Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Man Shopping

Pity me. I’ve been performing that most abhorrent of female duties: Man Shopping. No, not shopping in order to acquire men, as I’ve chronicled here, but shopping for the men in my life. And worse than that, even…today I shopped for stocking gifts.


The women in my family have always adored giving and receiving stocking gifts, as long as they are for or from other women. The problem is that once we’ve filled each other’s stockings to the brim, we’ve felt obligated to do likewise for the men in our lives. And I don’t think I’ve ever known a single man who really likes small, inexpensive gifts. They don’t even seem to understand the whole small-gift-concept.

Still, my dad always dutifully made an effort to be appreciative each year:

 “Wow! A mini-moose-horned back scratcher! Now that sure is something.”

“All righty…just what I needed. Socks! Those will come in mighty handy.”

“Ha ha, yes siree…a polishing kit for bald heads! That sure is pretty funny.”

I’m not sure what was more painful—buying the stocking gifts, or watching him open them.

We must not be the only family who goes through this, because stores make an effort to set up displays of suggestions for men each year. There must be an enormous amount of pressure to get creative, because today I passed more than the usual wallets, desk games, cartoon-themed boxer shorts and creatively inscribed golf balls.

For the wife who is trying to combine good hygiene and a love of tools, there was a large and varied display of electric toothbrushes. Interesting to me were the racks and racks of pink flashlights and animal-themed bag clips, which surely must be high on every man’s “want” list.

The one exception to the shopping rule is my son. When he was a teenager, shopping was torture. Then a girlfriend entered the picture and everything changed. I don’t know how she does it, but if she likes it, he does, too. Once I took him shopping and brought his girlfriend along. While we loaded him up for his trip into the dressing room, I winked at her and handed him a short-sleeved button down shirt in aqua and white gingham that I’d had the wonderful luck to find brightening up the clearance rack. My son solemnly took it.

“Your girlfriend really likes this one,” I prompted. He only nodded, completely clueless as to why I was snorting and giggling.

I am so proud…not to mention relieved. He just might be getting a set of monkey-themed bag clips. I’ll just blame it on his girlfriend.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
  • This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.
  • I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.
  • I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
  • They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

~Puns lovingly passed down from my friend Jim’s dad


  1. GINGHAM! He really IS under her spell!

    My boys will tolerate stockings, because I fold up a piece of currency and stuff it near the bottom. Then there's all that candy to dig through. The orange on top to carelessly toss aside. And a clever toy that involves some kind of shooting. There was the year of the little gun that shot foam disks, when a battle broke out. Then the one that shot helicopter-like spinny things that would hover near the ceiling, or bounce off the ceiling and conk them on the head. But I think the favorite was a rubber-band shooty thing that flung plastic pink babies (diapered, of course) across the room. The moose that pooped jellybeans was only a moderate success.

    1. Guns and pooping and money? You are a true man-stocking GENIUS. I can't think of a single male who can resist at least two of those.

  2. I guess I always took the easy route: candy. Fill the stockings with Hershey kisses and mini candy bars and Starbursts and so on...

    1. Sioux, you made me realize I overthink the stocking too much. And men. I guess most men I know would be perfectly content with a stocking full of Starbursts while the womenfolk ooh and ahh over jewelry and toiletries and games and hair ornaments and cosmetics.

  3. Shopping for men is always tough. To begin with, the toys they want are way over budget. Stocking stuffers are gee-whiz items that take up space in the junk drawer---and yet I dutifully make the purchases, because heaven forbid they have an empty stocking. lol

    1. Lisa, you summed it up beautifully in one sentence. Love the phrase, "gee-whiz items!"

  4. I laughed out loud when I read the heading and thought,"Tammy, she delivers!" Still love the older piece your wrote. It resonates.

  5. LOL. That kind of shopping presents difficulties of its own. I DO deliver, don't I? I encountered Cute Guy on Christmas Eve again, by the way. ;)

  6. Gift shopping is truly traumatizing for me. There's a reason Santa expects letter filled with suggestions!

    Critter Alley

    1. You summed it up in a word. "Traumatizing!" That's it! I'm all for the letter, too.


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