Dave Barry

Gender gap is a true gift

(This Dave Barry column was originally published December 17, 2007.)

This is the time of year when a lot of women (by which I mean my wife) complain that women do WAY more holiday stuff than men do. Which is true. On any given day during the holidays, my wife wraps more presents than I have wrapped in my entire life. In terms of cubic footage of stuff wrapped (CFSW), she has basically wrapped the planet Saturn. So she is definitely carrying more than her share of the holiday load.

HOWEVER, when she was complaining about we were discussing this today, I pointed out that a lot of the holiday stuff she does is, with all due respect, insane. "For example, " I said to her, "why do you go buy and then wrap some useless little present for [name of one of the 73,500 people we don't really know very well or see very often whom my wife nevertheless always buys and wraps some useless little present for]?"

And my wife answered, "Because [name of one of the 73,500 people we don't really know very well or see very often whom my wife nevertheless always buys and wraps some useless little present for] always buys a present for US."

And I said, "Well don't blame MEN for that. We don't do that."

And we don't. I never give presents to any of my male friends, and they never give presents to me, and we're all happy as clams. If a guy ever DOES give a present to another guy, it is almost always intended as a joke. For example, just today I received in the mail, from my friend Jeffrey Berkowitz, an electronic yodeling pickle. (Really: You can order one at http://www.mcphee.com/items/11761.html.) I did not own one of these, and I am happy to have it. But I know Jeffrey sent it to me because he thought it was funny. He does not expect a gift in return. He would be stunned if, in response, I sent him some cologne, unless of course it was joke cologne, like Eau de Goat Flatulence.

So my suggestion to women stressed out by the holidays is this: Instead of complaining to your husband or boyfriend about how much holiday stuff you have to do, call some other stressed-out woman and make a deal with her that neither of you will give the other one a gift this year. Then you will actually be solving the problem. It's a can't-miss idea, right?

No, it's not. If I know anything about women, at least one of you will cheat. You'll see some useless gift item in some store, and you'll think, "That would be PERFECT for [name of the person you agreed not to exchange useless gift items with]." You will be unable to resist the powerful female genetic drive to buy and wrap it. And then when you inflict it on your unsuspecting victim, she will have to race out, possibly on Christmas Eve, and purchase a retaliation gift, and the whole vicious cycle will start up again. You will both be stressed, and you will resume complaining to some innocent male who had NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS.

But that's OK. Go ahead, blame us. We can take it. Because we're not really listening to you. We're listening to our pickle yodel.

(c) Dave Barry

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