Heater, Mother of Lance

Working on a language of love

I just finished going through about 150 emails in one of my five different inboxes—yes, five. Don’t look at me like that. You cannot possibly be shocked. If you have been reading me at all—even if you just started reading me at the beginning of this paragraph—you know full well that I have no idea what I’m doing. And I have no poker face. And I startle easily. And I’m allergic to dairy. These among all my other finest qualities are listed in my online dating profiles along with, “I can boil water like no one’s business.”

Why do I have five different inboxes? I don’t even know how to answer that question. That’s like asking a dog, “What happened at the beginning of time?” And expecting him to answer you by drawing a diagram. Some people and businesses still contact me through old addresses, and sometimes those emails are super important. Like the one I got from the first serious boyfriend I ever had—the one whose student loans I started paying off while he chose to remain unemployed—in which he apologized for being so lazy during our time together and credits me with inspiring him to work so hard that he now holds a lead designer position at one of the biggest gaming companies in the country. I don’t think I ever got around to responding to him, but I wanted to say, “Oh yeah? You know what I credit you with? Teaching me that I should never count on a man to support me financially! Thank you!

Of those 150 emails that I sifted through today, about 25% of them were pitching me products to feature in holiday gift guides. This is the time of year when any blogger or “influencer” is inundated with emails like these, and most of the time people get my name right. I get the occasional, “Dear Blogger!” Which I far prefer over, “Hi, Sarah!” or, “Hello Hannah!” It’s always Sarah or Hannah, and sometimes they will even call me Sarah Anderson. They’re supposed to be addressing me as Wondrous Being of Light and Splendor, but I forgive them and usually respond with, “Hello. Here is a link to my Wikipedia page. All my best, Sarah Anderson.”

I am planning to put together a few gift guides for the holidays, and the ones I make for guys always give me a panic attack. Have you ever taken the five languages of love quiz? You basically answer a whole bunch of questions and it tells you how you like to express and receive love, and it’s broken out into five “languages”: gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. I highly recommend taking the quiz because, whoa, did it ever open my eyes to all the ways certain relationships just couldn’t work out. It also gave me a whole bunch of insight into how I parent, how I interact with friends, and it explained certain professional dynamics. I am not affiliated with that quiz in any way, I just brought it up to tell you that I have taken it four different times and each and every single time I take it I score a giant ZERO in gift giving.

ZERO. Zilch. Nil. Nada. Rien de la gift giving.

And it’s super true! I HATE getting gifts. Like, I’d rather strip naked and jiggle on a jumbotron at a Utah Jazz game than unwrap a present in front of the person who gave it to me. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable or awkward. This also means that I am terrible at giving gifts. I am the worst gift giver and I will readily admit this OH MY GOD. I am The Valedictorian Of Being Horrible At Gift Giving. And I was once in a relationship with someone whose top language of love was gift giving. It stressed me out so badly that as Christmas approached I would start having daily panic attacks, because A) what the hell was I supposed to get him to top what I had given him last time, and B) HOW, WHEN I AM OPENING THE GIFTS HE GOT FOR ME, DO I PREVENT MYSELF FROM REACTING AS IF I AM BEING WATERBOARDED?

This right here is a photographic reenactment of my worst nightmare:

I know I am not alone in this, there has to be more than one Scored Zero In Gift Giving out there. But when I am forced to think about giving and receiving gifts, I try to think of what I’d actually want from someone. And this is what knowing this about me has made me realize: I actually like gifts when they are unexpected or useful. The useful part sort of blurs into the “acts of service” language, and all the times my mother has shown up to my house with a package of toilet paper or secretly done all my laundry? Best gifts ever! Someone just offered to take my car in to have the oil changed? Far better than opening a box to find a diamond-studded necklace sitting inside. If you think I am joking ask any single parent out there if that is not straight up TRUTH. ORGASMIC TRUTH.

I am also at my best gift giving when I have family or friends over looking at all the stuff people send me, and I’m like, you know. I am not ever going to use that, would you like to have it? And some of you are like, no. That is not gift giving, Heather. Knock, knock, no one’s home, Heather. Wake up, you jerk.

Except, you don’t know what people send me. Holy crap. I could have a side business on eBay selling all this stuff, but that would be stupid given that my nieces wear all the clothing I get sent that either isn’t my size or my style. A meal delivery service once sponsored my podcast and offered to send me three weeks of meals during a time when I was going to be traveling, so I had it sent to my nephew who likes to cook. I have this bounty here, and the best way I know how to give is to invite people in and share this bounty.

I am terrible at figuring out what to give people, so instead I’m like, “Come raid my mail! Ignore the porn I ordered!”

I’m pretty sure most of my guides this holiday season are going to be filled with subscription services (see: “acts of service”), and the first time ButcherBox sent me a box to see if I wanted to promote it I gave away half of it to my sister. And it fed her family for a week. If I were still in that relationship with that guy who loved to give gifts, I’d sign him up for a ButcherBox subscription with a card that said, “Please don’t give me anything in return. I’m begging you.

I asked ButcherBox to partner with me if they were going to be offering any promotions between now and the holiday season for this very reason. And starting today they are offering new customers two free 6oz Filet Mignon steaks and $11 off their 1st ButcherBox. This offer ends Tuesday, October 31st at Midnight PST. This offer is limited, exclusive, and time-sensitive.

ButcherBox Filet Mignons are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished and raised free from antibiotics and hormones. And again, ButcherBox prides itself on partnering with small, independent farmers and wants to promote sustainability in farming first and foremost. This is crucial now more than ever given that the President is trying to enact legislation to hurt The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA):

And now I have just spoiled the surprise of what I’m getting my family for the holidays. Guess what, conservative family! I’m helping you support independent, family farming like conservatives USED to do! YOU WILL BE EATING LIKE A LIBERAL. DEAL WITH IT.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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