Around this time of year, nearly all the episodes of my favorite podcasts are bookended with advertisements for Valentine’s Day gifts. I’ve heard them so often I can recite portions of the Shari’s Berries and ProFlowers scripts from memory.
The ad copies are mostly prescriptive, with one or two “blanks” where the host is expected to ad lib, offering their own experiences with the products or otherwise tailoring the advertisement to their audience.
On more than one podcast, on more than one occasion, this year I’ve heard both male and female hosts fill in the blanks with the suggestion that even when a woman explicitly says she doesn’t want a gift, her husband or boyfriend* should get her one anyway.
According to the reasoning, although a woman might say she doesn’t want a gift, she really does (which means she’s either lying or she doesn’t know what she wants). For that reason, a man should buy her a gift even if it completely disregards her stated wishes because ultimately, it’s in her best interest to avoid hurting her feelings and it’s in his best interest to avoid making her angry.
I fucking hate this… in part because it’s often true.
In my very limited experience and observation, sometimes women say they don’t want a gift because they want to be low-maintenance (or at least be perceived as low-maintenance) and because they expect their husbands or boyfriends are going to get them a gift anyway.
My feeling is that sometimes women honestly believe they don’t want a gift. But when V Day arrives and they see a coworker receiving a delivery of flowers to the office, or hear a friend bragging about romantic weekend plans, or see a saccharine rom-com on television, they’re some combination of hurt/jealous/angry that they didn’t get a gift… even though they said (and believed) they didn’t want one.
So, yeah. Sometimes it’s true, so that perception is founded.
I hate that. Please change it. Please?
If you want a gift, say so. If you expect to get a gift, tell your partner. Be honest about it.
If you don’t want a gift, say so… but you’d better mean it.
Anything else perpetuates the notion that women don’t mean what they say or don’t know what they want. Ultimately, that bolsters the idea that men should ignore what women say, that men know better, and that men know what women want even when we explicitly say otherwise.
Off topic but tangentially related, here’s Bill Burr on the Monday Morning Podcast losing his shit trying to read the Shari’s Berries ad copy.
I have no idea why he finds it so ridiculous, but it makes me laugh every time I hear it. :)