Friday, April 1, 2011

Article: The Art of Gift-Giving

Throughout this blog I will offer plenty of tips regarding gifts. Gifts, whether large or small, low-budget or costly, are very important within the romance dynamic, and I thought I should take the time now, at the beginning of this entire blog, to explain, in general, exactly why.

Most of mainstream culture tends to offer gifts, or presents (note: the word ‘present’ when referring to offering something to someone, remove it from your vocabulary immediately! The difference between a gift and a present is that a present is obligatory and requires a sort of mutual exchange, whereas a gift is given on a circumstantial basis and does not require anything back outside of a show of gratitude and/or thanks) to family members, friends, and/or loved ones on specific occasions or holidays (either religious or commercial) as a gesture of kindness. This stems back to tribal or even pre-historic times when an “offering” or “sacrifice” was made to show respect and loyalty. The same principles hold true today when it comes to gift-giving within a romance…but what most people don’t realize is that it goes much deeper than a token gesture of gratitude…much, much deeper!

Whether between boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, or between plain friends, the act of the “non-occasion” gift holds an element of power! Now, don’t get me wrong…this isn’t a competition about who buys the better gift, or who frequently gives more gifts than the other (although, I will address that issue at a later post)…no, the power that the non-occasion gift has is that this tangible thing you gave…this gift, is a representation of you! It screams, “HEY! This person was thinking of you! Pay attention!” Well…maybe it doesn’t scream…but it definitely whispers in one’s ear. Let me explain. In seduction and romance, it is important to be constantly in your lover’s mind…a distraction, if you will. Do you know the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind?” Well, nothing can be more true in this case! Pure, passionate love requires that thoughts of the loved one consumes one’s mind to the point of “distraction” (notice I didn’t write “obsession,” that would be stalkery), and oddly enough, gifts stem from that notion, but also help fuel it!

On the one hand, a gift, especially the non-occasion one, will prove to your significant other that at one point of the day you took the time, effort, and money (no matter how much) to put together a gift especially tailored for them…and that will make them feel…yup, you guessed it: SPEH-CHUL! On the other hand however, said gift, especially if it something wildly whimsical and fun (that is to say: NOT a gift card to Walmart) will serve as a constant visual cue to remind your lover’s about your thoughtfulness when you aren’t present (meaning not around…the right way to use the word) and thus will be in be in his/her mind…a distraction. See how wonderful that works out? Notice how when couples break-up they typically pile all of those gifts and trinkets into a box and stuff it in a dark corner of a closet…or in some cases when it comes to us Goths, up in a blazing bonfire on a full moon night…Out of sight, out of mind.

Next issue: Gift caliber. There are three criteria a gift can fall into:
1)     Pricey or Thrifty
2)     Creative or Standard
3)     Practical or Whimsical

Pricey or Thrifty: First off, it really is up to the individual gift-giver to gauge what is pricey for him or her…to some $1,000 is the equivalent of three weeks pay, to others it’s what they wipe their butts with in the morning (I’m looking at you, two percenters)! But for the sake of argument here, I’m going to declare anything over $200 as a pricey gift item, ok? A pricey gift, while flattering and impressive can be a bit daunting, especially early on in the relationship, and even more so if unwarranted! Buy a girl a spider shaped diamond encrusted brooch on the second date and warning signals are bound to go off! Trust me…I know… Did you ever read somewhere that each anniversary year the gifts exchanged are to be of a particular type? Paper for the first year, leading up to diamond for the 50th anniversary of wedlock (funny word, wedlock)…yeah? Well there is a reason for that. Apply that same list within your relationship’s gift-giving practices. Now, unless you are dating a gold-digger, the thriftier gift will actually hold more clout, especially if it is creative…which brings us to our next category…

Creative or Standard: Let me start with the “standard” type of gift. Sure, you can always catch the hint that your man needs a new belt, or your lady would just love to have the latest Justin Beiber CD! Sure…pretty run-of-the-mill stuff…blah! YAWN! The creative gift however is where the real magic lives! It’s beyond the “thinking of you” gift; it’s the “I made this just for you” gift…and that speaks VOLUMES!!! And if you are not a particular creative person (although as a Goth, you should be, even just a little…comes with the territory), don’t fret. I’ll have many step-by-step creative gift and creative gift packaging tips explained in full detail in future posts…I’m not telling you to turn into Van Gogh or anything…although, the ear thing…quite a statement!

Practical or Whimsical: This is a pet peeve category for me. Imagine, you are turning ten years old, and on your birthday, your very own special day, your heart is really set on a non-practical, fantastical toy. You are handed a large, beautifully wrapped box and you tear into it like a ravenous wolf…only to find…twelve pairs of socks! Behold, the practical gift! Or in this case, and actual “present.” (side note: for some real fun, as a practical joke, actually do this to a ten year old on their birthday followed by a better gift…the reaction is priceless…make sure you get it on video!) As another example, try giving your mom a vacuum cleaner or a blender (especially if unrequested) on Mother’s day…see how that flies. On the flip side, the whimsical gift serves no other purpose than to amuse and/or tantalize. Gag gifts and novelties are the best for this…the cuter the better! But be aware, it must be within the relative context! Meaning that the whimsical gift must symbolize something to the gift receiver. For example, your boy/girlfriend once mentioned over dinner that he/she went to a strict catholic school when younger, and ever since they have been terrified of nuns. One day, weeks later, you walk into a random store and spot one of those wind-up toy nuns that walk and spits out sparks from its mouth like Godzilla. BINGO!!! See where I’m heading here? Don’t get me wrong…there is a time and a place for the practical gift…but only when it is desperately needed . Your girlfriend calls you and complains that her favorite, and only black cauldron suddenly broke in two…well then, take the hint!

So, let’s recap: Pricey or Thrifty; Creative or Standard; Practical or Whimsical. I want you, when you are planning out a gift, to mix and match these three criteria to formulate the proper and perfect gift. Make a project out of it! It can be thrifty/creative/practical or pricey/standard/whimsical, etc. (If you are still a bit confused I will give you better, more precise examples in later blog tips…trust me.)

Lastly, while all of this might sound very scientific, contrived, and formulaic, it shouldn’t…I just had to break it down and lay out the basics of gift-giving. It is up to you to take this information and make into a sort of second nature to help propel your opportune relationship. As you constantly have your lover as a welcomed distraction in your mind, you should always be on the look-out for potential gift ideas throughout your daily…*Ahem*…I meant, nightly lives!

See you in the Dark!
Sir William Welles

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