Classic advice from April 13, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
My boyfriend of three years has no clue what to do as far as romance, gifts, and manners. I love him a lot and we want to get married someday, but I’m not so sure. I can’t count on him, and every holiday when we get each other stuff, he puts no thought into the gifts and gets me the cheapest thing he can find (even leaves the price tag on stuff). I put a lot of thought into his gifts and I try to be as sweet and thoughtful as I can, I have even tried to give him tips ….? What to do?
Some people can carry a tune, some people can’t. Some people can cook, some people can’t. Some people can make that funny shamrock shape with their tongues, some people can’t. And — you know where this is going — some people can buy gifts, some people can’t. Buying The Right Gift is a high-pressure situation in which not all of us display grace. It may be genetics; after all, it’s safe to say that the only people who reproduce with the giving-challenged are the ones who don’t dump the dude/ette who gets them batteries for their birthday.
So I would tell you to suck it up and ask him nicely to keep all receipts — if he shows his love and thoughts for you in other ways. But there’s this one clause that makes me worried about your anti-Santa. It’s the one where you say, “I can’t count on him.” Well, there you go. If Breakup Girl may take you at your word, it sounds like this guy’s less-than-commanding presents are not an aberration, but an indication … that he may not exactly be God’s gift. Trust your gut, Carrie, and trust Breakup Girl on this one: finding someone who finds his own way to come through for you, no matter what — well, you can’t put a price tag on that.