The Bloke: Another valiant attempt to achieve the impossible

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IT’S that time of year again when we men emerge half-blinking in the wintry sunshine and venture forth in another valiant attempt to achieve the impossible, all the while resisting the urge to utter the immortal words, “she’s about the same size as you” to the attractive woman in the lingerie department (in an ironic, knowing way, of course).

Yes, it’s Christmas shopping time. That two-week window of panic, confusion and a bit more panic that sees blokes up and down the land descend on the shops with little more than an inkling of an ideal budget and vague thoughts of maybe buying our other halves a nice new coat or possibly even a pair of earrings.

After an hour of aimless drifting from store window to store window, these thoughts are invariably superceded by a complete crisis of confidence that culminates in the purchase of the second most expensive gift pack in the Body Shop and a retreat to McDonalds for a well-earned Big Mac meal.

I read some survey the other week that had found that most women have given up on their husband or boyfriend buying them something they actually like for Christmas.

That’s harsh. But women really only have themselves to blame.

You see we men, as women really should have worked out by now, don’t do subtlety and nuance.

Drop as many hints as you like that you’ve got your heart set on a new handbag, unless you actually say the words “I want a new handbag” the chances are you’re not going to get one.

The Missus, to her credit, finally grasped this a couple of years ago when she gently clarified a few things on the issue of festive gift-buying.

“You know you often get me CDs and DVDs for Christmas?” she enquired on night as we sat watching TV.

“Yep,” I said, nodding my head while mentally patting myself on the back for choosing presents that had been so thoroughly enjoyed.

“Erm, can you not do that this year please?”

And that, unfortunately, is where the present-buying advice pretty much stopped.

It forced me to abandon the safe haven of books, CDs and DVDs – things men actually know something about – and shoved me back into the unforgiving world of tinted moisturisers, boots that come in a million different styles and perfumes that may all smell the same to us but apparently vary between “gorgeous” and “repugnant”.

So I’ll be out there with you my brothers, wearing the same grim expression and wishing I was anywhere but the womenswear section of House of Fraser, preferably the pub.

Still, I’m sure all the misery and self-doubt will be worth it come Christmas Day when our loved ones unwrap the presents we’ve chosen for them and utter those magical words: “You did keep the receipt, didn’t you?”


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