Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

In the Mood for Socks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

In the Mood for Socks

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM EDWARDS

Why must men suffer novelty gifts? We just want woollies, says Adam Edwards

CHRISTMAS is tough on chaps. I do not mean the financial burden, although that, of course, is always brutal. (I have noticed it is the man who always forks out for the Christmas tree, stumps up for the booze, the big presents and finances the Christmas expedition to the panto.) Nor am I complaining about the punishing emotional strain over the festive season. Not only the need for the man to retain a stiff upper lip amid the variety of crises that develop from the accidental slighting of in-laws to the tantrums over forgotten batteries. But also the struggle to pour on lashings of flattery when the tearstained turkey and trimmings arrive overcooked (the sprouts) and one short (the chipolatas).

It is the lot of the Christmas male to lose control of the television remote control, sit next to granny during lunch and smile grimly while wearing a paper hat.

Yet most of all, the male of the species must suffer when it comes to presents.

The girls will enjoy the usual bean feast of therapeutic retail nuggets from smellies and lacy knickknacks to jewellery and expensive clothes, while the boys will be left with suggestions from the glossy magazines and newspapers of useless "presents for the man who has everything".

What a man really wants, for example, is a reversible ratchet torque wrench with a five-inch extension bar and an adapter. (And he would rather buy it for himself so he is certain of getting the right one.) What he gets is a beautifully wrapped set of cheap mail-order spanners in an expensive box that would not bolt a Meccano set together without snapping.

There is the mistaken belief by those who sell and suggest presents for men that we want expensive gimmicks and designer labels. Yet the weekend gardener, who enjoys the simplicity of his hobby, does not hanker for a Hermes trowel with a soft brown leather handle and a matching [pound]890 rubber-and-buffaloleather gardening apron. …

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