A thought came upon me while exchanging Christmas gifts with my mother this year. It happened as I was opening yet another wrapped box of clothing that wasn’t quite what I would have chosen for myself:
Someone needs to write a handbook geared for mothers of gay men.
(If there isn’t one already, that is.)
And there needs to be an extensive chapter on what and what not to give a gay man as prezzies.
And then someone needs to give said handbook to my mother. For while I love her to pieces and she means well, she doesn’t fare well at gift giving.
Part of this I blame on my living 3.5 hours away. She doesn’t see me all the time and has really no idea what I would like or even need. Case in point– clothes.
Buying clothes for a gay man is a risky proposition even when you ARE a gay man yourself. Which is why– EVERY YEAR– I tell my mother “Please, don’t buy me any clothes.”
I go on to explain that as I need clothes throughout the year, I tend to purchase them myself. So I don’t need any. And if I haven’t expressly asked for anything, you are going to be totally in the dark.
This never seems to sink in, as evidenced by the multiple years of her purchasing me lumberjack plaid shirts in a myriad of colors. And while I like a good plaid shirt (which none of these technically were) she unfortunately also doesn’t know my size anymore, so all of these shirts were unwearable after precisely 1 washing. (I have extraordinarily long arms)
Goodwill tends to get lots of nice donations from me.
There should also be a special section on bedding. My mother also got me a bedding set for Christmas. And while the sheets *are* 700 thread count, they are also in a lovely, light putty/taupe color.
This color (a) really doesn’t match my decor, and (b) will show every Santorum stain, should there unfortunately be any. And while this may be a bit delicate to try to explain to a mother of a gay, I think it really needs to be done.
Mom also tends to get me toiletries as stocking stuffers. Most of which are good (Mach 3 razor blades, burt’s bees lip balm, toothpaste, etc) but then she’ll get me lotion. She knows I use Aveda products, but insists on getting me Curel.
Worse yet, she buys me deodorant.
Buying a gay guy something with a scent in it that he wears is like the riskiest proposition of all, yet each year I get some random Old Spice antiperspirant stick.
I know this completely comes off as me being ungrateful, and I’m really not. I love my mother so much, and I’ve tried to gently steer her clear of these pitfalls so that disappointment can be avoided and her pocketbook saved.
And I know that these gifts are just her way of trying to stay connected with her adult son who doesn’t visit nearly often enough. She wants to feel necessary in my life still, and I get that.
However, I really just don’t want her wasting her money on me. She’s getting ready for retirement and should be saving, not spending. I’d much rather just give her gifts and watch her open them.
The looks on her face would be plenty enough for me.
But Mom isn’t a total lost cause. She did get me that iron planter thing (again, buying a gay man home decor stuff is risky as hell) but I LOVE it.
So, I guess it is nice to be surprised by your mom once in a while. But the Handbook chapter on surprising your gay son would be cray-cray hard to write, no?