Love As I Know It: ‘Tis the Season for Love

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It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but Christmas also brings out the pettiness in all of us. Well, I guess I shouldn’t speak for all of us, but I can certainly speak for myself. About three weeks ago I sent my boyfriend a list titled “Bae’s Christmas Suggestions.” I even grouped items according to their price bracket. It’s not that I thought he couldn’t come up with a gift I’d like, it’s that I thought his dad couldn’t. And since his dad was in charge of my Valentine’s Day card and Christmas gift last year, I don’t think it’s absurd that this holiday I want my actual boyfriend to do the actual purchasing.

Five days ago I sent him a reminder text to order my gift or else it wouldn’t deliver on time. “DO YOU WANT TO RUIN CHRISTMAS FOR ME? THEN PLACE THE ORDER RIGHT FREAKING NOW.” I phrased it much less angrily, of course, but the sentiment was there: get your shit together so I can have a merry Christmas indeed.

I wish it weren’t about the presents, that at its heart this was an issue of wanting my boyfriend to be a responsible adult who cares about a kind gesture, even if it is one rooted in the evils of capitalism. But mostly I just want my present and I want it on the right day, with a glass of heavily spiked eggnog in hand. Would it also be cool if my boyfriend could remember something important at the time he needed to remember it, proving his brain (and priorities) have developed enough to exist in our relationship? Absolutely. But I’m not asking for a Christmas miracle, here, just fifty-seven dollar perfume oil.

See, I sent him the list (which also had my favorite candle, most coveted face wash, and a few other overpriced trinkets) with the punch line, “Pick anything from this list.” But as we inched closer to Christmas I dropped two separate hints, one in the parking lot of CVS and one at a tapas place, that I actually wanted the perfume oil. And this is where my ultimate pettiness is revealed: I want to see if he was actually listening to me, does actually listen to me, like ever in our relationship. I want to know if he cares, if he’s capable of following through, if he’ll get me one thing off the list or two. Also I want to know if he’s spent as much as I did ($125 for a pair of man-Uggs and Infinite Jest, our next book club book), not because it matters but because Christmas makes me a worse person.

Having reread this I’m thinking “manipulative” might be a better word for what’s going on here and I’m not proud of that, not proud at all. But since this column is not about self-improvement it’s about fessing up, there you have it. Luckily New Years and all its accompanying resolutions to be better, is right around the corner.

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Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace's masterwork about philosophy, entertainment, happiness...and tennis.

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