Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Men are from Mars, women are from Argos

Sod the recession - Christmas is coming, so it's time to whip out that credit card and spend like there's no (VAT increase) tomorrow. But how to be sure that you're buying your significant other what they really want?

I'll be the first to admit, I'm a difficult person to buy for. If there's something I want, chances are I've either bought it or pre-ordered it to be dispatched the moment it's released. As a consequence, Christmas morning usually becomes an exercise in voucher collation.

But despite the average person being much less avaricious and materialistic than yours truly, it seems that many people still struggle to pick out a gift in those fevered weeks running up to the holidays. Worry not, the Daily Mail is here to help you to figure out those painfully cryptic clues, ensuring that Boxing Day won't be spent sleeping on the sofa in disgrace or queing for hours in the 'returns' queue at Debenhams.

When it comes to understanding modern female psychology, there's really no finer source than the Mail, which has its french-tipped finger on the pulse of contemporary womanhood. Its editorial team know exactly what drives the female mind, and exploits these incredible insights at every turn to make sure that women feel guilty for having childrennot having childrenbeing feminists, being bimbos, gossiping, working, studying, socialising, dieting, putting on weight, shopping and being frugal. If you have ovaries and you don't already hate yourself, a couple of week's of Britain's best-selling paper will soon have you plunging into a spiral of self-loathing despair.

With the female psyche a heaving maelstrom of hang-ups, it's a good job that the Mail is on hand to guide clueless menfolk through the perils and pitfalls of present picking, with an exclusive guide to interpreting their better half's hints. Hold onto your hats folks - here comes the scientific bit.

Perhaps you're married to a 'pepper hinter'. She constantly seeds her conversation with "mentions of preferred gifts". Presumably, that means statements like "I really want one of those for Christmas." See? Now, you're starting to understand the labyrinthine complexities of the female mind.

But as we all know, many of the messages we receive are non-verbal. In fact, according to John Borg, "human communication consists of 93 percent body language and paralinguistic cues". That's an awful lot of arm waving.

So the next time you're standing outside Ratners and your beloved starts gesticulating wildly at a sparkly necklace, she may well be indicating that she'd like to be wrestling it from the dog's eager jaws on Christmas morning. She's what the "experts" call a 'present pointer' - cleverly using hand gestures to draw your attention to those objects of desire. And you thought she'd just developed a violent twitch.

Still with me? Then down the rabbit hole we continue. The 'Chinese Whisperer' tells friends and family what she wants for Christmas, so that they can relay the message to her clueless spouse. These oh-so-subtle clues might come in the form of the following exchange: "Do you know what she wants for Christmas?" "Yes, she said she wants a Gucci purse." If only there was some way to decode this cryptic messaging. 

Finally, there's the 'Careless Lister', who cleverly leaves a Christmas List (usually entitled 'List of Things I Want For Christmas') lying around the house. If you see such an item artfully arranged on the breakfast bar or coffee table, it's possible the lady in your life could be trying to tell you something. Like the fact that she wants a fucking iPhone.

By now your jaw is probably agape, and you're scratching your head at how on Earth you're supposed to decipher such complex messaging. After all, as ex-Big Brother body-language expert Geoff Beattie explains, "Women know what they want and are increasingly turning to “adventising” in order to get it – using clues to advertise to men what they want for Christmas. However, their covert suggestions can at times fall on deaf ears and men are missing out on a massive two thirds of crucial hints dropped by the ladies in their life."
If it wasn't for Boots kindly stumping up the cash for this hard-hitting and revelatory research, men might still be in the dark about how to placate their passive-aggressive partners. Unless this is all just a cynical exercise in PR designed to sell more fragranced soap and toilet bags at 4.30 on Christmas Eve.

Surely, no-one's that credulous, are they? Or do I have to give you a clue...

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