliminated such options for safety reasons, I considered sending him and his co-workers pizzas, but I tried that once before for his birthday with questionable results.
Hearts and flowers
Frustrated, I sought out other high-profile couples for inspiration. What would Marge do? She might send Homer a box of doughnuts, with sprinkles of course, but then hilarity would ensue and the day would somehow end with someone being naked in a miniature-golf-course windmill. Mrs. Claus could have a nice box of sugar plums delivered to Santa, or maybe some new reindeer -- heaven knows Blitzen hasn't been pulling his weight. And I wondered what Mick might send Keith this week for their 50th anniversary. Moss, perhaps? (Get it? Moss? Rolling Stones? Never mind.)
I queried a few guy friends for gift ideas, with the caveat that they could not say "strippers."
"Strippers," said my friend John. Sigh. "Scotch. Scotchy-scotch-scotch," said Josh. "And strippers." Then, in a surprise move, he added: "But I think flowers would be sweet too. Or pizza." (See paragraph 3, re: pizza.) My friend Tony, who is gay, is planning an anniversary dinner (pizza) with his partner this week. "And I get to go sporting-goods shopping," he said. "Aren't workout shorts romantic?"
Another pal's ex-ex wife once sent him "a cool terrarium," said Steve. "Maybe you could send him some cool man's action video with a 'You're My Hero' balloon. Nah, that's lame." But better than a terrarium.
See? Even guys don't know what guys want. At least FTD does. Their website has a section on "Gifts for Men" with things like cuff links and wallets, though those seem better for Father's Day or "Congrats on your promotion." They have Mrs. Fields cookies in a "cooler tote." Cookies are still kind of a girlie gift, but the tote is black, so I guess that makes it manly. And the tote's a cooler, which can presumably be used in the future for beer. Manly.
A gal pal suggested a singing telegram. "You know, like someone dressed as a gorilla," she said. "Or maybe when Sasquatch isn't escorting Brian Williams to the ESPY Awards he can go sing 'Melancholy Baby' to your spouse."
Or how about a giant trout? Granted, the particular giant trout I'm thinking of (aka Susan Levenson of Friends of San Leandro Creek) isn't actually in the business of delivering musical fish-grams but rather will be in costume as she teaches Chabot Day Camp kids next Tuesday morning about the plight of subspecies oncorhynchus mykiss iridia (rainbow trout). She sent me a photo of "Suzy O'Mykiss." Guess the trout is of Irish descent. This would be a great "gram" if your guy's a fisherman. And Irish. Regardless, a large fish floundering around at one's place of business could not be a bad thing.
Alas, even with all these options, I did nothing for an anniversary gift this year. But hey, love transcends material tokens, right? Uh-oh. Is that what guys say when they forget an anniversary?