Dear women of the United Kingdom.
I know it is just us reading this, as every man in the land will have disappeared this morning – on the pretext of ‘getting more milk’ – to search for your gift.
He left it until today as his small brain still hoped that Christmas might be cancelled due to the weather, Brexit, your mother/father/dog dying, or that you might have got divorced after that contretemps in M&S on Friday when he suggested Morrisons is cheaper.
Unlike him, the monosyllabic lump, the gift will speak volumes. Here’s my guide to decoding his present. Chocolates of any description. He’s trying to make you fat so he can go off with another woman
But no, you are still shackled together, and Christmas is going ahead, much to his chagrin.
He will return this afternoon, ashen, after an exhausting foray to the high street, clutching something in a plastic bag as thin as your patience. What will he give you, I wonder, when you have given him children, or at least your last remaining childbearing years.
But unlike him, the monosyllabic lump, the gift will speak volumes. Here’s my guide to decoding his present. Each of these atrocities, bar one, has been given to me at some point, so it’s no surprise I’m single…
1. Petrol forecourt flowers or a half-dead poinsettia covered in glitter. Flowers at Christmas are OK, provided they are classy and uniformly white. But if they contain gypsophila, and are wrapped in cellophane with a Nisa Local sticker attached, this means he’s never going to pay child support after he’s left you.
QUOTES of the week
‘No one under 45 will have owned a blue passport and most will think they’re not worth £50 billion and crashing the economy.’
Labour MP Mary Creagh questions whether changing British passports from burgundy back to blue is such a great idea.
‘They were told they were rubbish and if they didn’t behave better they would be given bread and water at the Christmas party.’
Lee Robinson reveals how children at a Cardiff school were criticised by their head after their Nativity show.
‘When a musical is bad it’s like a teenager’s socks – it stinks to high heaven.’
Hugh Jackman, hopes his role as impresario PT Barnum impresses the critics.
‘A lot is expected of women. Are we better off than our mothers? Not necessarily.’
Kirstie Allsopp suggests that career women have created problems for themselves.
2. Chocolates of any description. He’s trying to make you fat so he can go off with another woman. If he gives you liqueurs, he finds you as sexy as your ancient maiden aunt and/or thinks liver disease will be a cheaper option to divorce. If he gives you Matchmakers, it’s a warning he’ll go on Tinder if you say you’re trusting him to load the dishwasher. If it’s anything salted caramel, he’s spent far too much time in front of MasterChef when he should have been up a ladder checking the smoke alarms. ‘Do you want me to burn in my bed?’ I have been known to wail.
3. Perfume. He scores a point if it’s one you already wear, but nul points if it’s eau de toilette, not de parfum. If it’s one his mum wears, phone a shrink. If it’s one his ex wore, phone a lawyer. And who really wants more bottles in the bathroom attracting dust?
4. A single DVD chosen at random from a box set (my husband once gave me season three of The L Word; I gave him a car). It means he thinks you have nothing left to say to each other, and he is safe to play games on his phone, ignoring your cries of: ‘But who on earth is that? Who was murdered?’
5. If it’s a spiraliser or stepometer, he is saying he’ll put you in a home if you get brittle bone disease followed by dementia. If he gives you a spa voucher, tear it up and throw it in his face: he wants you out of the house so he can watch Brian Cox without you saying: ‘But who put the black holes there in the first place?’ If he buys you a massage, he thinks you have cellulite.
6. Underwear. Hmmm. Can earn Brownie points, but only if it is really expensive (think Myla, not Primark) and, here’s the important bit, the correct size. My ex bought me three thongs in a MEDIUM! This is passive aggression designed to belittle you, especially when he adds: ‘Just cos you’re flat doesn’t mean you’re a size 8.’
A Nigella cookbook means he thinks you don’t feed him enough, never bother to light enough candles, and don’t lick the spoon seductively for him as you slave over the stove
7. A visitors’ book. Unless you’re the Duchess of Devonshire, who needs one? I like to forget whoever has stayed with me. It means he’s about to start asking his mates round for Sacred Rivers with Simon Reeve when he baulked at your suggestion to go punting in Cambridge.
8. Clothes brushes. My ex gave me this for my birthday, in a mahogany box like a coffin. He obviously thinks I have dandruff. He subliminally wants me dead.
9. A Nigella cookbook means he thinks you don’t feed him enough, never bother to light enough candles, and don’t lick the spoon seductively for him as you slave over the stove. If it’s a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall vegan cookbook, he’s secretly gay.
10. My friend’s boyfriend has just asked whether she wants bellows for Christmas. For the fire. This means he thinks she is a manual labourer with bingo wings.
11. Jewellery has to be expensive or it is a health hazard. My ex-husband bought me diamond earrings so microscopic I had to go to A&E, already overstretched at this time of year, to have them removed as they’d fallen into my ear piercing. Then again, unless he’s proposing, jewels smack of guilt. What on earth has he done this time?