Gift or Gaffe?

What’s the most romantic or unromantic present you’ve ever received?


Delightful or Frightful?

Here are some of our most memorable…

Laura: Delightful – My husband got it absolutely right a few years ago when he presented me with a hardback copy of Roget’s Thesaurus. I’m sure it doesn’t rate as highly for most, as a dozen red roses or diamond ear-rings, but I not only wanted this book, I NEEDED it. I mean, REALLY NEEDED it.

I had an old paperback copy that smelled of an antique bookshop (in itself, a good thing), but the sticky tape holding it together was no longer holding it together and it had turned that particular shade of urine yellow that suggests something is well past its use-by date. Inside, the pages that were desperately hanging on didn’t have the strength to ridicule those that had fallen away. It was a very sad, very unhappy paperback. It now lives a life of comfort tucked on a top shelf of my wardrobe, enjoying its hard-earned retirement amongst its friends, the Rhyming Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary.

My new Thesaurus sits besides me, at my desk, always ready and always willing. It not only looks good, but smells good and can express ‘love’ in a multitude of ways. What’s not romantic about that?

Frightful – A black and white silk scarf. I know. Call me ungrateful, but I was twenty-one at the time and did not appreciate the finer things in life. The reason it upset me was because I felt my then-boyfriend hadn’t a clue who I was or what I was about. I learned from that experience and now regularly remind GAJITMAN who I am. 😉 xx

Catherine: Delightful – Pink GHD hair straighteners from my OH. My hair is so thick these are a god send and the fact they are pink! Well, I LOVE them!

Frightful – Back when I was at University I really wanted flowers from my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day and told him so on several occasions. So when Valentine’s Day arrived and he handed me a clear plastic box with a teddy saying ‘I Love You’ with some small plastic fake flowers, I was gutted. It was horrid. And one of the reasons he’s my ex. Word of advice, boys, listen to the Mrs when she states her preferences 😉

Celia: Delightful – A book about one of my all-time favourite authors Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie, etc) by her daughter. I didn’t know the book existed; I’ve got the whole set of the Little House ones but this was about Laura’s family life and made her seem real. The gift was from a man who had only known me for 5 days, and who’d  listened at some point to my burblings about books that meant a lot to me. He’d searched the book shops of San Francisco for it, and gave it to me on our first day as a couple. Needless to say, dear reader, I married him.

Frightful –  Garage flowers. Note to men – please leave them in the garage.


 Sue : My delightful and frightful are actually the same thing.  One afternoon sat at the top of The Trundle, watching the light aircraft take off and land at Goodwood airfield, I had said something whimsical like, ‘Oh that would be a fun thing to do – fly a small plane.’ I thought no more of it and the conversation moved on.  Anyway, all credit to him, he’d been listening and remembered – my birthday arrived and he proudly produced my birthday gift voucher of a one hour flying lesson. I was genuinely pleased, at the time.   Trouble was, when it actually came to it, I couldn’t bring myself to book the lesson. I hold my then boss totally responsible as he spent several weeks telling all sorts of small aircraft horror stories. In the end I just chickened out. I regret not doing it now, so maybe one day…

Vanessa: Delightful – I don’t want to make everyone gag by being too gooey, but I’ve received a few delightful gifts from my lovely husband, most of them of the money can’t buy type. The one I’ll mention here is writing related… Like many people, I’ve being trying this writing lark for a while – short stories as well as novels. Two years ago, I had my first printed success, winning 1st place in a Writing Magazine competition. When the magazine came out, my husband bought an extra copy and framed it for me, gift-wrapping it with a lovely message about it being the first of many. His complete faith in me made it one of the most delightful gifts I’ve received.

Frightful – Socks. Not novelty socks, or cashmere socks, or designer socks. Just one pair of cheap, plain black socks for my birthday from a college boyfriend. I don’t know why – despite being a poverty-stricken student, I was not suffering a sock shortage. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been frightful if he’d been a long-standing boyfriend, and it was one present of many. These days I quite like receiving socks. But it was my first birthday with this brand-new boyfriend and it was my 21st. My hopes were set the teensiest bit higher.

Debbie: Delightful – My (now) ex was very thoughtful and I could list many lovely and romantic pressies he bought me. However, the one that sticks most in my mind is not long after I’d had my second son, approximately eleven years ago…                                                                                                                                   

Hearing a knock at the door, I opened it to find two men in a van trying to deliver a piano. I thought they had the wrong house and argued with them for a while until they showed me the delivery note and made me ring my then husband. He had bought me one as a surprise as he knew how much I’d missed my piano and hadn’t played in over 25 years. I was so surprised and touched, I couldn’t speak for three days. Believe me, that’s saying something!

Frightful – This is easy peasy. How much worse can you get than a staple gun, girls? Admittedly I’d asked for one as I was trying to get a little craft business off the ground, but I ask you…

Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous. Piano to staple gun. Jeez, is it any wonders he’s now my ex! 

Lucie: Delightful – As some of the other ladies have said, I’ve had many lovely gifts from my husband. One of my favourites was presented to me just months after we got together (me being 17 and him, 19.) I am very much interested in acting, dancing, singing – I was studying performing arts at the time, at college – and for my 17th birthday he gave me tickets to go and see the musical Chicago in the west end. We got all dressed up and spent the day in London, going for dinner and then to the Adelphi Theatre to see Chicago. It was a wonderful gift and I loved the show. 

Frightful – My frightful gift wasn’t actually from a boyfriend, but just a friend, who went on holiday. She bought me back a pen. Now it doesn’t sound too bad, but let me tell you a little story. My name is different. I grant that. It is not the usual, conventional spelling of the name Lucie. And you know those pens/mugs/books you can buy with your name on? Well I got one of these pens from said friend. However, the shop didn’t have ‘Lucie’, they only had ‘Lucy’. So my gift was this; a pen, with the inscription, ‘they didn’t have my name!

Jan: Delightful – I’d planned to go to York for the day for research purposes. I was on a really tight schedule but knowing how much I love the place and with my birthday looming, Mr B decided to come with me and booked us into a hotel for a couple of nights so it wouldn’t be so rushed. Very thoughtful. And a lovely surprise.

Frightful – Would have to be the fake bottle of Chanel No5 an ex-boyfriend bought for me one Valentine’s Day many moons ago which went off within a week and left a green tinge on my neck. Eeeeew!

* Our lovely Liz is currently sunning herself in Cuba. A delightful gift in itself 🙂

We’d love to hear about your most memorable gifts. So tell us, were you left elated or deflated?

22 thoughts on “Gift or Gaffe?

  1. Frightful but strangely delightful – All my life I wanted a pony, horse, donkey, even a llama would do. Every year for my birthday when OldFeller said “What want?” (man of few words) I said “Pony.” We had barns, we had fields, we had it all.
    So on my birthday he wakes me up, and says “Present, barn.” (told you he was a man of few word) so I thought – something equine!!!!!
    Ran downstairs in my nightie and bare feet, out across the yard to find myself nose to nose with a Massey Ferguson Pony Tractor built in 1956 (same year I was) and I burst into tears.
    By this time Old Feller had quite sensibly gone and hidden somewhere.
    We moved moved house and downsized on grounds shortly afterwards so I didn’t get to use the “Pony”.
    He is just so lucky to be still vertical and breathing.

    • Oh, that is hilarious! I actually envisaged the scene of you chasing Old Feller back across the yard. A “Pony” to remember, as they say. (Or forget!) Thanks so much for sharing your story. Brilliant! 🙂

      Jan x

  2. I was given a map trail for my birthday and found a fold up bike in the barn under wraps.Just what I needed without a car and such a wonderful surprise. (The best)
    The worst: A red velvety velour tracksuit, shiny, a size too small, making me feel even more enormous and it was Christmas so couldn’t return. it 60 miles away. Nice thought but so fed up. I sulked all over the celebrations…

    • Ah, the map trail & bike is a lovely, thoughtful prezzie. Definitely one to remember forever. As for the tracksuit… you have our full Romaniac sympathy, Leah 😉 Thanks so much for sharing your stories with us.

      Jan x

  3. For our anniversary a couple of years ago my husband bought me a silver pendant in the shape of a Moebius ring – a 3d ring with only one side, no beginning and no end. On it was engraved “This above all: to thine own self be true,” a quote by Pollonius from Hamlet. I cried.
    I’ve never really had any rubbish gifts as he normally asks for my input!

    • Nettie, that is too romantic/emotional for words. No wonder you cried. So would I have done as that quote, in particular, is very dear to my heart as well. Long may your non-receipt of rubbish gifts continue 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      Jan x

  4. What a wonderful post. Thank you, Romaniacs.

    Mr RL Mk 1. It was my birthday a week after we got married. We were spending it on a plane heading to Lagos, where we would be living. I wanted to open my present from him to me on the plane. We had to negotiate with the man on security – this was in the days when it was pretty basic – to keep said present wrapped. I hadn’t even seen what size it was as he’d hidden it in his hand luggage.

    You can imagine what I was thinking, can’t you? Something romantic to mark my first birthday as his wife. Wrong … a box set of Poldark books. Call me ungrateful, but I’d expected a little more than that.

    • Poldark! Now, that’s really brought back some memories, Rebecca. Fully understand you being peeved. Especially after all the anticipation. Definitely one for our ever-growing ‘shocker’ pile. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Glad you enjoyed reading the post 🙂

      Jan x

  5. Delightful = a laptop with a note ‘to the writer in my wife.’
    Frightful = nothing at all. An ex boyfriend forgot it was my birthday (Halloween). He was my ex by next birthday as he forgot it was Valentine’s too! 🙂

    • Hi Glynis, well the laptop and note definitely rate up there with the best of them. How lovely of your husband! As for the ‘nothing at all’ ex-boyfriend 😦 Well we’re just glad that he never got the chance to repeat his failings! Thanks so much for sharing your stories with us.

      Jan x

  6. God, I’ve got to tred rather carefully as a few of my ex beaus are still in my life. All I’ll say is service station flowers and they were ugly and non-scented and turning up late = big fail. That was a miserable eve. Best forgotten. And the coolest, that’s tough. My last boyfriend, he kind of blew me away, by sending flowers, hiding my gifts around the house and booking 2 tickets to Hair as I’d made it v.clear I wanted to see it. The night ended in a restaurant with him seeing Happy Birthday at me, deeply embarrased lol. But I still have really fond memories of my first mega serious love when I was 19 buying me a really swish walkman as a main gift as he knew i was fanatical about music ; ) It was sweet as we were on student grants and I knew it must have set him back a bit and he was so very proud of himself for having got me something i really, really wanted but had never let on about. So it was a true surprise. I still have it actually : )

    • Ah, the garage flowers always seem to feature, don’t they?! And late, to boot. Talk about add insult to injury 😦 A double failing of epic proportions! At least your ‘delightfuls’ more than made up for it, Yasmin. The thought behind getting you the walkman is a treat in itself. Some lovely memories there. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      Jan x

  7. Hi Sue – I just had to respond because ages ago I also had a flying lesson as a gift from DH. I was truly delighted as I actually like flying (ie in a jet plane) and had also taken a gliding trip as a child which I had also loved. Anway. it took ages to arrange said flying lesson (postponed because of bad weather several times) but eventually the day came and off we went to the local airfield accompanied by our 2 children – teenagers at the time, all very excited.
    And I have to say, I hated every minute! It was like a driving lesson with 10 times as many things to remember. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing (even taxiing was beyond me) and the cockpit was so tiny I felt totally squashed and barely able to breathe. On the way home I had such a severe attack of cramp we had to stop at a Macdonald’s for me to stretch my legs. In the end we all had supper there – possibly the best part of the experience. Say no more!
    On a lighter note, on our 25th anniversary he gave me an automatic camera (we are talking pre-digital here) with which I was thrilled. Not only that, he had bought it by selling his faithful Pentax – his pride and joy for many years. Cue the music!

  8. Hi Ali, it’s funny you should say that you didn’t like it, despite the fact that you like flying – I’m the same. I enjoy flying, especially the taking off and landing bit, a few little bumps along the way make for a bit of excitement too, but being up in a small aircraft isn’t quite so reassuring. At least you can say you actually did it though, me, I’ve still to cross that off my ‘to do’ list.

  9. A couple of years ago my husband went on holiday with our son (I couldn’t go) to a place we’d been to as a family the year before. In the town where we’d stayed was a shoe shop that sold expensive hand made gorgeous shoes, some of them were adorable. We went in that first year and I commented to my husband how gorgeous some of them were.

    Imagine my delight when he returned home after the holiday with my son and presented me with a shoe box. I think I actually squealed lol.

    Unfortunately, when I opened the box the pair of shoes inside were the most hideous thing I had ever seen. White peep toe leather with a wedge herl, covered in painted yellow (we’re talking canary!) and blue daisies, finished off with fabric yellow and blue daisies glued to the front! Initially I was speechless then I just burst out laughing. I couldn’t help it. What the hell? How old did he think I was?

    I felt awful as, apparently, he’d thought I could do with a change and theyd cost him a fortune. He’d dismissed the gorgeous red velvet stiletto’s with the diamanté heels that I’d pointed out the year before (gawd only knows why lol).

    I can envisage the shop owner laughing to herself that she finally managed to sell the ugliest pair of shoes in the shop!

    Needless to say, he is forbidden to ever buy me shoes again!

    • Oh, Vikki, that has brought such a grin to our faces! It’s one of those “Ah, bless him/What the hell…?” scenarios, isn’t it. Ten out of ten for the thought but downhill thereafter. Like you say, can just picture the shop owner getting out the flags and bunting “At last..!” and dancing round the shop. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Priceless! 😉

      Jan x

  10. I’ve had a few lovely pressies from Hobs (even if I have had to point him in the right direction sometimes!) When we first started going out he brought me a rose, but unfortunately someone sat on it in the bus before he got to me…

    Another great fun post ladies xx

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Elle. Can just picture the poor rose when it was finally presented 😉 Full marks to Hobs for the thought though. We like thoughtful… 🙂

      Jan x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s