Everybody loves to receive gifts, including me. In fact, I think that buried deep down inside, I prefer receiving gifts over giving gifts. But of course, it’s not socially acceptable to admit such a thing.
The thing though, is that the only way to ever receive a gift is to give one in the first place. For every gift-gotten, a ‘giver’ had to have been on the other end. As such, I made the decision that this year would see me start giving a little more, spreading a little extra joy, randomly, thoughout the year. The question I had though, was: Who should I give to, and what, exactly, should I give?
I’ll spare the finer details of the brainstorming and elimination processes and instead just let it be known that I decided to focus giving gifts to the men in my life. Yes, that’s right, I decided to start man-gifting. From fathers and brothers, to friends and co-workers, I chose men because quite frankly, we are the most under-gifted category of human beings. Women? Children? Girlfriends? Grandmothers? They’re always receiving gifts – always. Men on the other hand are the forgotten ones. Like wisps of smoke or the last shimmering beam of a setting sun, the gifts we receive are fleeting, precious and rare.
So in consideration of this, I decided to make the men in my life a priority and throughout the year, start surprising them with random gifts. The biggest problem however, is that it’s kind of weird for one man to randomly give another man a gift, unless they’re in a romantic relationship. Traditionally, men are frugal with their emotions and in terms of gift-giving – especially as an act of kindness and friendship – a certain type of awkward masculine intimacy exists. So to avoid this, it’s necessary to get creative.
For my first attempt, I decided to man-gift a friend that lives, coincidentally, in my apartment building. I knew he was a massive hockey fan and that he had been mourning the NHL lockout quite heavily. So after the news broke that the lockout was over, I thought “Bingo!”, this is the perfect opportunity to launch my quest. What better way to man-gift than to unsuspectingly mark the return of his favourite sport with a game-night snack-pack with “Congratulations on your New Arrival: The 2013 NHL Season!!!” written on it. Inside the snack-pack (which by the way, was gifted inside a black box because black is the “manliest” of colours), I included the following:
– six pack of beer
– frozen pizza
– bag of chips
– beef jerky
– pepperoni sticks
– chocolate bar
And how did I deliver this manly man-gift? Not with ribbons and bows or with a grand presentation. Instead it was done with stealth and surprise. I waited until a game-night, crept up to his apartment, placed the box in front of his door, knocked loudly and then sped off down the stairwell. And how did my buddy respond to receiving this unexpected offering? Well, he figured that it must have been me, as we live in the same building and as a such, immediately texted me the following: “Hey, man. Assuming the snacks were from you. Thanks for the gift! Big game tonight. Go Sens!”.
It was, perhaps, a less than fulfilling response but remember, fulfillment isn’t the reason we’re supposed to gift. It’s altruism, right? Besides, if you really think about it, a muted response should probably be the expected outcome of man-gifting, as us men are so rarely the recipients of random acts of kindness that we don’t know how to respond when it occurs. Regardless, for me it felt good; beginning my quest to spread gift-giving to those who need it the most: men.
At present, I’m already planning my next round of man-gifting; in which a muscle car, a bottle of scotch and a shooting range are being considered. Whether to include them all in one gift is the question.