Our guest blogger, Christian Troesch, was born in Munich and has lived in London since 2003. A former City banker, he has followed his passion (food) and joined a restaurant group. If all goes well, he’ll open his own place in the future, but until then, he zigzags through London’s restaurants and cocktail bars with verve and stamina. (Don’t you just love a guy who can cook?)
“Here we go again. Hoards of disoriented men throng the high streets, entering those zones of no return called department stores, inevitably through aisles that are short of sanity and full of vanity, where a cloud of perfume haunts us, and a sense of doom’s upon us.
How can it be so difficult? How can blokes – stoic, ursine, self-content creatures who limit their emotional outbursts to cursing the sports page – suddenly transform into jumpy, panic-stricken, hounded pictures of misery when they venture on a shopping trip alone.
Let’s have a look at a few categories of potential presents:
We assume with a degree of confidence that jewellery works wonders, and not just for our credit card balance.
Lingerie: this could go really, really well. Equally, it could end our relationship.
Self-made art would prove we truly went out of our way for you; in most cases, it would also guarantee a few days of uninterrupted bouts of laughter by you and your family.
A guy could do worse than buying clothes for his girl, though given the pitfalls involved, not much worse really.
Generally, gentlemen, avoid things a girl would purchase anyway. That eliminates chocolate truffle boxes, DVD sets of SATC 2, and car insurance. Ha, perhaps a gorgeous umbrella? You send a chivalric subliminal message (“I’m here to protect you, hon”); you also reveal the creativity of a ruminant (for more on the topic of creativity, see above under ‘self-made art’).
So how should a guy go about the gift selection process? You, ladies, sometimes recommend we simply ask you what you’d like. (Good luck following that strategy, chaps.) Asking your best friend? We know she’d tell you. Asking your mum? We know she’d tell you. Asking our mum? We know she’d tell us off.
What’s my final advice to the guys, then? Someone smart once said, ‘Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present’. Obviously, that won’t help anyone in any way, and I only said it because it makes me sound literary. Instead: Carry off the annual ordeal with self-deprecating humour, write your girl a few lines on a nice piece of paper – yes, the thing they used to call a “letter” – and whatever you end up giving, hand it over with a big smile (Isn’t he so romantic?). Priceless, surely?
Finally, if any of this worked really well for you, please report back to christian.troesch[at]gmail.com. I’d be astounded.”
Christian’s real-life solution: “I entered a Benefit boutique and showed a picture of my friend to the kind Beauty Advisor, and in 10 minutes, I had completed the most painful part of the Christmas shopping experience.”