My first name is Ian and my middle name is Kevin and I remember when one Christmas my father gave me a small Totes umbrella and a box of handkerchiefs from Pierre Cardin, a French designer who was old and out of style at the time. The handkerchiefs were embroidered with the single initial “K” and I was furious. That cheap bastard, I swore if I didn’t look like him I would have sworn that my mother must have cheated on him before I was born because we couldn’t possibly be related.
I told someone about it later on, a friend, family member or girl-friend I don’t remember, but they said that he probably couldn’t find something with the initial “I” on it. And I said or thought, couldn’t he have dug deeper in the bargain bin at Woolworth’s or whatever cheap hell hole he dragged it from. I was upset, I was disappointed.
If I were to tell this story to my mother now, she would say that I was ungrateful and perhaps that I was the bastard instead of my father, but she would also say that I was someone who is always difficult to buy gifts for. She would say that I was too fussy and that whatever I got, it would never be good enough, and that is why she always sends me a check to go out and have a meal somewhere or get something else that I want. But I think she would be wrong, at least partially.
There was another time when I was involved with someone and he asked me what I wanted, my first pair of leather pants, after he told me what he wanted, a leather messenger bag by some designer in SoHo that no one has ever heard of since. For one reason or another he was unable to come with me to find the pants so he gave me the cash and I went to the leather store on Christopher Street in the Village; the one where they make them so tight that they tell you to take off your underwear so that you can fit into them. So after I sported my semi as the salesman felt and rubbed my thigh up while he told me it was a good fit, after all of that was done and my thrill was over, I felt kind of jilted. There would be no unwrapping of Christmas packages, no hidden treasure trove, no junk and no need for me to say “this is nice” between clenched teeth and a fake smile. All of that was taken away from me and I didn’t like it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to think about the things that I want. I want to be surprised by the thoughts and care that people have about me. I want to know that someone has taken the time and effort to think about what it is they can do for me and not what’s most convenient for them. I really don’t care if someone gives me a bag of shit or a Maserati, well that might be a little extreme, but as long as there is some thought behind it I’ll be a friend for life.
Oh and by the way, yes I still have the handkerchiefs. I've had them about 20 years now and it's been about 5 years that he's been dead and they are still in the damn box, but what are you going to do, it’s from my father.
Merry Christmas everyone.