Last Friday, the weather was so lovely that I decided to walk home from work. On my way, I stopped by a deli and bought a big bunch of beautiful peonies, my favorite flower. They’re only in season for six weeks and I basically hoard them during that time. So anyway, a few blocks from my apartment, a guy in his early-’20s sidled up next to me and asked, “Who bought you flowers?”
“I bought them for myself,” I replied. Oh lord, what’s this dude want?
“Awwww,” he said with pity in his voice. “That’s so sad. A guy should be buying you flowers. I would.”
This, friends, is classic negging. Buying yourself flowers is sad! Flowers are supposed to be bought for you! By a mannnn! I should be flattered that this guy, who just declared my flower-buying “sad,” would buy me flowers. Little old sad me. What-the-fuck-ever. I rolled my eyes, uttered an “mmkay,” and detoured down another street.
The truth is, while it’s of course nice to get a bouquet from a dude, flowers are actually on the short list of so-called “romantic gifts” that boyfriends sometimes give that I would actually rather buy for myself. Allow me to explain…
1. Flowers: This is of course a generalization, but when it comes to buying a basic bouquet, dudes don’t know what they’re doing. First of all, I have expressed my undying love for peonies to every guy I’ve seriously dated, have practically written down the in-season dates in their calendar, yet not a one has bought them for me. They’ve bought me roses or, blech, mixed bouquets with baby’s breath. I appreciate the sentiment, truly. I have displayed those bouquets and looked upon them with love. But the only person who’s going to buy my beloved peonies, from what I can tell, is me, myself and I. And I sure as shit am not going to sit around during peony season waiting for some dude to do it. But let’s pretend for a second that a magical unicorn man appears at my door with peonies! I can guarantee you that every single flower will be fully bloomed. What a waste! Those bitches are going to be dead in a matter of days! I ALWAYS buy closed buds so that I get the full blooming cycle to enjoy.
2. Clothing & Shoes: Again, generally speaking, women dress for themselves or, perhaps, other women, not for men. Many of the guys I have dated, when they’ve tried to buy me clothes, have failed miserably because they just don’t quite get what I find fashionable. They get the sizes wrong, the look doesn’t reflect my style, and I end up being annoyed that they want me to dress like someone I’m not. I dated one guy who seriously thought I should be dressing like a Kardashian — for work! Even if he could afford to outfit me in nothing but Herve Leger bandage dresses, I wouldn’t have wanted him to. It’s one thing for a guy to buy me something he knows I want, but I really don’t want my man to be my stylist.
3. Lingerie: Ultimately, I know the dude’s goal is to get me in something slutty, which is fine. The problem is that a lot of guys think they need to make up for their desire to see you in something slutty by spending a lot of money. “Look, it’s crotchless, but it cost $200, honey!” Let’s get real — lingerie falls into two categories: 1) undies and bras I wear every day and 2) undies and bras I wear on special occasions. You shouldn’t blow your wad on either. So, dudes, if you want me to wear trampy undies sometime, that’s cool, but save your dough for something I will actually appreciate and I’ll just hit up Frederick’s of Hollywood, okay?
4. Jewelry: The only man who has bought me jewelry was my ex-fiance. He bought me a pair of diamond studs, which I still wear, and then he bought me an engagement ring, which I obviously don’t wear. In those two things, he showed impeccable taste. Generally speaking, however, I am more of a fashion jewelry person. I like hoop earrings and statement necklaces and cuff bracelets and chunky rings. I am pretty sure that sentence is utter gibberish to most straight men, which is why I prefer they stick to what they’re good at — oral sex, hopefully — and leave the jewelry shopping to me. The one time my ex tried to buy me a not-fancy piece of jewelry, I ended up with a tacky beaded necklace thing that I pretended to like for six months before I “lost” it.