Category Archives: Gifts

Registering Continues to Suck

Last Sunday Collin and I attended a Crate & Barrel “registry event.” We dropped in the store (which is brand new to Pittsburgh) a few weeks ago to check out dish patterns and were immediately made as an engaged couple and invited to this event where the store opens early for registering couples so they can be given lots of attention to manage all their annoying questions like “is this carafe hand blown?” all while  mingling with other engaged couples over mimosas and pastries.

It was disappointing. First of all, growing up without religion has left me extremely ill-prepared to do anything outside the house before noon on Sundays. The event started at 9:00AM.  There was coffee, but it wasn’t enough.

Particularly because the mimosas did not exist. There was a  carafe (and I don’t know if it was hand-blown, but I’ll get to that in a minute) of freaking seltzer water with strawberries floating in it. And the pastries amounted to one stale apricot danish cut into thirty thumbtack-sized pieces.  Sorry to be an entitled bitch, but when I’m promised mimosas and pastries, I need more than fruit chunks in seltzer water and crumbs, especially at 9:00AM on a Sunday.

It got worse from there: the woman running the event pointedly handed the scanning gun to the dude in every couple, and a checklist to the woman. UGH.  BUH. BOO! I wonder what she would have done if there were a gay couple there? Given the gun to the more butch partner? I WISH I WERE JOKING.  This whole idea that men can only be made to tolerate wedding planning/domesticity when given toys, and women crave ever more wedding-related check boxes makes me feel pukish. And goddamnit, I want to use the scanner gun! That’s like 2% of the reason I got engaged in the first place!

The tour of the store was very spend-pressure-y (“be sure to register for furniture, just so your guests have an idea of your taste. And you never know, maybe a group of friends will go in on a $1,200 chaise.”1) and not nearly as informative as I wanted it to be (“The type of cookware you want depends on what kind of cook you are.” Full sentence. No follow-up. Not about what kinds of cook there are, and not about which cookware suits which.).

The lameness was not all Crate & Barrel’s fault, though. None of the couples talked to each other. I tried a few times to break the ice (“A multi-use avocado tool? What a space saver!”) but heard only crickets. Wedding blogs have spoiled me into thinking everyone else getting married around now will be awesome and friendly.

We’re also to blame. Collin and I were both grumpy and indecisive. Collin has bizarre issues about receiving gifts/attention that I blame on him having grown up with a twin sister, in particular one who is abundantly enthusiastic about everything she encounters. He got his painfully uncomfortable “present face” from the moment we started (or should I say HE started, grr) scanning. He wouldn’t make choices because he doesn’t like getting presents. I wouldn’t make choices because I don’t like making decisions. It was a very unpleasant stalemate.

And I couldn’t help but conflate Collin’s lack of enthusiasm about registering for a lack of enthusiasm for getting married, even though intellectually I knew that wasn’t fair. Plus, all jokes aside, I really do want that avocado spoon thingie. Registering isn’t all bad.

1Confidential to Liz: I only included that link because I know you already have a chaise. If you didn’t, I’d censor that for your own good. You know I love you.

An Ethical Dilemma that Melts in Your Mouth

Filling out our registry has been astonishingly difficult. Who would think that asking for presents would be such a pain in the butt? I feel like presents should be all about smiles and joy, but leave it to weddings to take something that should be awesome and make it stressful.

There’s a whole set of kitchen items I need that I haven’t put on the registry yet, even though I need them. Cookie items.

Because I live in Pittsburgh, we’re having a cookie table at our wedding, with hundreds of homemade cookies, many of which are going to be made in MY home, by me.  And when I think about how the month before my wedding is going to involve nightly cookie baking sessions, I realize there are so many THINGS that could make that process easier.

Cooling racks. Batter spoons. Freezer storage. And yes, a mother-effing stand mixer.

But if I DID register for those things, and received them in time to use them to make cookies for the cookie table, it wouldn’t help: etiquette dictates I do not use the gifts until after the wedding. Because if we do not get married, I have to send the gifts back.

I know what you are thinking. “Don’t worry about that, Robin.” BUT I DO. I WORRY ABOUT IT. EVEN WITHOUT JINXING IT BY USING A GIFTED SET OF COOKIE CUTTERS IN THE SHAPE OF THE 48 CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES.

Jinxing it is my real fear here. Because let’s face it, if I get jilted, buying a stand mixer to send back to the person who gave me it will be a tiny drop in the bucket of money blown on my non-wedding. And the money is sooo not what I’ll be upset about. But I still feel like using wedding gifts before the wedding is tempting fate.

So while I don’t really want to hand-mix the batter for a hundred dozen cookies, I’d rather do that and still get married to Collin.

So what do you think I should do? Did you use any of your wedding gifts before the wedding?

Showering in Sexism

My mother-in-law Viki called me earlier today and asked what I thought about having a co-ed wedding shower. “Awesome!” I told her. Dividing the attention with Collin? Still getting presents? Sounds like I’m making out like a bandit.

She checked in with Collin, he approved, and plans started hatching for a super-chill BBQ shower.  And then she headed out to a stationary store with a friend and fellow shower-host and looked at invitation options.

And then she called me.  “Robin… some of these invitations they are selling… you’re probably not going to like them very much.  Maybe we could send them as a joke, but I think you would be too upset by them to laugh.”

“What could be so upsetting about shower invitations?” I asked.

Stupid question.  Whenever the wedding world has the opportunity to bewilder, irritate, and outrage, it finds a way.

Here, it is with the assumption that the theme of a couple’s shower must be Fundamental Gender Differences. Observe:

[Source: Invitation Consultants]

Men like:

  • Hammers. MEN SMASH!
  • Fishing.
  • Golf.
  • Malt liquor.
  • Belts and/or microplanes (probably not a microplane because you can use that in a kitchen, which is where girls go!)
  • Items that can be used to cook meat outside. (Inside cooking or non-meat cooking is GIRL STUFF.)
  • Cigars.
  • Champagne and champagne flutes. (Probably the most progressively gender-neutral item pictured! I thought men only drank red wine. Or, preferably, beer!)
  • Tickets to public events (presumably to use with his buds, because womenfolk should stay in the homestead).
  • Power tools.
  • Other hardware, but most importantly: HAMMERS!

Women like:

  • Wisks.
  • Spatulas.
  • Spoons.  Anything that lets us stir!
  • Standing mixers. For motorized stirring!
  • Chopsticks! Cheese Graters! Other things that will make us feel less alone in the kitchen.
  • Recipe books for party food so we can be great hostesses.
  • Napkins. Ladies are neat, and love things made of fabric!
  • Flowers.
  • Necklaces.
  • Piiiiiiiiiiiiiink!
  • Picture frames. (We’re sentimentalists.)
  • Martini glasses. GIRLS’ NIGHT! WOO!

Men’s gifts and women’s gifts are so different that they should be physically segregated, preferably by buckets.  Otherwise those flighty ladies might start stirring something with a hammer!  Can’t have that.

I assume what is going on here is that a wedding shower is considered a girly event, so invitation designers are trying to restore the included groom’s masculinity. What better way to do this than by reminding the guests how even though this groom is going beyond his traditional role of “just showing up” on the wedding day, he still has a Y-chromosome, one that constantly yearns to hammer something.

Fortunately, Viki tells me she found a couple’s shower invitation that doesn’t involve creepy gender policing.  Which is great, because we really don’t need another hammer, and I don’t want people buying Collin one just because they think it’s the secret to saving his masculinity.