Four Jackets and a Chanel Bag
Buying the first present for your newish girlfriend is a little bit tricky. One doesn’t want to go too big. The purchase of a lavish, extravagant item, such as jewelry or a summer home, might suggest a level of seriousness that shouldn’t be present in a relationship that’s only slightly older than The Waiting’s adorable baby (yay, Waiting!). It could also suggest that one is trying to buy affection, which I hear is a more effective strategy when one actually has money. Conversely, a cheap, chincy pair of earrings from Claire’s Boutique or a box of pepero from the GS 25 will likely result in a return to the singles pool. The first gift carries a bit more weight than later presents do, and should thus be treated with a level of care that is atypical for a guy such as myself.
The speed with which I had to get my gf her first present was increased significantly when she sort of went bananas with jackets. One night she came over to my apartment, carrying a coat that she’d bought for me. “It was on sale,” she said, “and I thought it would look good on you. I couldn’t help myself.” There was no doubt that it was a nice garment, sort of like a longish pea coat. The pea trench coat, if you will. A week or two later, I was wearing my gift on a nice, sunny day. “It’s too warm for that,” she said, and shortly after she arrived one night with a nice spring jacket for me. The smorgasbord of outerwear wasn’t over. See, the summer is approaching, so I also got a summer jacket a day or two after the spring one. At this point, I would like to point out that my new girlfriend is pretty awesome.
In total, the lady got me three jackets. You may be saying to yourself, “That’s odd…I could swear the title of this is Four Jackets and a Channel Bag.” Rest assured, there is no fourth jacket. I felt the title was catchier, despite the fact that it’s completely inaccurate. ‘Four’ sounds better than ‘three,’ and it also makes it sound like a play on Four Weddings and a Funeral, which I hear is a lovely movie British people enjoy.
Anyways, I’m not the kind of person who can take a gift and be happy. Whenever I get a present from someone, I immediately feel bad about it, like I’m taking advantage of that person and have to do something special in return. I felt guilty after the first jacket; by the time I’d gotten the third one, I felt like Phil Spector. The problem was that I had no idea what the gf would want.
“It would make me happy to get you something,” I told her. “Please. Do you want a dress? I don’t know. A coat? Do you want a coat?”
After insisting that it wasn’t necessary, finally she relented. “I want a Channel bag.”
“Oh,” I said, the terror of a man who has seen his own tragic end making my voice fluctuate. “A Channel bag?”
She started laughing. “It was a joke! A Channel bag is very expensive! It is $5,000!”
“Ha,” I said, wiping sweat off my brow. “Funny.”
“Great! We can go to the mall this weekend and get you a bag.”
“The mall? The bags are overpriced there.”
“Listen, don’t worry about the price. I want to get you a bag you’ll really like.”
The truth was, though, that the price was a little worrying. What would be the appropriate amount of money to spend? We’ve been together for a month and a half. What does that compute to in dollars? If she wanted a bag that was $600, I figured I’d have to explain things to her.
“Okay, sweetheart, the thing is, we have to date another six months or so before I can buy you that particular bag. See the other one over there, the one for $350? That will only take you another two-three months. Now, the tiny little bags for $10…you can get one of those and dump me next week and that would be fine.”
As it turned out, she decided the bags at the mall were a rip off and led me down to Myeongdong (the craziest, most famous shopping area in Seoul), where she found a pink bag she really liked for a modest forty bucks. For the record, I would’ve gone higher. Like, forty five.
Seriously, I would’ve spent a lot more. I just would’ve had to pawn off one of my 9,000 jackets.