Presents. Again.

OK, so last time I posted, I had a huge rant about wishlists and suggestions and buying from the heart. Well, I’ve been forced to revise my position a bit, because it seems no-one knows what to buy anyone this year. They don’t have a clue, in fact. That’s not very good, is it?

It seems amazing that you can know someone all their life, spend hours with them every day, talk to them all the time and still not be able to competently choose a present for them. I used to think it was because people were useless, or lazy, and didn’t want to put the thought in. But I think I was wrong. It seems buying for someone else is not something you can learn. Not to perfection, at least.

My boyfriend wants to get me jewellery and clothes this year, which is great. He’s seen me virtually every day for the last four years, he’s seen my whole wardrobe and every piece of jewellery I own. But that doesn’t give him the ability to surmise what I like in a piece, and apply it to things he finds in the shops.

So I tried to put myself on paper for him, to set out some rules. I made a series of little guides – I like this kind of neckline, I like these colours, I like ribbons.. but that doesn’t do it either. At best, it’s a checklist – this item I’ve found ticks three boxes, so it’s a reasonably safe bet. But it’s not certain, he still can’t look at something and KNOW I’d like it. He can still never go shopping as me, buying the things I’d buy, no matter how well he knows me.

Why not? Why is it that there’s no way to codify your innate response to something? I can look at something and know I like it, but I don’t necessarily know what I like about it. And I definitely can’t sit with a blank piece of paper and draw something I’d like if I saw it. Most of us don’t know what we like until it’s in front of us. There isn’t a set of rules we have in mind when we look at something, that we could pass on to someone else.

And even with hashed guidelines like mine, there are always those things that come completely out of left field. Things that aren’t like anything else we own, that don’t look like “our sort of thing” at all, yet we like and want. How does that work?

I’m not making any particular point here. I just think it’s strange that you can know someone inside out and still not be able to assume their identity when you look at something, to see if it passes muster or not.

Which is why there will always be unwanted presents in the world. Luckily for eBay.

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