Bad Present = Bad Relationship?

Blue Slippers - Levi Szekeres

Does a gift indicate the state of a relationship? Lots of women think so and lots of men worry so. Brave Billy No Box examines (whilst worrying about what his gift says).

As everybody knows, women are sensitive creatures. Men assume relationships are fine unless they are told otherwise. They'll assume everything is great until they come home and either find all their personal belongings packed up in suitcases, or realise that the keys to the front door don't fit anymore. That's when they'll start to suspect that things might not be that rosy anymore.

Women however have a more refined approach and constantly question the state of their relationships. Whilst a lot of comments and actions can serve as a barometer of the emotional climate, presents by partners are the most welcome tool to judge the relationship. A not-very-thoughtful - or outright bad - present is read as an indicator that the partner has lost touch with what is important to her, and is seen as a sign of marital decline.

To be fair, it seems to work both ways: good gifts prove that their partner still cares about them and jumps through hoops to keep them happy.

As an example, I once gave my ex (a well-travelled, curious, worldly person) a huge, leather-bound atlas. Of course, she HATED it and if it hadn't been that oversized and heavy probably would have hit me over the head with it straightaway. Needless to say, it was a sure-fire sign that something was wrong, and not very much later I found myself in divorce court with little material possession left apart from said coffee-table atlas.

Then again, it is much easier to please somebody you are generally fond of. Over the years, I learned that diamonds are in fact, a girl's best friend, and that in general you can never go wrong with jewellery. Since you don't want to come across as an uninventive gift-giver however, there is a dangerous requirement to vary gifts. This can prove to be a lethal combination with the perceived pressure that any mishap on the gift front can be the entry ticket to marital counselling.

So when this year's Christmas shopping dawned, I thought long and carefully and finally came up with something I thought would be the perfect present for my significant other (which I cannot reveal here).

However, when wrapping up the present, the shop assistant asked me "Who's the lucky guy getting this gift?"

Needless to say, I was left wondering what that says about the state of my marriage.