A Gift Guide From Girlfriends Of Christmas Past
Not all women are bad at giving gifts. Only 99 percent of them are. For the 1 percent who want to protest this fact, email me. I will email you back my mailing address so you can ship your best gift to me.
For the rest of you ladies who are humble enough to admit that every year you’re stuck figuring out what to get your man, whether it’s a new relationship or an old relationship, allow me to give you a helpful guide provided by the lovely ladies from my past.
Below are gifts received from ex-girlfriends. Some were expensive, some were under $20, but all of them were thoughtful. No matter the price on them, what made each one special is they were a reflection of my passions, my interests, and each woman’s ability to listen and pay attention. I did not ask for any of these gifts, they just took a shot based on what they knew and now, they’re in the gift hall of fame.
Enjoy the list, and to the ladies still struggling to find a gift for your man, I hope the list helps you figure out what to get him. Just remember: Make it thoughtful.
COLTRANE The Classic Quartet: Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings Box Set
Huge props to my high school sweetheart who set the bar early for giving Jozen gifts. Though I’m still a jazz head, back in high school, I was jazz obsessed, one of those music snobs who thought anything outside of jazz was garbage. And that’s an important thing to note, because my girl in high school cared little for the genre and never hesitated to tell me so. On our first date, I thought it would be sophisticated if I played some Coltrane in the ride as we rode to the movies. She wasn’t in the car for one song before she asked if we could listen to something else, anything else, preferably something with words in it. I obliged, because I liked her, but I knew from that point on, this was going to be an issue for us.
I was right. We would got into little tiffs often over whose music we would listen to, but that’s what made this gift from her all the more special. She didn’t care for jazz, but she knew I did, and she thought so much of me that she put aside her differences with the music to get me this massive boxed set of John Coltrane’s years on Impulse! Never forget…
Rocky (Five-Disc Box Set)
I might have my dates mixed up on this, I’m not sure, but what I don’t have mixed up is who gave this gift to me.
The girl was a long time crush of mine, going back to sixth grade. So she knew me back when I had the movie poster of Rocky IV hanging on my wall. Years later, we’re dating and she asks me if I still like Rocky and I looked at her like she had three eyes and two teeth because no person ever stops liking Rocky. No man liked Rocky movies as a boy and when they see one of them playing on cable, switches the channel to something else even though they saw said movie approximately 2,136 times already. I explained this to her, and after she said I needed to seek some professional help, she pulled this from her purse.
Da Capo Best Music Writing 2004
My favorite series, by far. Back in 2004, I was working at VIBE, and one of my goals was to get into this book. Matter of fact, it still is, but that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is, my girlfriend back then knew I was just starting my career as a music writer, and a book like this was only going to inspire me. I can’t recall if I ever told her I wanted this, but either she was able to put two and two together by pairing my interests with her gift, or she saw the 2003 version on my bookshelf at home.
Tickets to see Chris Rock: Kill The Messenger
A Tailored Suit
Two gifts, same girl. The Chris Rock clip is from his last stand-up special, Kill The Messenger. He recorded the special while on a world tour, the opening night of which was on New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden. My ex knew how much of a Chris Rock fan I was. I think I was even thinking out loud about buying the tickets for this show, but she stopped me and to her credit, she did so without blowing her surprise. She simply said, we couldn’t afford it, and at the time, we were living together so purchases like those were going to affect both of us. But as it turned out, she just wanted to get the tickets for her man.
The picture is of a tailoring shop I always used to pass by down on 14th St. One day I passed by it with her, and without going inside I showed it to her. I explained how much loved the shop because it had an old school look and feel to it. The two guys who own it are these large Hispanic men, with big guts, and a spool of measuring tape always draped around their neck. A lot of the tailoring they do in the window, so I would sometimes just watch their handy work from afar. The care and craftsmanship they put into the suits was evident, and I knew it was expensive.
I told my ex, when I can afford it, I was going to take all of my suits down to this shop and have one of those men tailor them. In my stocking that Christmas, there was a ticket for an order from Campos & Campos with a pick-up date. She took one of my suits down to get tailored, and knew my measurements after measuring one of my better fitting suits.
As it turns out, I’d never pick up my suit. We got into an argument one day, and in a rage, she tore the ticket up. That hurt, but still, the gift goes in the hall of fame because as with all great gifts, what matters most, is the thought.