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The Holiday Dilemma

What To Do With Who

by Theo McNee

Last year, I ran into a problem.  I had been dating this woman for four weeks, when my friend John asked if I were taking her to my mother’s house for the traditional Christmas dinner.  I really liked this woman, but suddenly, I was in a turmoil.  We had been dating pretty heavy since we’d met and I enjoyed being with her.  But I wasn’t ready to expose her to my family.  In the past, since my divorce a few years ago, I was still shopping for Ms. Right and I wasn’t sure if she was it.  I had brought two different women under the scrutinous eyes of my mother and 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 my friend.

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/or buy expensive gifts for someone you barely know.  I asked you because I’m in a similar state.  I’ve been with this woman for almost two months.  But I don’t feel like I want to 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 right.”

John and I worked together and, as we walked to our respective offices, I recalled hearing this dilemma voiced from other male friends whenever the holidays loomed ahead.

I thought about what I had done the year before and I was not proud of my decision.  I was dating a woman who was so fine, that her looks and body obscured her dull personality.  My family teased me forever about her denseness and the hilarious joke my uncle 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.  The fact that she was dressed like she was going to a state dinner at the White House didn’t help either.  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 two months and planned to dump her at the appropriate time.  I gave her a $100.00 gift certificate to Nordstrom’s on Christmas Eve, before she laid out an elaborate dinner, which included quail and champagne.  I felt really guilty, after she presented me with an expensive designer robe and I knew I had already planned to dodge her on Christmas Day.

Now, here I was faced again with “the holiday/gift quandary.”  I made a decision.  I would go alone to my mother’s on Christmas and visit her later that evening with a big bottle of her favorite perfume.   When I later shared my decision with John, he gave me a high five and thanked me profusely for helping to solve his problem.

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