If he got me socks you’ll hear all about it

At the beginning of the holiday Baby Jesus season when Jon and I first began talking about what gifts we were going to buy for everyone I gave him a clear cut list of things I did not want him to get me. This list is pretty much consistent from year to year and includes 1) jewelry, 2) clothing, and 3) furniture upholstered in denim. Items one and two can make dazzling gifts if the person who gives them to you is yourself. Item three shouldn’t ever be given to anyone unless they are permanently unconscious and even then only if the recipient is blind.

Jon has occasionally bought me a pair of earrings or a sweater that fit my taste perfectly, but the potential for disaster involving these items is astronomical and I just don’t want to risk it. Someone once gave me a green velvet pantsuit that I was too embarrassed to give away at a yard sale because I thought someone would see it and make a sweeping judgment on my character, that I was the type of person who kept pantsuits in my wardrobe and perhaps hung pictures of Anglo Saxon Jesus over the couch.

Yesterday we were out buying last minute presents for sisters and cousins and coprophagous pets when Jon casually mentioned that I might not like one of the presents he got me. “It’s a long story,” he said. “You’ll like the rest of them, but this one… I’m not sure.”

“Did you get me something I told you not to?”

“Not exactly.”

“NOT EXACTLY? I told you not to get me any clothes, Jon. Did you get me a pair of socks?”

“It’s not socks. You’ll just have to see.”

“Why would you do that?”

He didn’t answer me, and after finding a parking space we headed into Williams-Sonoma to buy a set of dishcloths to give to one of his sisters. When she opens them on Christmas morning we can say, “These aren’t just any dishcloths. They’re EXPENSIVE dishcloths. Makes you love them more, doesn’t it?”

As we approached the cashier he asked me, “Why are you mad at me?”

“I’m not mad at you,” I said through clenched teeth. “But I don’t understand why you would buy me something that I explicitly told you not to.”

“So that I can say that I did and watch you squirm,” he said.

After the cashier rung up our gift I checked his hand to see if he was married. I noticed a wide gold band on his left hand and asked him, “You’re married, right?”

He looked confused and nodded his head almost unnoticeably.

“Let’s say your wife gave you a list of things she didn’t want for Christmas. Would YOU go out and buy her one of those things? And if so, why? WHY?”

I have a pretty good knack for accidentally making people uncomfortable, but I outdid myself with that cashier. Suddenly his brain started to ooze out of his ear and he began shuddering. The longer I waited for an answer the louder the hissing whimper that escaped the small opening between his lips. Several people were waiting in line behind us, so I didn’t press him further for an answer and we walked back to the car.

“What just happened in there?” I asked Jon in the parking lot. “Why wouldn’t he play along?”

“Did you see the look on his face, Heather? He looked like he hadn’t had a blow job in six years. I don’t think he’s worried about whether or not he bought his wife the wrong gift. He’s wondering whether or not his wife will ever agree to look at him naked.”