Yes, this is another re-post of a post from yore. Instead of thinking I’m lazy and can’t come up with something new to write about, think of it more as a public service announcement for gift giving this upcoming holiday season. Feel free to pass it along to past violators. You can thank me later. Cheers!
‘Know Thy Intended Receiver of Your Gift’ should be one of the Commandments. If not a Commandment then put it in the Pledge of Allegiance, wedding vows or better yet, in some signed document where your signature acknowledges that you’ve read and agree with the rule. Noncompliance can result in separation: family, friend or spouse. You may say, “Oh, but isn’t that a bit harsh, even for a soft butch?” And I would answer, “Hell, no.” I’m doing this as a common good for humanity because no one, with the exception of rightfully convicted felons, should be made to suffer as I have.
Many years ago while sk, my gal pal, and I still lived in Chicago, we had a great gay friend, RR. Please notice that sentence is past tense. He was truly a great friend. We enjoyed each others company 2 to 3 times a week, whether we met for coffee and card games or dinner and dessert. Sk and I both took him under our lesbian mother-like wings. Our house was a second home for him. So one would think he knew us very well.
Apparently he was another one of those people who gives a gift of what they like without considering their intended target. We all know or have someone in the family that fits that description, right? They may give someone their favorite cd, DVD or cologne. Why? Unless you know that person would enjoy your favorite items, keep them for yourself. Or the very least you can do is to include a gift receipt. And do not, I repeat do not, make it a participatory gift. If you have never heard a person talk about going to the ballet or wishing they could go see a ballet or fondly remembering the time they went to see a ballet then for the love of God, do not take them to see a ballet. You will be the only one enjoying the show. Meanwhile the person you surprised with those tickets will curse your very existence the entire time and will try to determine the validity of your relationship, even if you do buy them a drink at intermission.
The phone rang one evening, sk answered. I could tell by the sound of her voice that whoever was on the other end of the line was making her very happy. Once she hung up, she immediately explained to me how our dear friend, RR, had a gift for us. He refused to say what it was, only that we were to meet for dinner prior to the surprise. We tried to get hints. Was there a dress code? What part of the city were we meeting for dinner? What time was dinner? What time did this gift begin? Nothing. He definitely piqued our interests so we enjoyed a few days of anticipation.
One weekend, we met RR for dinner and while eating we managed to piece together that the event had to be located at the theatre closest to us, which was 3 or 4 blocks away. We couldn’t think of a new film we wanted to see. This theatre also had a bowling alley, bar and restaurant. None of those things could accurately apply to us at that time. Sk and I finally gave in to the realization that we didn’t have a clue what this gift could be.
After dinner we all walked over to the theatre, no surprise there. RR already had the tickets so we didn’t have time to stand there and look at the posters for what was playing or coming soon. We were a bit early so RR was able to get the best seats available. As we sat there amusing ourselves, the seats began to fill up. I didn’t pay much attention to who those folks were. That is one of my bad habits; I don’t pay attention to those around me unless I make it a point.
Then the lights lowered. I noticed the electricity that seemed to fill the room in anticipation. Looking back, I also remember thinking what a nice smelling, mostly male, group we were. We watched several previews. After each one, sk and I put our heads together to say whether or not we wanted to watch that movie when it was released. Again, the lights lowered. Time for our main attraction.
It also appeared to be time for applause and giddy laughter by those all around us. Sk and I just silently looked at each other. The object of their affection flashed onto the screen and the applause grew. A few gasps could be heard by those directly around us. Our friend brought us, two lesbians, to watch Celine Dion‘s Las Vegas concert. A taped version mind you.
The queens were applauding during a taped concert. Granted we used to tease sk that she was a gay man trapped in a lesbian body but even this was too much for her. I kept trying to get my friend’s attention on the other side of sk, hoping for some explanation, but he was too busy sitting on the edge of his seat all aglow and mouthing the words of the songs.
I don’t remember much of the first part of the concert. I was too busy discreetly consulting with sk as to what was going through our friend’s brain when he thought we of all people would enjoy watching this show, with or without him. It was obvious we were in it for the long haul so I settled into my chair and tried to think happy thoughts. Even the clapping after each song quit bothering me towards the end. Up to that point I felt like standing up and yelling, “You realize she can’t hear you. This is not a real concert. This is not even a live feed so stop your applauding after each frickin’ song.”
It turns out sk was able to find some interest in the show. Members of the Cirque du Soleil stood in as her back-up dancers/entertainers. I’ll admit, they were good. I was almost to the point where I could have said something positive about this experience other than “I’m positive this is the worst gift/surprise/show/concert/display of friendship I’ve every had the pleasure of experiencing.” But it was about this point I heard sniffling. That was weird. I heard it again, this time louder because more people were doing it. I looked around. Tissues were being passed to strangers in need of one. Celine Dion had managed to move those men to tears. I just sat there and shook my head.
I tell you this story in hopes that there is a lesson to be had from my pain. The holiday season is upon us and we, as the gift givers, want the recipient to be happy or enjoy what we select or make for them. I also understand we are all very busy but if there is one thing that is free in life it’s time. Please take the time to consider your gifts. If you have picky or difficult people, most teenagers and retirees come to mind, to buy for, as much as it hurts me to type this, money (gift cards too) are usually welcomed. Money is always the right size and color and then they can purchase exactly what they want.
I wish we could all make donations in the names of our recipients to charities that focus on something important in their lives. I would like to think this gift would make people the happiest. . .but I know this to be false. So until then, put some thought into those gifts and if all else fails, money will do.
Please note, I wrote this in jest and carry no ill will towards Celine Dion. Also, this experience is not the reason for our friendship to dissolve with RR.