And they asked, “So what’s your problem with flowers anyway?”
For sometime now, I’ve had a public stance of being against the giving of flowers to pretty girls. My personal view is that A) they are transitory (they’ll be gone in a week) and B) they don’t show any real thought. I’ve also got the basic problem that they’re cliché, but all artists complain like that if something has been done more than twice and flowers have been done more than twice. Now, this doesn’t mean I never buy flowers for a girl. I have done so several times, but the effect is heightened because when I do it, it proves that I did some thinking, went through my bag of tricks and decided that as Hardison said, you can’t hack a classic.
Speaking as an artist, my specialty is packages. Providing not one gift, but five. A little surprise package, with a continuing run of surprises. Sometimes, there’s even a cute little instruction sheet explaining the uses and reasons for each item. The result is a gift meant only for one, and a more impressed girl who knows that real thought went into this. And I still spend less than a dozen roses cost, even with shipping. I’ll give an example, I once sent someone a bad day kit. The bad day kit included (if I’m remembering correctly) a CD of music, a bag of candy, a comically small teddy bear and… oh I’m sure there were some other things. This was years ago now and I can’t remember every damn thing. However, I’m sure the girl (or girls because I’ve used the kit more than once) can chime in down in the comments section and tell you what was in theirs. It’s a memorable gift and always gets a good reaction. Now granted, once the candy is eaten a major part of the gift is gone, but you still end up with more than just a pack of dead flowers that you thrown away with no memorabilia besides an odd smell.
Okay, so maybe you don’t want to produce an entire package, sometime you just want to give on gift. I know people aren’t always ready for a huge collection of surprises. Sometimes you don’t want to deliver a blast of fun, sometimes you want a little something. Better yet, sometimes you want something that can sit on her desk at work. You like things to sit on desks at work because someone might ask about them and she can go “Oh that? Yeah, someone thinks I’m really special and gave me that today.” There is something to be said for making your girl the prettiest little princess in the office pool. HOWEVER! Flowers have been done my friend and there is a world outside that flowery box. I once had the idea to send a bag of flour to a girl, but I never went through with it. That would have been awesome though, flour instead of flowers. It would have totally gotten me laid when I thought of it in 1993, because conceptual jokes like that were huge at the time. The problem is, that’s a pun and we here at Fancy Industries are above puns.
So what do you do? You can have things delivered, but what? Well, that depends on the girl. Or perhaps it depends on the guy. Maybe you’re a girl/gay man who wants to give her/his boyfriend a nice something. It’s not my place to assign gender roles, particularly when I live in a world where no one ever sends me flowers EVER! I once got flowers on my birthday. ONCE! No one ever sends ME presents at work. I’m not disappointed or hurt, I’m just terribly, terribly angry. I’m not prepared to get into a big talk about gender politics so if you want to discuss that, go talk about it somewhere else. Today, we’re talking about guys giving gifts to girls and my problems with flowers. We’ll talk gender relations later. Right now, I’ve got other things on my mind.
So you want to send just one gift, one quick thing, right? Okay, here’s my suggestion to you, pay attention to her likes and dislikes. I’m fully aware that sounds like dipshit advice. That sounds like we should be sitting on the floor with our legs crossed, but I promise you this isn’t kindergarten. It’s just… that’s the sort of thing people forget when buying a quick gift. That’s why flowers are so much of a staple, it’s something girls are supposed to like, which I guess is another problem for me. It’s like, after that you might as well buy a unicorn poster or possibly some kind of ring with a big rock on it. Also, get her a kitchen and steal her shoes because your mentality is already in the 14th century and there are precious few dragons to kill these days. It just shows no thought whatsoever beyond “Dur… thing with boobs like pretty stuff” and I am against that sort of non-thinking in all its forms. Also, damn, I just nearly made flowers part of the rape culture. Good thing I deleted the sentence where I was going to the logical place after the kitchen comment. One must check and see if flowers are the best gift, or would something more personalized (or at least specific beyond kindergarten-level basic gender roles) go down a little better.
Examples help, so here is one. About a year ago, Syd was having a couple of bad days, so I girded my loins and decided to make her lunch. I had to go to the store to get some lunch things for her, and it was late, so I went to Meijer, which if you’re from the wrong part of the world, is a 24 hour market/superstore. One of the things that Meijer has is a toy isle. I walked down it, just looking to see what I could see, and I saw this guy here. At least, I think that’s the one, I’ve never seen it since I pulled my trick. See, I put the toy at the bottom of the bag and piled her food on top so that it wouldn’t be obvious until she got her lunch out and ate it. She really liked Iron Man, and was mega enthusiastic about the whole thing last year, so she really liked the thing. It’s still at her desk at work, presumably protecting her reproduction of a Chac-Mool statue she also has on her desk. So I gave her a happy meal, that’s what it amounts to, and she was happy and the item is still on her desk reminding her of it. So that worked better in that situation.
Now we’re getting to the place I really want to take us. If you’ve skimmed most of this, start reading now. There are subtle hints a girl will give you, if you listen for them, that will give you an idea of what gifts are going to go down well. She will say things like “I’ve always loved Moby Dick, but my copy is really beat to shit. I’d love a hard cover version, but it’s expensive.” Now, it’s not usually appropriate to run to your computer and order a copy right there and then, but you can squirrel that idea away for the next gift giving opportunity. Or perhaps she’ll mention a lifelong love for unicorns, but never (EVER) rainbow colored unicorns. Ah, now you have a go to idea for a gift. You just look for unicorns that don’t have rainbows for manes and tails. That’s harder than it sounds and sometimes you have to guy your nephew a dinosaur to cover up the fact that you also bought a couple of unicorns for her birthday and then forget you bought her those unicorns until like two weeks after her birthday and only find them on your own birthday and decide, fuck it, and give them to her on your birthday because what the hell, right? This happened to a friend of mine.
There are places where flowers are a good idea. Those places are only reachable through researching the recipient’s likes and dislikes, which is always a requirement for me anyway. What I’m saying is that I don’t do flowers for an opening salvo, I go for something else. It might seem like a little thing, but I don’t think so.
Next time, we’ll talk about reversing gender policies and you girls can send me a gift at work once in a while, ‘kay? The patriarchy won’t destroy itself you know.
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