Superior Gifting Moments, Part II
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Over the millennia, humans have devised many methods of communication: Heiroglyphics. Smoke signals. Moveable type. But in our day, none have become so subtle or problematic as the holiday gift.
Now each clever earring, each art object, each exquisite gadget must convey not just our love and our personality, but some highly specific message: "I respect your taste. I honor your inner child. I'm still feeling a little angry about last night, but I'll get over it by New Year's."
And really, as we become more and more highly trained consumers, able to draw from the talent of the whole earth, we should be able to find just the right nuance.
Still, I often see otherwise decisive urban men and women standing confused at the counters of small, hip boutiques. I see them thinking: "Sure, this sweater is stylishly overpriced. Sure it's made with fair trade Alpaca. But does it imply…too much commitment?"
You need expert advice.
That's why I introduced the Urban Man Signature Holiday Catalog for 2007, and why I'm plugging it again this week. You see, in my catalog, I carefully explain the message hidden within every gift. Full product descriptions explain how each tennis bracelet, each hand-woven throw, each timeless timepiece expresses not just your affection, but your gentle criticism, your grudging respect, your hopeful regard, or bitter regret.
Take the cuff links on page 16. These feature his initials cut from sterling silver, and come in two distinct sizes.
Select the half-inch initials, and you're saying that while you admire his drive, you know your relationship is really all about him—and your girlfriend Tori is probably right when she says it won't work out.
On the other hand, select the full two-inch monogram cuff links, cover them with rhinestones, and suddenly they become bling. They become hip hop. You're saying, "To hell with Tori. In this town, it's the ride that counts."
How much clearer could a gift get?
On the facing page, you'll find colorful bamboo mats handmade in some Southeast Asian nation. These say, "I appreciate that you're vaguely spiritual and globally responsible…but if someday you grow up and throw these ratty things in the back of a closet, I really won't mind."
Or how about the complete works of the late Norman Mailer? Buy this set and you're saying: "Okay, yes, I'm literary—but not, as you claim, overly intellectual."
And guys, for your best girl, how about something passive-aggressive this year? On page six, we recommend the Nutcracker Ballet Fabergé egg. When opened, it plays the Nutcracker suite and reveals a spinning dancer with nice pecs. But here's the kicker: Around the egg, lovely artwork depicts Herr Drosselmeyer offering the nutcracker not to Clara, but to…your girlfriend, who has been painted right into the picture through the miracle of digital laser etching! Her own mother will be there, too, serving the damn eggnog. It shows you comprehend her innermost soul—including her wish that you were some kind of over-cultured prince jumping around her living room in tights.
Of course, maybe you really do want to express…love. And perhaps you recall searching endless nighttime malls for some handbag or technical wonder which would effectively explain your affection: only to find that when the package got opened, her delight was less than comprehending, his smile less than knowing.
Maybe this year you're wondering… "Am I expecting too much from my gifting moments? Should I just invite her for a mug of coffee, a long walk on a beach, or offer a warm embrace on a chilly city evening? Should I just say what I mean?"
Let me advise you…No.
Like other retail professionals, the Urban Man urges you to keep faith with the system and learn to express yourself ever more effectively with Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.
Have a great holiday.
Copyright © 2007 Marc Porter Zasada. All Rights Reserved.
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