The Bitter  Network Administrator

                                                A Website Dedicated to Computer Professional...and some not so Professional

Mrs. bitter Network Administrator on Women, Christmas and the Geeks That Love Them
by Ellen Chick

I saw a commercial the other day. They've actually run it several times since then. A beautiful home at Christmas time, the tree is decorated; the father and son are leading the mother into the living room with her eyes covered. She is filled with anticipation for this wonderful gift her family is so excited to be giving her. They position her for maximum effect; open her eyes and Taa Daaaaa!! A brand new Washing Machine!!
WARNING….WARNING….Danger, Will Robinson, Danger. 
The first time I saw this I laughed out loud. Like anyone would actually buy the idea that there is a woman on the planet who wants a washing machine for Christmas. But after seeing it a few times I started to wonder. Are there really men out there who know so little about women that they think a washing machine is a great Christmas gift?………………OH NO!! One Of Our Readers Is Going To Get Killed!! 

Aren't children great? They really have a handle on this whole holiday thing. They know what they want. They will tell you what they want…in writing. Yes, the letter to Santa. It's detailed, and it's big. Microsoft EULA big. And just as detailed. Yep, children are easy to buy for. Women, on the other hand, are a whole different ball game. I know we are difficult to shop for, almost impossible. Sometimes it feels like a test and you're failing it. Well, there is a reason for that. It IS a test. And yes, you ARE failing it. 
Whoa, hold on there. No need to rush off to Google to run that "Women, Christmas, Braindump" search just yet. This test has only one question, "Are you paying attention to me?" You see, in the beginning, the courting phase, you paid a great deal of attention to her. You talked for hours, hung on her every word. What she didn't realize (her fault really) was that you were scanning for a combination of words that meant you could go for it with a reasonable chance of success, or at least not being slapped and/or dumped. Of course, you are married now, or living together for a long time. You finish each other's sentences, know each other's stories, and no longer have to 'scan for a signal'. You can just ask for it. (Yes, young padawan, you are one jewelry purchase and a rental tux away from being able to just ask. Provided you have sufficient points in your account. We'll get to that later.)
As I was saying, the listening skills are being used up in one trip to the accounting department (those people could suck the patience from a saint) and by the time you get home you are so self involved Carly Simon is writing a song about you. 
Now it's the holidays. The good news is that you don't have to shop for the rest of your family. She's handling that. You only have to shop for her. So what does she want? Has she been dropping hints? Sure she has…. but…well…. you know. Okay. You figure you'll do the logical thing and just ask her. Yeah-good idea. While you're at it why don't you just use the scratch pad in the testing room to hold a note up to the camera asking what the answer to number 7 is. 

She's likely to say something like the following:
"Nothing, really. I don't need anything." Do NOT fall for this. Last year thirteen husbands were stabbed to death with turkey carving knives. Their last words were, "But Honey, you said not to get you anything." Or
"I can't believe you can't think of anything I would want. You're my husband. I live with you. The women at the gym know what I want and they only see me three hours a week. I'm sure you can think of something I would like."

So what does she want? Did she give you a list? No. The kids made a list. Why? They aren't trying to find out if you love them. They aren't trying to find out if you are paying attention to them. They are trying to get all the stuff on the list. She's trying to find out if you have been paying attention. (She can BUY stuff.)

So you're thinking, "Great, I'm screwed." 
Not necessarily. The trick is to get her something personal. Hopefully, something that she needs. How do you find out what she needs? Look at what she has. Look at her purse. Is it old? What about her wallet? If this looks like the ticket, take a digital picture of what she has, take the camera to the sales lady at the nice store in the mall, and ask for help. Don't worry about looking stupid; these ladies already think you're stupid. 
Go in the bathroom. How long has she been using the same hairbrush? What about her make up? Does it look used up and crappy? Everything piled into a zip lock bag? Take a picture of your wife and head down to the cosmetic department of that nice store. There are hairbrush gift sets, makeup brush gift set, makeup gift sets…and you don't have to know anything to buy them. Just bring the picture and ask for help.
Finally, there is lingerie. No, this is not going to be like the last time you tried to buy lingerie for your wife. (The black lace bustier and thong set wasn't really for HER, now was it?) Open up her drawer. Is the elastic shot on half of everything? Check the tags on the bras. You are looking for the ones that are faded but still readable. Too new means it was the wrong size and she hasn't worn it. Check the tags in the underwear as well. Write this stuff down and take it with you to the store (Can't figure out what all those special codes on the tags mean? Take the actual garments along in a bag.) along with the picture of your wife. (It helps if they can see what she looks like.) Walk into the department and go right to the kindest looking lady you can find. Tell her you want three or four matching sets that are classy, tasteful, and comfortable (This is for her, remember?). You are looking for something that says, "I love you", not "Can you break a twenty?" 
These three ideas will hit on something she needs - You've been paying attention. 
They are intimate and not something anyone else could buy her - You love her. 
Top this off with a gift certificate from the local salon for a manicure, pedicure, and facial. Women love this stuff.
And remember, if all else fails, you can always PAY someone to do this shopping for you. But wrap the gifts yourself. Even if it looks like crap, you'll get more points for trying than for buying.
If you are still feeling screwed and you are starting to think that those food processors would make a great gift, email me.