The second Christmas we were together I bought Suze a new outfit. It was an ivory coloured basque with suspenders, panties and some matching stockings.
At the time I remember writing on the gift tag “To Alex, from Alex”, as a joke. After all, I would be the one looking at it, right?
Suze loves nice underwear, she says it makes her feel feminine and special, glamorous even. She likes getting ready for a night out (I just about remember the last time we had one of those, I hate being broke), dressing up, making herself up.
I think it’s mainly because she doesn’t feel the need to spend hours each morning in the bathroom beautifying herself. Nor does she have to wear designer clothes to go to the supermarket, and normally she wears no makeup.
So when she does get dressed up/made up I suppose she feels like a different person.
Which is why, at the time, the joke I made was a joke. Since then I have come to realise it said more about my immaturity than I could ever imagine. Now I can’t help but be reminded of the line from Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl”, “Couldn’t he just once buy me something I can wear outside the bedroom”.
Because despite the fact that she enjoyed wearing it and the seeing her in it effect it had on me. And despite the fact that she felt sexy and glamorous in it … I had bought it for me. OK so a lack of imagination at that young age, and the knowledge that she would want to be wearing it while I fucked her can be presented in some way as mitigation, but when I think about it now it bothers me.
Here’s the thing. If you give someone a gift and you were thinking about yourself when you gave it, isn’t that selfish?
I suppose it’s a bit like the series of comedy sketches by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse depicting two aging DJs “Smashey and Nicey”. One of them “Does a lot of work for charity”, but, “Doesn’t like to talk about it”. Of course he finds time to mention it in every show, I seem to remember him depicted as a deity of sorts tending to sick children in one sketch. Or was that Michael Jackson at the Brits? I forget.
Anyway, the point is giving your time or your money to charity is to be applauded. But then telling everyone about it makes people wonder about your motivation for giving in the first place.
Take for example Jimmy Saville, he used to be very high profile in his promotion of children’s charities/hospitals. In itself this was great and his style. He has quite a unique style :). But then again there’s another celeb, I think it was Norman Wisdom (apologies if it isn’t him), who would quietly slip into his local hospital, put on a porters uniform and simply work as a porter. Each to their own.
So there we are, back to motivation again. I’m not saying that either style of giving is more or less valid or useful to the causes in question, just different.
OK so the choice of present was not the most heinous of sins, but it does make me feel uncomfortable, even now.