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Birthday Soot

My boyfriend’s generally pretty sweet, and we’re enjoying it all. On his birthdays, I buy him a present and dinner. Both years we’ve been together he’s bought me nothing for mine, saying he didn’t know what to get. The second year, I waited in vain all weekend, hoping we’d do something special (he did make me breakfast in bed on Sunday, and woke me with kisses and “Happy birthday”). My birthday was that Monday, and he only took me out as an afterthought. As I was leaving for work, he said, “I’ll wait up.” (I work late.) Hurt, I said, “I can’t believe you aren’t even taking me to dinner!” He then lost his temper. Maybe this seems silly, but I’m actually still hurt. Part of me wants to rise above this, and part wants to give him a lump of coal for his upcoming birthday.

--Present Dilemma

For a lot of women, it’s the thought that counts -- as long as the guy thinks of something a little more, well, pawnable, than a plate of eggs.

Personally, because I’m no longer 6, I mainly think of my birthday as a day to apologize to my mother. (I won some pickle company’s contest for being the biggest baby born in Detroit the week of March 8.) Also, I prefer to celebrate actual accomplishments. Of course, being a year older is an accomplishment for some, but I try to set goals a bit beyond “Well, well, well, another year, and I’m still not dead from meth!”

Perhaps I’m an anomaly, because there seems to be something girly about commemorating birthdays. Sure, there are guys who acknowledge each other’s, but at some point after seventh grade, birthdays seem to split off in importance along gender lines. For example, guys don’t have a version of the Sweet Sixteen, with their mom wiping away tears as she gushes, “Look, my little Adam’s grown an apple!” And consider how common it is for women to send their friends little cards and Hallmark desk bunnies, but when’s the last time you saw Rocco down at the garage buy a card with frolicking baby raccoons on it and get all sweet about Fred’s special day?

That said, your birthday’s important to you, and if you’re important to a guy, he’ll find a way to remember it. But, wait, there’s this: “He did make me breakfast in bed on Sunday, and woke me with kisses and ‘Happy birthday.’” So, your boyfriend did remember your birthday -- just not in the style to which you’d like to become accustomed. Assuming he isn’t a jerk the other 364 days a year, how could he not know what’s expected of him? After all, you bought him presents and dinner. All he had to do was the exact same thing, kind of like a chimp imitating somebody shaving.

Unfortunately, the male brain isn’t an exact replica of the female brain, just less, I dunno, lavender. Because men generally don’t operate on 13 levels of intuition, if you need something from a man, you probably have to say so. In this case, tell your boyfriend what you want (a gift and dinner), why you want it (it says, “I’m thinking of you, I don’t take you for granted”), and tell him a little before when you want it (meaning, give him reminders, don’t haul off the morning of with “Hey, potting-soil-for-brains, guess who turned 30 today?”). Finally, let him know that whatever effort he makes will score big with you -- providing it goes beyond asking Denny’s to try to get 30 candles to stand up in a Grand Slam.

Posted by aalkon at January 9, 2008 1:58 AM


Great advice as usual. I can't believe the kind of things that some women expect their men to do without any prompting. I've learned that it's better not to expect anything romantic from my husband. I know to ask for whatever I need (rather than waiting around for him to think of it himself). As a side benefit of this attitude, when he does do something on his own (which he will occasionally) then it's a welcome surprise and pleases me more than it would if I were waiting around for him to read my mind.

Posted by: Dot [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 3:21 AM

Great response. My husband's birthday and mine are in the same month so its easy for a reciprocal..."So what do you want to do for your birthday?" from me, quickly followed by a "What do you want to do for yours?" from him. I have been specific when we talk about "special occassions" that I prefer activities to gifts. And when I really know what I'd like to do, I tell him straight up. (Couple's massage at a nice spa this year for my 4-0 -- I even booked it) When I say, "I don't know", its the truth and means I'm open to suggestions or I'll come up with something when I actually think about it.

Special occassion traditions are oddly more important to my husband than me ("Tuesday" is as good a reason as any to celebrate for me), so we've had a conversation about what we'll celebrate so there is no confusion. Communication actually works pretty well. Who knew?

Posted by: moreta [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 5:36 AM

Most of Amy's reply seems to be about why the LW should not care about her birthday. I think that is missing the point. She does care, and it takes surprisingly little effort to treat someone and make them feel special. The payback (not just in bed) is well worth it. As Amy says, "your birthday’s important to you, and if you’re important to a guy, he’ll find a way to remember it." Just like, if football's important to your man, his girl will go along and cheer for him even if she doesn't know one end of a ball from the other. It's not necessary that both partners have identical value systems. In fact, it's boring when they do.

Holding birthdays an important is a part of the LW's personality; and compared to what she might have, it's a pretty mild trait. If two people can't cherish that level of difference in one another, what are they doing together?

Posted by: Norman [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 6:17 AM

I got the personal pronouns all mixed up in that last post. Hope it makes sense.

Posted by: Norman [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 6:18 AM

I'm curious what she means by "He then lost his temper."

As far as guys remembering special days. If they are important to her then there really is not excuse for forgetting in the modern day. There are freaking web site that will contact you for free and remind you that a special occasion is coming up.
The LW is not concerned with remembering the day but how the event is commemorated. This goes back to the general advice you give. Find someone who has the same values as you. He didn't forget so I'm thinking one of three possibilities.
1) She expects a freaking monumental celebration for her birthday (balloons and circus animals).
2) He to cheap to spend money on her or possibly anyone.
3) He may have been reading some of those female psych books or relationship advice books and decided that she would prefer effort over expense.

I'm leaning towards the first one because " My birthday was that Monday, and he only took me out as an afterthought." So he did take her out. What more does she want from the guy?

Posted by: vlad [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 6:19 AM

Been married 10 years now. The first couple of my wife's birthdays went pretty good. About the 3rd or 4th one, somehow, I didn't quite fulfill her expectations - with a response something like the LW. She was mostly sad, but a little teary and a tad cold. She actually said that her birthday was really important to her. So, since I am just nuts about this woman, and since she fulfills my needs to a "T" - I decided right then that her birthday would be very important to me also. If it's important to her, it dang well ought to be important to me. Now we have discovered another couple - all 4 of our birthdays are within 2 weeks, so we get together in the middle somewhere and make a really BIG deal out of it.

Posted by: jonathan [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 6:50 AM

A week or so before one of her birthdays, my wife said, "Don't get me anything for my birthday, okay?"

I said okay.

The next day in a committee meeting where the other members were women, I mentioned that conversation and said, "Can I assume that what she really means is 'Get me something for my birthday'?" They assured me I could assume that.

So I did.

Posted by: Axman at January 9, 2008 7:19 AM


Hey moreta, where are you from, because I want to move there if the women are as straight up as you.

I had a previous relationship that always left me anxious and second guessing myself of whether I was doing something she would consider appropriate. Odd how I would get an average response when something is done (the way she wanted/expected) but quite a price to pay when it isn't!!

I can see the "lost his temper" comment coming more from absolute frustration not him being an angry type of person. How do you go from "I'll wait up" to pissed off without some external nagging force?

Hopefully LW takes Amy's advice or she will burn through so many relationships to the point that she will eventually have to look within instead of blaming others.

How she signs off on this letter (Present Dilemma) is quite revealing to me. It screams "this is going to be one hell of a drawn-out train wreck". All aboard!!

Posted by: kbling at January 9, 2008 7:22 AM

I would hope if you do like birthdays and celebrating his is an indication you do, he'd keep that in mind in courting you. However, he did! Brought her breakfast in bed, etc. Though you'd think some small gift, a cake after dinner...

The problem seems to be more the usual one. They don't know each other and are mismatched.

Posted by: Donna at January 9, 2008 8:20 AM

I'm a guy and I not only forget the birthdays of everyone I know, I forget my own birthday. One year I didn't remember until 5:00 in the afternoon. Most years I remember because my mom calls to wish me a happy birthday. Some years I happen to see something that has current date on it and that reminds me. And all the people around me expect me to remember their birthdays. Not bloody likely.

We live in a kid-centric society that turns parents into slaves for the kids desire and those who don't taxi them to 15 activities a week are bad parents. We have a legal system that automatically presumes the guilt of anyone suspected of abuse.

Combine that with the availability of abortion on demand and I suppose people are celebrating that their mother didn't look at all the snot-nose brats on the McDonald's playground and say, "to hell with that."

Posted by: Dale at January 9, 2008 8:27 AM

Awww....thanks kbling. Based on what I see around me though, I'm a bit of an anomaly. Sorry, but people do say the girls in Calgary are hot! Of course they're usually here for Stampede which is Canadian for "10 days of drinking all day long" so that might have something to do with it.

And after such a nice compliment Dale reminds me what a bad parent I am because I let my kid have free time...(note tone of sarcasm please)

Posted by: moreta [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 8:37 AM

Well,it's not only the guys, I forgot my husband's birthday two years in a row.And what does the bugger go and do? Gets me gold earrings for mine. How's that for a guilt trip?

So Dale, you can't just say it's because you're a guy. That just takes away from the rest of the male population, who, I'd say on average, are just as prone to forgetting birthdays as the REST of us.

"We live in a kid-centric society that turns parents into slaves for the kids desire and those who don't taxi them to 15 activities a week are bad parents. We have a legal system that automatically presumes the guilt of anyone suspected of abuse."

"Combine that with the availability of abortion on demand and I suppose people are celebrating that their mother didn't look at all the snot-nose brats on the McDonald's playground and say, "to hell with that." "

And, ummmm, bitter much?

Posted by: angie at January 9, 2008 8:40 AM

It really does suck when you feel someone doesn't care about you as much as you care about him or her. I like that you pointed out that he shows his "care about you" in a different way than she shows his "care about you." I made that mistake once with a person I truly loved. He was a good person who showed me his love in ways I wasn't used to, and there was not a lot of Hollywood about it either: I'd come home and my grass would be mowed, washing my truck, checking that sound in my attic, asking about my family or friends I had talked to him about. I was too stupid not to value that enough and I ended up losing him eventually. I learned a lot from that, needless to say, but I still think about him. Tough lesson to have had to learn. I don't blame it all on stories and movies; I also blame it on the idiotic way that (especially girls) like to over-exaggerate how great their partner is. It took me a while to realize they were all just lying and probably miserable. I wouldn't re-live my 20's for all the tea in China.

Posted by: kg [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 8:42 AM

And Moreta, nice to see a fellow canuck! And you wanna see drinkin, come to the Hill on Canada Day!

Posted by: angie at January 9, 2008 8:43 AM

I meant..."the way she shows hers." brainfart.

Posted by: kg [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 9:13 AM

When you get to a certain financial point, you pretty much just go out and buy what you want. My boyfriend and I are at that point right now (double income no kids), and we have plenty of extra cash. So if we see something we like we just buy it. Presents aren't really a big deal for either of us, and if we buy something for each other it doesn't really have to be or wait until a certain day, we just give it to the other person.

There have been times when he's gotten things for me for my birthday, there have been times when he hasn't. This year my Christmas gift was two weeks early and he didn't want to wait for Christmas because he was excited about it. That suits me fine because honestly, I do the exact same thing. And gifts really shouldn't be about guilt that you haven't reciprocated, they should be about being nice.

Also, guys aren't mind readers, and they can also be as dense as a pile of rocks. Going to a store and saying "Isn't this lovely? I love it so much!" and then putting it back down will NOT guarantee you will see that item in a pretty wrapped package with a bow. If you want to play games of "He knows exactly what I want but I didn't tell him" the easiest way is to just go tell a girlfriend what you want and have her relay it directly.

Posted by: Bad Kitty at January 9, 2008 9:22 AM

And, ummmm, bitter much?

And, ummmm, presumptuous much?

Posted by: Dale at January 9, 2008 9:32 AM

Most of Amy's reply seems to be about why the LW should not care about her birthday. I think that is missing the point.

I did this because it's what's interesting to me. A friend recently wrote me to thank me for my comment that I don't celebrate any holidays. They're unimportant to me. She feels the same way, and felt a bit curmudgeonly about it.

There's an expectation that birthdays are important, but ARE they? It's just the day I was born. I didn't do the work. And I, sorry if this sounds sappy, celebrate every day...try to make every day special -- just in case I'm dead tomorrow.

By "loses his temper," I think this means that she bitched the guy out for being a failure in her eyes and he responded in anger. To be expected, huh? You bitch somebody out, they get defensive. Not a good tactic.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 9:40 AM

God love you bad kitty, you got it. I'm so glad that my wife knows that too!! She comes right out and tells me what she wants because I told her right from the jump I'm not really into all that weird drama stuff. Just set it too me straight and I'm all good. Don't ge me wrong, it isn't real hard to pay attention to her and I do know I pay more than most, but she is also like Dot. She's extremely pleased when I do this but she doesn't expect it 100% of the time.

Posted by: Amax [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 9:42 AM

Everybody seems to have missed something

-The second year, I waited in vain all weekend, hoping we’d do something special (he did make me breakfast in bed on Sunday, and woke me with kisses and “Happy birthday”). My birthday was that Monday, and he only took me out as an afterthought. As I was leaving for work, he said, “I’ll wait up.” (I work late.) Hurt, I said, “I can’t believe you aren’t even taking me to dinner!”

So he took her out to a late dinner after she berated him, did she ever stop to think that perhaps he did have something planned for later that night that would hve been better than the diner? "I'll wait up" remember.
The day wasnt over, and quite frankly what kind of drama queen throws a temper tantrum because she didnt get her birthday present before noon?

I'd of lost my temper as well if someone assumed I didnt have anything planned and bitched me out for being insesitive before lunch

Posted by: lujlp at January 9, 2008 9:59 AM

I think part of LW's problem might be the two years they've been a couple. Only two years. It takes time to develop enough hyper-smell to scent out each other's unspoken intentions. Around year ten my guy and I got the hang of it, but even now in year fifteen we still miss occasionally. Our backup plan is to actually speak to one another.

My ninety year old Gran is crackerjack at remembering birthdays. She can recite the birthdays of all her friends, kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, even some of my friends from high school that I don't even see anymore. But I think she does it as mental exercise and a senility gauge, not out of sentimentality.

Posted by: Merry Q. Contrary at January 9, 2008 10:38 AM

My wife described the earrings she wanted and how much I should spend. She really likes them and I like them on her - I had no idea how generous I was!

Posted by: DaveG [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 10:44 AM

Money really doesn't have to be the issue at all - it's the thought and it just seemed like she was an afterthought to him. One year I couldn't afford anything really for my boyfriend's birthday so I baked his favorite homemade cookies, and I spent hours decorating the plain shoebox I gave them to him in, after I made him dinner. For my birthday he took me along to his cast party where he didn't introduce me to anyone, and pretty much ignored me all night. It was a very rare night out at our income levels, but that didn't make up in my eyes for the neglect. That same birthday, a different guy friend remembered what my favorite kind of cake was and brought it over, made dinner for me, and told me he was very sad he'd gone to a half-dozen stores hunting for a very cheap thing he remembered I said I loved but couldn't find (it was out of production). Guy #1 spent more money but less thought on me so I broke up with him and dated guy #2. It may be a different day for each person that's important but I agree with previous posters who say that if it's important to her, it ought to be important to him (and vice versa). I went to many performances of children's plays by myself for Guy #1, it wouldn't have killed him to at least introduce me around (would have been rude even if it weren't any particular day).

Posted by: CarinS at January 9, 2008 12:48 PM

Tell me carin would you throw a shit fit sometime in the morning before you went to work, or would you wait until it was obvious your guy forgot?

Posted by: lujlp [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 1:34 PM

My guy did not buy me anything the first 2 years for my bday - but he is just that way. They are not that important to me and I don't like him to spend money just to "get" me something. He usually gets a card now, however, he does this on days that are not my bday. For xmas this year I told him NOT to get me anything.. we have 2 kids and it is enough to concentrate on them. I really mean it when I say dont get me anything. Its just not a big deal to me. He is thoughful all year long and really that is all one can hope for or want.. at least me. These "hallmark" sales day things are just not that important. Oh wait. for xmas he didnt listen to me and got me a DELICIOUS box of dark chocolates. LOL. He is so cute.

Posted by: Melody [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 2:22 PM

"And, ummmm, presumptuous much?"

How exactly is it presumptuous to comment on the overall tone of a post?

Posted by: angie [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2008 2:46 PM

Wow, it makes me glad to be single on so many levels. Some people expect so very much, based on what? Really, this sort of thing can turn a relationship into a real pile o crap... how sad it is.

Posted by: Des at January 9, 2008 8:54 PM

Maybe it is a guy thing. Not only are most women I know conscientious to a fault about birthdays, they are professionals at selecting the perfect gift.

However, I always find myself buying the "wrong" gift, and that's assuming I remember the date. It's like a genetic abnormality. I just can't imagine what she'd like besides another Wonderbra or something hot from Victoria's Secret.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at January 9, 2008 9:13 PM

While I can sort of understand her (LW) annoyance that after two years he's not getting her an actual present, there's a whole lot more to a relationship than that. After all, she seems to be expecting it all to happen in the weekend BEFORE her birthday, which seems a little daft - wait until midnight on the actual day before you fly off the handle - cut the guy some slack!
My soon-to-be-ex husband always used to get me the most perfect gifts - even last year while he was shagging his new girlfriend behind my back. Would I prefer perfect gifts, or a man who's a bit short on inspiration but long on caring and commitment? I've no doubt you can all work that one out!

Posted by: Sian at January 10, 2008 6:03 AM

My wife, my stepdaughter, and I all have birthdays in December. As such, you tend to get ignored quite a bit from childhood on. My wife made it a point to set aside specific time for their b-days and make sure it's not confused with Christmas at all. No big stuff, we just go somewhere for dinner, then have a Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake for dessert. That, and making sure the presents don't use x-mas wrapping, is all that's required. The only downside is that you get a LITTLE tired of Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cakes by my birthday - as hard as that may sound. Simple, and no one gets mad, sad, or is expected to be a mind-reader.

Posted by: Jamie at January 10, 2008 7:18 AM

Actually TELLING people what you want - instead of acting like a spoiled brat when they don't get your "hints" or read your mind - is a beautiful thing.

Posted by: Jamie at January 10, 2008 8:27 AM

A lot of people have pointed this out but COMMUNICATION is the key here, folks. I like to celebrate holidays & birthdays. So I told my husband straight out that it was important to me. And then, in the month or so leading up to my birthday, I remind him that its coming, we make plans, and do it together. We do the same for his.

However, I re-read the LW's letter and realized that she was probably demanding a three-ring circus for her birthday. She wanted to do something on the weekend. AND she wanted to do something in the evening of her actual b-day, and she wanted more than just a dinner out. She also somehow manages to overlook his Breakfast in Bed treat on the day before, too. Breakfast in bed is better than any jewelry or gifts, man! I think that the issue isn't whether or not the LW's birthday is important to her, I think that she's got her expectations WAAAAY too high and it's become over-important.

Posted by: CornerDemon at January 10, 2008 8:55 AM

Let us rewind the clock to about when...

Dutch settlers brought the legend of Santa to New York in the 17th century - Encarta Encyclopedia

Were people that tweaked about presents back then? It would seem that corporations have given us a big, bloated sense of entitlement.

Posted by: kbling at January 10, 2008 12:20 PM

I'm a big fan of the homemade gift, and an old boyfriend and I used to give each other collages and other goofy-but-meaningful trinkets at holiday times. He was away for my birthday, so he filmed himself performing a funky arrangement of Happy Birthday on the flute, edited it and sent it via email. Awesome, right? Right. Well, he put this project together on my actual birthday, not pausing to pick up the phone for quick well-wishes. When he finally called late that evening, I was so hurt, thinking he'd forgotten, that I was really short with him. He listened to me bitch, then sadly said, "check your email" and hung up. It was then that I realised what a great gift he'd given me, but he wouldn't pick up the phone so I could thank him. And we both majored in communications. Ridiculous. I sometimes think we were all put on this planet just to make each other nuts.

Posted by: Tracy at January 10, 2008 2:06 PM


My birthday is in December as well. You really do get forgotten! As a kid, I didn't care that I would get joint birthday/Christmas presents so much (because no one HAS to give gifts and sometimes, at the end of the year, it's perhaps all they could afford) but I absolutely could not stand getting birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper! I think your stepdaughter will appreciate the steps you guys take to make sure her birthday is special. My mom did all of the things you mentioned, and it makes every birthday as a child stand out. Good job :)

Posted by: cayla at January 10, 2008 4:15 PM

I think Jonathan got it right.

There are people for whom birthdays are special. If one of those people is special to you, then it just makes simple sense to make that day special for them.

But if you concern yourself with whether or not they ought to feel that way about their birthdays instead of looking for ways to make things nice for them, then I think you really need to consider whether being in relationships is right for you.

Posted by: kirk [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 10, 2008 11:18 PM

Thanks, Kirk. If you truly love someone, then your lifetime goal is to put their interests and needs above your own. Your #1 priority is what they need and what makes them, not just happy, but truly fulfilled. And if that someone happens to be your wife, then, OH MY - do you have any idea how that will work out? Well, I have an inkling, just from my own experience. Pretty close to "heaven on earth." I love you, Shirley.

Posted by: jonathan [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2008 8:02 PM

My husband and I have been a couple for 22 years. My husband doesn't get excited about special occasions, Valentines Day, Anniversary’s, my birthday or Christmas. He’s just not wired that way. The first time he didn’t make any kind of a deal out of Valentines Day I was just crushed. The one day a year that is devoted to showing the person that you Love how special they are to you, I got nothing. Not a card, a gift, dinner, not even I Love You. Through the years it got progressively worse, no holiday gifts, no graduation celebration (I graduated at the age of 50 with a 4.0 GPA.) With excuses of ‘Sorry, it slipped up on me,’ even after a month of reminding him.

I on the other hand have always given gifts. Gifts don’t have to be expensive they can just be a home cooked meal, a ride in the country, some undivided attention.

I would try and pass it off, like for Christmas I would buy something I wanted and wrap it from him, so that I would have a gift to open; and make a big deal out of the present. Honey how did you know, It’s just what I wanted.

Last year, again I got nothing for my birthday. He was on vacation, working around the farm. He says ‘next Friday I’m going to town, I’ll get you something then.’ I drive 170 miles a day to and from work. Friday I get home with anticapation, after wondering all day what he got me, and he shows me the 2 pairs of new boots, a belt and farm implement he bought himself. I finally ask ‘What did you get me?’ ‘Oh! I’m sorry I forgot.” I blew up and told him that he was selfish, and that was just mean.

He must have taken it to heart. This year he gave me a gift 2 weeks early for Christmas.
It is a step in the right direction. I don’t want to sound like I am materialistic. I just want to feel special occasionally.

He is a good man. We both work hard for what we have.

I’m not asking for advise, I’m just saying that if your going to be a couple you have to straighten these thing out early. Don’t wait, you could be in for years of disappointment.

Posted by: Ladyleo at January 12, 2008 9:30 AM

First, Amy I love your stuff. I find it not only informative but also ground in reality, something that I think alot of people should catch up on. Sorry, I can't recommend your column to my local paper. I live in Berlin, Germany and I don't think the translation would be very good.

To all the December B-day kids out there, I to have my day in December. To be exact on the 24th, how is that for being cursed from birth on.

I to am not a great believer in the B-day fairy, I try to live my life like everyday is the last day. I bring my wife flowers at least twice a month, buy gifts for her and my son just because I feel like it and let them know that I care just when ever. I think the point I am trying to make is, stop being attached to one day. Enjoy the moment and let the people around you know that you care. SIMPLE AND TO THE POINT.

Have a good one everyone!

Posted by: MTuttle at January 13, 2008 1:00 AM

lol....at everyone. I'm reading the comments and than they turned into childhood christmas stories.

Anyways, I've been with my boyfriend for 3.5 years now. I'm a gift person, I love wrapping and giving gifts. I also feel great when I get them too. At first my boyfriend couldn't tell the difference between my birthday and that monday, which made me upset, because my mind set was "If he loved me he would care."

Men do say that we tend to try and change them or train them. I guess I've trained mines well, he hasn't forgotten my birthday since that first year but now I don't really give a crap. I mean he's so good to me all the rest of the year, that doesn't really stand out anymore.

Posted by: koua at January 14, 2008 6:21 AM

Amy, I do believe that often Men are left off the hook for failing to seduce the ones they love... Seduction means being into that person and what turns them on... Men grow old in relationships because they fail or stop seducing...

Perhaps you could speak to this.

Posted by: Peter at January 14, 2008 3:12 PM

I think a lot of people get lazy in relatioships. Women stop taking care of their looks and get bitchy, men get lazy about continuing to seduce/pursue the woman. It's just that the laziness plays out differently in each gender.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 14, 2008 4:23 PM

And/or vice versa.

Posted by: Liz at January 18, 2008 11:13 AM

Marriage has so many potential pitfalls to contend with that make birthdays seem like small potatoes. A little perspective is useful here. Yes, gifts are nice, but often not to our taste and then we have to explain why we never use them! I know, we should anyway, as my mother always did, but it's hard to wear something you hate. But my point is, in the big picture what's more important, the occasional thoughtful gift or the daily knowledge that your man will never let you down in all the important ways? Some people have both -- lucky them!

Posted by: Pussnboots at January 22, 2008 10:07 PM

oh man, december birthdays SUCK! There should be no unprotected sex from February to April! My mom and one of my daughter's is in December, and the other daughter is in january. (Mine's in August...)

Sometimes you can get in a rut, and stuck for a birthday present that shows that you pay attention to your spouse. When that person buys the books or other minor things they want the day they hit the shelf, hates when you buy them clothes ("do you really think my ass is this wide?" OR, "what kind of slut do you think I am?"), threatens to kill you if you buy one more dust collecting knick-knack, and considers most restaraunts either a health hazard, politically incorrect or both, you're kinda stuck.

I've made sure the kids picked out a birthday present for my ex, a card, helped wrap it, and sent it with them to visit, but she lacks the class to reciprocate, so I'm stuck wondering if I should let that practice quietly die. (She's also crass enough to tell them that she sent x-mas presents, and claim I sent them back.)

I like to cook, so I'll make a really rich dessert, at the least, for any of my friends or relatives birthday. It's a few bucks worth of chocolate and an evening's work, but the genuine surprise and delight is worth it. (by a few bucks, the last one, a 3 layer mousse, had 29oz of chocolate in it. And don't ask about strawberries out of season!).

FWIW - Most men consider a pound of barbeque a thoughtful gift.

Posted by: Offended_Dad at February 13, 2008 6:02 PM

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