Whether to surprise or not

Today, my wife turns twenty five. It hasn’t been a good birthday so far, for she feels depressed that she’s growing old. It doesn’t help matters that I’ve failed to surprise her, while on my birthday six months back she had put together a series of fantastic surprises. In my defence, I treated her to an afternoon of unlimited shopping a couple of days back,which I had assumed was her”birthday gift”.

Anyway, the point is that it had been brought to my notice before I went out somewhere this evening that I’d failed to materialize with a “birthday gift” and I was wondering if I should get something on my way back. It is not like I didn’t have ideas. I had several. But as I went through them one by one I realized that for each of them, there was a credible rebuttal she could come out with for each of them that would make it seem like there was no “thought” behind that gift and the only reason I had brought it was that she was unhappy.

I reasoned that irrespective of what had happened in the intervening couple of hours when I was out, she would still be upset with me at the end of it. Given that she would be upset with me, the odds that the gift I would bring would completely melt her and she would be satisfied would be miniscule. Instead, I would only have to endure more sulking, with the added charge of my trying to bribe her out of her anger.

I guess the big problem with me that I’m too cold and rational most of the time (the few occasions when I get emotional, I go crazy and cry loud enough to bring my whole apartment complex down). So the rationalist in me decided to make the rational decision that the chances of winning over my wife with a superb gift was so low that it would not justify the effort involved in bringing that surprise. So I came home empty handed.

My wife is inside the bedroom now, pretending to read a book that isn’t particularly interesting, while I blog this sitting in the hall, having taken control of the TV and watching the French Open final. I guess I was guilty of not giving myself that chance to turn her over today. But then, I didn’t spend all that mind space in trying to find that superb gift. I told you right, that I’m too cold and rational most of the time. And I write about too many things on this blog.

11 thoughts on “Whether to surprise or not”

  1. The “afternoon of unlimited shopping” only makes meaningful sense/impact if you’re the only earning member of the family and there’s usually a very limited shopping budget. In most marriages, once you’ve figured out money (i.e. who makes how much, how you spend on common things and personal things and how much is discretionary etc.), gifts etc. become more about thought and effort than about utility or cost.

    And sorry to say, but your calculations weren’t cold and/or rational as much as self-serving and from a limited p-o-v.

  2. I can completely relate to this. I consider myself to be very much left brained and not very creative when it comes to buying gifts. I can’t bring myself to accept the notion that surprising anyone (let alone the wife) with gifts or parties is the right way to make them happy.

    After 4 years of marriage, I now hate my own birthday (as I have to put a happy face on) and I have come to despise our anniversary as well

  3. I get a Deja-vous reading this post. Recall the year my partner failed to do anything at all. And somehow I took forever to forgive me.

    Realized only much later that it just doesn’t occur to him, not that he doesn’t want to.

    Sure Pinky would be pleased seeing this post.

  4. On a different gift giving scene, I wish it would become perfectly acceptable to increase the value of the wedding gift by 50% of the estimated air fare – in return for not attending the wedding. A win-win if there ever was one.

  5. Cold and unimaginative. Too smart for your own good machan. Too intelligent for your own good with JEE-xx and CAT-x and all.

  6. douche.
    you could have made her something sentimental. you couldn’t expend that effort and then you couldn’t be bothered to come up with a thoughtful present in advance. you can’t think creatively on demand. people who really care have ruminating forever and are rewarded when the idea just flows to them. no one is good at surprises. people are just better planners. they’ve been thinking for a long time, or have just noted the creative ideas that come to them.
    i wonder if this is a tambrahm thing.

  7. “But then, I didn’t spend all that mind space in trying to find that superb gift. I told you right, that I’m too cold and rational most of the time.”

    I don’t know why people are suggesting you show your wife this post. Essentially, you’re saying that you coldly calculated that *not* exerting your mental energy is worth more to you than your wife’s disappointment at your inconsiderateness on her birthday.

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