This week I had to venture to Bluewater, our local shopping mall with over 300 shops as hubby’s birthday was around the corner. Not a problem, as I had a hit list of only three items and knew I would be in and out fairly quickly…. Wrong. I had forgotten about the curious British custom of cards!
As I had decided to get hubby’s phone upgraded to a newer version of his old one, my first visit was to Carphone Warehouse. “OMG” I hear you think “that’s where she nearly got arrested for being a suspect terrorist last time, why would she attempt to buy another phone?” Well, I was smart this time, didn’t mention anything about buying a phone, didn’t tell them my name, and just collected the info I needed. I was in and out of the shop within minutes with the information I needed and headed to the next shop.
Item number two was an aftershave. Unfortunately hubby’s favourite aftershave by Moschino has been discontinued, so I sniffed myself through some other ones by the same designer and promptly decided on one that I felt would suit my husband and “smelled like him”.
Extremely pleased with myself I headed to the last shop, a card shop. Now at this point I need to explain to my Finnish friends about the strange custom of cards in the UK. You see, even if you buy someone the most beautiful and expensive gift, one MUST buy a card as well. A gift without a birthday card is simply not acceptable. During our nearly 25 year marriage, it has sent my husband into a panicked frenzy, when he has realised that we have no CARD to go with a present, because his Finnish wife has once again lacked to understand the importance of a CARD!
So there I am, in the card shop, browsing for a birthday card for hubby in the HUSBAND section. You see my Finnish friends, if you are married, it is compulsory to choose one that says wife or husband on the front of the card. But worse is still to come. Inside the card is some overly soppy poem or text that somebody with a total lack of understanding of a marriage has written.
“ Happy Birthday darling husband, my life is not complete without you” . Yes it bloody well is. I lived happily for 28 years before I married you, without feeling “incomplete”. “Happy Birthday husband, I love you more every day”. No I bloody don’t, I tolerate you more every day that goes past, as I have mellowed over the years!
Seriously, why don’t they make cards for real people in a real marriage? These are my suggestions for the text inside the card for people with over 20 years of marriage behind them:
“ Happy Birthday husband. You’ve managed another day without me wanting to kill you”
“ Happy Birthday husband, I love the way you make me laugh every day, even when I laugh so much that I fart by accident”
“Happy birthday husband and thank you for still loving me when I have PMS and lash out at you without any comprehensible reason”
Anyway, in the end I managed to find a fairly suitable card and hubby’s birthday was celebrated yesterday. He was very pleased with his card and the upgrade of his phone. “And what about the aftershave?” I hear you ask.
Well, that was a bit embarrassing. As hubby was unwrapping his present I excitedly told him how I found this “new” aftershave for him after sniffing through different options. He looked at me bewildered. “This is the aftershave I have been using for the last three years, I don’t know who’s husband you have been sniffing”.
I think I’ve just had my first senior moment.