Monday, December 20, 2010

Men Aren't Complicated, James Explains

In this month of non-stop cadeaux, I decided to reprint one of my favorite posts from one of my favorite people, James, Man of the 50s.

Erudite, witty, wise and a true gentleman, James sets us straight on that most delicate of subjects: What Do Men Really Want?

(Since he has lived in France, he also has that je-ne-sais-quoi we all so dearly love even though we don't know exactly what it means.)

And finally, James graciously agreed to share with us 10 of the best gifts he has ever received.

I think you'll agree this post will be one of the best gifts we will be receiving this season and it is a natural debut to this Christmas week of all men, all the time.

Thank you again, my dear, dear James.

      By: James, A Man of the 50s
Every year when my daughters asked what I wanted for Christmas, I would smile and say, " I only want you to be good girls." Of course after they grew a little they were no longer amused and stopped asking. 

Most men are going to appreciate whatever you give them, we're not quite the pigs you may think. If he doesn't by God he should! However if the point of the exercise is to also bring some joy into his life here are a few comments from a man who has seen many, many Christmases:

One statement no man likes to hear when receiving a gift is, "I thought you might like to try something different." No we wouldn't. Men are, for the most part, champions of the status quo. Dinner at six, if it's steak where's the potato and why is the beer in a blue bottle for Pete's sake?

So there is no harm in giving him more of what you know he likes. In my case it was bow ties and argyle socks, I could never get enough. Does he hum when he wears corduroy pants? He can't have every color. In other words you know your man, what does he like? Now, you need not to over think this. 

If he cried at the end of " Love Story" were those the same tears he shed when Purdue upset Ohio State? If so he may not really want a collection of Keats, but may enjoy Robert Service. Is he a Scotch drinker? Don't buy a bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon, look for an unsual single malt. Does he live for electronics?( OK he's a geek, but he's your little geek!) Sure you think he's got the latest of everything. No he doesn't. 

Check out his favorite toy and see if there is a new one. A lot of cell phone providers are offering amazing deals on netbooks; look into that. I personally think gift cards look like you got them while waiting in line at the grocery store( no, no I know you've never done that), but is there a local place where he loves to eat? Most non-chain restaurants give you a nice card that means you went there to get it and knew he would love it. If he takes you when he goes, bonus! 

One of the many things that amazes me about women is their creativity. So take my silly ramblings and "surprise" him with something you know he'll like.

This year at the Thanksgiving table, my grandson asked his mother what she wanted for Christmas. She smiled, ruffled his hair and said, "I just want you to be a good boy."

Now, for my all-time favorite gifts:

1.) A Lab puppy

2.) A Berkley graphite fly rod

3.) A John Wayne calendar

4.) An Abercrombie and Fitch wool shirt (before it became a mall store)

5). A pair of Santa socks

6.) A dozen cans of Vienna sausages and a box of Ritz crackers

7.) A JoS. A. Banks greatcoat

8.) An alligator belt with monogrammed gold buckle

9.) A Winchester mod 1897 shotgun

10.) A bottle of Famous Grouse Scotch

 I read James' post to My Reason for Living in France whereupon he said: "Exactly, and 'yes' I really never want anything other than navy blue cashmere V-neck sweaters." He then added: "I like James; it's too bad he doesn't live in France."

(Ed. Note: You will note the enthusiastic responses from last year. Unfortunately I do not know how to remove them from the reprint of James' post. Please feel free -- anyone -- to come to my rescue and please, feel free to share the love with James again this year. Merci par avance.)

***Ed. Note #2: If you click here you will be whisked away to Skye Peale's blog, Privilege where, Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart, from the blog, Through the French Eye of Design, and I have collaborated on a post for our extraordinary friend.***


aaonce said...

Last year for Christmas, I bought hubby all new things that I THOUGHT he would enjoy-he had a complaint (a nice complaint but still a complaint) about every item. The next occasion was his birthday and I got him new (and improved) versions of things he already owned...he thought I hung the moon. Great post. Thanks James for writting it, and thanks Tish for making it available. said...

My chere Aaonce,

I thought you and I were supposed to have an "off-the-record" conversation one of these days???

It's too funny about our men, non? I'm so pleased you liked the post from James. I'm sure he will be as well.


Deja Pseu said...

Thanks, James, for this great reminder.

Mon mari is also one of those men who Likes What He Likes.

So romance aside, this year it's socks and tee shirts because the ones he has are almost worn out.

BonjourRomance said...

Merci James for this excellent post - you are so right on all points. I'll be checking out your blog from here.


Wonderful! Great, amusing, well written post!si vrai! My husband is easy to please: a book, any good! what's a good book when you know he had read everything. So, easier, a cashmere V are all the same...mostly...that's why we love them. Thank Monsieur James. Thank you Tish

Shelley said...

I'd already added James' blog to my list of must-reads. Thank you very much for the pointers. I get Bill to write me a 'wishlist' just like my Mom got me to do for her. I take a few items off that I will buy and send it on to his children for them to use for ideas. It is good, however, to come up with some surprises, too. Thanks again!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Love that list- and it gives good insight into what a man wants- which has always been so difficult for me to figure out.

Jacqueline said...

I love James. He is witty and yet answered the brief.He knows what he likes. Brilliant. I have already got my husbands present, although even he doesn't know what he likes so I don't know how I'm supposed to know !! XXXX

knitpurl said...

Thank you James, one can never learn enough about the men we live with.

Now to manage my place in the world while it snows and snows and snows.

PS - thanks to BLP for her thoughts last weekend. And for our dear Cherie - heard a famous American fashion designer say that wearing black (ahem) all the time is on its way out. He claims to see fashion editors and others in NYC wearing color and lots of it for day and evening. Your thoughts when you can, Cherie. (His last name starts with "M".)

Marsi said...

This is wonderful. You truly cannot go wrong with giving a man cashmere (whether it be socks, a scarf, a sweater, a knitted hat, lined leather gloves, or a blanket) or top-shelf liquor. Loved this guest post!

Lorrie said...

How wonderful for a man to articulate his feelings on gift-receiving - this is brilliant and I found myself nodding while reading it.

I guess I'll be off to the tool store, the bookstore, and end with the department store for socks.

BigLittleWolf said...

Delightful. The argyle socks in particular make me smile. As does the face of that precious pup.

Anoninoz said...

Great post - interesting too... but I was slightly surprised at gift No.5 though!! (thought it might have been cashmere and argyle all the way?!!)

ELS said...

Dear dear James, what a truly charming post and how lovely to have such an insight into the complicated, mercurial mind of the tricky-to-pin-down male. ha ha.

Problem is, my love, when we ladies say 'oh, you know what I like', we really DO mean - 'get creative, blow off my (don't even THINK about it) Santa socks.'

Lovely post and I hope you, and your daughters, get everything on your list!

materfamilias said...

I tend to update the wardrobe -- I'm better at it than he is and I enjoy it much more, but sometimes I wonder if this is too boring a gift. Your post reassures. Still, I'm curious now to pose to Pater the question James answered of the all-time favourite gifts (and I did once give him a very good fly rod, long, long ago . . .)

Kathy said...

Thanks for stopping by, and for your good wishes. I love running into James here and there! Great post. Will update soon. :-)

LPC said...

Yes! I am just finishing my post for tomorrow (took forever due to my Photoshop idiocy) and I write in part about the fact that regular stuff is what we really want a lot of the time. Stuff we had last year and want some more of.

Marieanne said...

"6.) A dozen cans of Vienna sausages and a box of Ritz crackers"

I love it! You and my husband.

Great post.

Bonjour Madame said...

This is so true. Great guest post James! As someone who is married to a man who buys the same pair of shoes (identical brand, color, style) every time the prior pair wears out, I get this. Although sometimes I can't understand why men are not as complex as we are, it's nice to hear this and realize we don't have to try and come up with something way out of the box. You've given me new energy when shopping for my husband this year. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Duchesse said...

So well put, James! Similar t my advice for men or women: "Find out what they love and buy them the finest expression of that item that you can."

Also, many women think men are indifferent to beauty and only interested in utilitarian things. Not so; for example, a watercolour of the bridge on which your partner walked back and forth daily while growing up can have great resonance.

Hill House Ramblings said...

I just discovered James the other day and I'm very happy I did. This post is full of wisdom. Yes, stick to what works! (I found that out the hard way one year.) Such wonderful advice! Thank you Tish and James for a lovely, insightful post. Happy Holidays to you both!


knitpurl said...

James, I still love what you wrote even though my life's circumstances have changed.

So glad you re-blogged it, Tish, and hope you, your RFLIF and your friends are safely surviving all the snow. xoxo, C.

LPC said...

Couldn't agree more. You go, James. I'm a little like this myself:). And Tish, thank you AGAIN for your wonderful post on Privilege today.

Metropolitan Mum said...

This list is so James, it really made me smile. :)

Brummagem Joe said...

I gave my daughter a copy of the poems of Robert Service when she was about fourteen (a difficult age)and although her name isn't Lou she still has it and loves it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...