Who’s Going To Dinner?
by Jake Leland
December 11, 2018
I had been dating this woman for four weeks, when my friend Ed asked if I were taking her to my mother’s house for the traditional family Christmas dinner.
Suddenly, my head was in turmoil. We had been dating pretty heavy since we’d met and I liked her. But I wasn’t ready to expose her to my family. For the last two years, in my search for the right woman, I had brought two different women under the scrutiny of my four sisters, and I wasn’t about to go through that again, until I was sure of the quality of the relationship. Plus, I wasn’t ready yet to have her see the intimate side of my life, and I expressed that to Ed.
He laughed, “Man I know what you mean. I hate when the holidays roll around and I’m involved with a new woman for a short period of time. You feel obligated to share family and buy expensive gifts for someone you barely know. I asked you because I’m in a similar state. I’ve been with Kay for almost two months. But I don’t feel like I should spend $200.00 on a gift. And I know she expects to receive something expensive. You know how women are, they associate cost with feelings. And I’m not sure what my feelings are. I know I’m not in love and she’s already hinting that she might be. And like you, I don’t want to bring her around my family until I know it’s the right time.”
Ed and I worked together and, as we walked to our respective offices, I recalled hearing this dilemma voiced from other single male friends whenever the holidays loomed ahead.
I thought about what I did last year, and I was not proud of my decision. I was dating a woman who was so fine, that her looks and body obscured her dullness. My family teased me forever about the hilarious joke my crazy Uncle JoJo told over Thanksgiving dinner (that made some folks fall out their chairs.) and how my date sat there with no smile, and a perplexed look. Also, the fact that she was dressed like she was going to a state dinner at the White House didn’t help either. But she was so pretty, that I persisted in trying to help her be what I wanted. But it didn’t work.
I was still seeing her when Christmas drew near, and I contemplated greatly on what to buy her. Interestingly, during that time, I came to realize that I was agonizing over buying a gift for someone more out of obligation than sincere desire. In reality, I didn’t want a gift from her, because I knew that after the holidays, including New Year’s Eve (unless I met someone more interesting), she would be history. And if she bought me a gift, I’d have to buy her a gift.
So I did what any thinking man would do, who had only been with a woman for three months and planned to dump her at the appropriate time. I gave her a $100.00 gift certificate to her favorite store on Christmas Eve, before she served an elaborate dinner, which included quail, which I didn’t eat. I must admit that I did feel some guilt, after she presented me with a designer robe and slippers, and I knew I had already planned to dodge her on Christmas Day.
Now, here I was faced again with “the holiday/gift quandary.” Then I recalled something my uncle Ken said several months ago when all the men in my family were gathered in my mother’s kitchen. My brother posed the question about what to buy his new girlfriend of three weeks for her birthday. “When a man is straddling the fence about his feelings for a woman or he just met her and a special occasion arises, he can’t lose with a bottle of expensive perfume. It’s a smart gift, and every woman appreciates a man giving her perfume. I don’t care if it smells like pig ointment. To her, it says that you care, because you want her to smell good. And eventually a man’s heart will tell him when it’s time to spend more.”
I had it. I would continue to monitor my current relationship, and review its status at Christmastime to see if it merited inviting her to the family compound and/or just a bottle of perfume.