The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Things that Flash and Go "Paaaarrrrp"

This is the fashion statement around Chez Freezingmyassoff (it's my neck and a scarf and just a sliver of a sweater that I knit but I'm not taking off any more layers in order to photograph it):

I don’t want to say it’s cold outside, but there are some pretty nervous looking brass monkeys wandering around, if you know what I mean. And the roads are slippery and the wind has started howling—a grand night to cuddle down and do some mindless reading. I.e., the dreaded woman’s magazine. Now, I admit that I have a problem with women’s magazines in general. For one thing, they all tell me what I need to fix and frankly, I’m pretty good at finding those things for myself (along with several others that don’t really need it but I have been known to be a tad bit self-deprecating at times….not that you ever would have noticed). For another, they’re contradictory. How many times have you seen the article about the newest diet with all of its irritatingly perky pep talk about how great you’ll look and feel about two pages away from the article with pictures and recipes for 6 variations on chocolate fudge cake and words about the importance of indulging yourself because life is short? Or “love yourself” type articles right by “before and after” photos where they made over a perfectly lovely woman because she wasn’t doing her make-up right? Not that I have issues or anything. But seriously—men’s magazines don’t do this. They don’t zero in on guy-type insecurities. They tell him all about the things he likes to do and show him photos of it. Kind of like knitting mags, which I’m starting to think are the only magazines I should read.

But what, you ask, prompted this tirade? Just this: it is the time of year for articles on “what to give your spouse for Christmas (or politically correct holiday of your choosing)”. Mr. K is absolutely and without reservation the joy and the love of my life but, according to these magazines, he is apparently not a man because if he was, the perfect gift for him would be on these lists. Not only does he not want a silk tie or expensive robe, he’d herniate himself laughing if I got him either. Neither does he need anything whatsoever to do with golf, or fishing, or hunting. He would be unlikely to jump for joy at an assortment of scented skin care products, a beard or nose hair trimmer, a George Foreman grill, cuff links, a heated foot warmer, or a popcorn popper with assorted flavored salts. Clearly, he is an alien, because the gushing journalist who wrote this article was quite certain that there was “something for every man” on this list.

In general, I know I’ve done well purchasing a gift for Mr. K if it a) came from a hardware store, b) has an assortment of buttons and switches that do untold numbers of things, c) comes in black or bright, safety cone orange, d) requires some adjustment to the electrical supply to the house and/or shop, e) can be operated by electricity or batteries, f) is sharp or can get hot (potential for injury is quite important here), g) has a 50+ page instruction book that he will not read, h) has a digital read out of anything, i) can clip to his belt or fit in his tool belt or, at the other end of the spectrum, needs its own cart, j) is shiny, k) has attachments, l) buzzes, hums, or whirs enthusiastically, m) irritates the cats, n) requires the use of safety goggles, o) produces some manner of manly thing that will need to be cleaned up such as metal or wood shavings, p) weighs five times as much as it ought to for its size, q) makes any sort of mysterious noise, r) has a nifty carrying case, s) requires permits from the county to really use it properly, t) can only be used in a well-ventilated area away from animals and small children, or u) emit noxious fumes and/or clouds of asphyxiating dust. Combinations of almost any number of these make for dandy gifts.

Clothes are all right, but must be blue, black, or gray, must not be any kind of manmade fiber (polyester melts and can cause severe burns if he sets fire to himself in the shop…..don’t ask), must not fit closely to the body, must not have anything that resembles a stripe, must be dark enough in color that salad dressing incidents may go unnoticed, and must have pockets. Lots of pockets. His pajama pants even have pockets (like he’s going to need to produce ID in his pajamas? Is there something I should know, I wonder?) Oh, and if I come up with the perfect, the most wonderful, the absolute holy grail of gifts, it’s a cinch that he just bought himself one. Only bigger and with more features. Features are quite important. Music? Not so much. Mr. K claims to be tone deaf and once amazed a car salesman who was pushing the “six cd changer” on the car stereo by replying earnestly “but I don’t HAVE six cd’s!” And he wasn’t really exaggerating.

Back to that magazine article. I rather suspect that the men this author has dated have all been stock characters from the back of a movie lot. They really should have me write it. I can see it now: “12 Things That Flash and Go ‘Paaaarrrp’ That Your Man Will Love!” You laugh….but if you’re married to someone with a Y chromosome, I’ll bet you’d read it.

In the name of fairness, I’ll post another entry soon about buying gifts for women. I think we’re a piece of cake to buy for, but I understand that men find us mysterious. Go figure. I’ll be nice and not point out that they also find mysterious such things as loading the dishwasher, cleaning the whiskers out of the sink, turning on the vent fan so the shower doesn’t create a tiny greenhouse in the bathroom, and successfully making a basket with underwear and a laundry hamper.

For now, I’m back to the noro. I’ve nearly finished the back of the sweater…which is apparently the cue for my treacherous mind to start saying things like “Are you really sure about that stitch pattern? Isn’t it a little busy? What about that other pattern that you almost made? Shouldn’t you try that? C’mon—what’s a little frogging?” And so on. I’d make up my mind….but I don’t have enough of that lovely cream alpaca to make up as big a one as I want…….


  • At 7:57 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Holy jeeze louise...I can't stop giggling, chuckling, snorting, not to mention the belly laugh in there...
    oh and btw...nice flash photo...

  • At 9:57 PM, Blogger Faren said…

    I am so with you Flo, that is so my husband! Specially the injury part. He once told me that if there wasn't a possiblity of setting yourself on fire then it wasn't a hobby. The only other things I can think of for gifts would be anything car related or anything "Star ----"

  • At 6:15 AM, Blogger Ms. Knitingale said…

    Okay, Faren--you made me snort. "if there's not a possibility of setting yourself on fire, it's not a hobby?" Oh man. The scary thing is that my hubby would probably say "Yeah, so? Why is that funny?"

  • At 10:40 AM, Anonymous angie cox said…

    I completely agree about those stupid magazine lists but you've got it easy girl.My hubby doesn't do any D.I.Y , we don't own a car and the thing he loves and adores is a guitar.His taste in music is appalling .It's Blues so whining and miserable it's music to drink bootleg to and he's tee-total. So I will buy yet another Gap sweater cos he only likes plain and I don't knit plain. At last he has taken to wearing Cologne but only the sort that was invented in that fair city cos it smells of lemons ,nothing girly. I have a list in my head that is enormous but is mainly yarn with perfume added.I will get a little something but our finances concentrate on Holly's birthday this Saturday. I do need new boots but won't buy them until the sales. I love your scarf b.t.w.

  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    Too funny, Ms. K! I agree, especially on the button item... anything with buttons seems to go over really well here. :0)


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