I love procrastinating. This morning, for example, I woke up feeling very le tired, and gave myself five more minutes to do what I call "The Horizontal Instagram Scroll." (I'm a Millennial.) During "THIS" (see what I did there?) I came upon an incredibly relatable post. It was a drawing by my favorite artist, Mari Andrew, that reads, "Gift Guides That Would Really Be Helpful," followed by, "For The Guy You Are 'Dating' But Would Prefer To Be Dating." Um, SECULAR EQUIVALENT OF AMEN! What even are gifts for a casual relationship? Do they exist?
As one who is deeply committed to her love of procrastination, I have bought exactly zero gifts as of December 12. Dilly-dallying mean that gift guides are my friend that keeps me from gifting everyone a bottle of booze. A procrastinator in love as well as in life — I'm very dedicated — I don't exactly share my feelings right away... or ever. Thus, I often find myself "dating" but not dating people I'm incredibly into because I'm afraid to be vulnerable. Oops. (Don't worry, I go to therapy.)
If you find yourself in the very strange position of it being the time of year where you're supposed to buy all of the important people in your life gifts, but you and one of the important people in your life have not necessarily made that level of importance "official," I feel you. To help you straddle the line between being the Grinch and being Buddy the Elf, I've created this list of seven gifts that say "you sorta matter to me." Here they are:
1. The Room on DVD
Everyone is buzzing about James Franco's new film The Disaster Artist, which chronicles the making of a famously terrible film called The Room. (Yes, it's very meta, but yes, it's Franco.) I like this gift for a "naked-friend-who-also-knows-about-your-childhood" because it's topical, it's useful (it's not streaming anywhere), and the recipient will know you didn't spend all that much on it (it's $10, to be exact).
Bonus: This gift locks your bae in for at least two more dates. First, to watch it together — because no one should watch The Room alone. Plus, you're definitely going to have to go see The Disaster Artist in theaters together. (Because all budding relationships could use a little old-fashioned manipulation.)
2. A Six-Pack
Bet you didn't see that one coming. Because holiday party season is basically trick-or-treating for booze, it's as inconspicuous of a gift as you'll find. Plus, it won't go to waste.
For those timid half-girlfriends out there: You didn't sell your eggs to acquire "that person you're seeing" a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, you just went to the bodega. Try and pick out something sort of unique — I'm newly obsessed with the branding of this Sunday beer — or at least pick out something they like. Or, like, hand them a pack of Miller High Life because you don't care that much and stuff but you did a nice thing for them or whatever...
3. A Matchbook From The Bar You Had Your First Date At
Yes, even if your "whatever" doesn't smoke. A matchbook is cute, vaguely shows your interest, and requires so little effort it could easily be interpreted as an accidental gift. I'd give it a nice, "Oops! Look what I just found!" before handing over the tiny goods. Come to think of it, I recently went on a date with a cutie at a bar that sells stickers that read "Fingerbang Alley, Population: 2." Hmm...
Because let's be real: no matter your partner's gender, there's no turning this down. Plus, of all of these gift ideas, this is the one most likely to guarantee that you get a gift in return.
5. Pre-Pay Something, So They Don't Have To
For example, laundry. Laundry is something that nobody likes paying for, but it's also not that expensive. If your "we-hang-out-every-night-but-both-still-have-multiple-dating-apps" cutie sends their laundry out and you know when and where they do it, go over on your lunch break and pay for it in advance. This is sweet and unexpected. This would also work at their local coffee shop, a bar tab, or you could just pay their cable bill. Actually, that last one sounds like it requires Social Security numbers and is creepy-stalky. Scratch that.
6. Something They Don't Have In Their Apartment, But Should
I'm thinking of a guy I dated who didn't have one of those toilet brush scrubby things, but who really needed one because ew. While it's certainly not a romantic gesture, buying something cheap for your favorite sleepover pal is the epitome of casual-cool. Other options include: a nice bar of soap, Frank's RedHot sauce, or, if you're feeling wild, a Diptyque candle. Assuming you're pseudo-dating an adult who won't freak out over a tiny gift, all of these gifts will be nice amenities for you, too, during future sleepovers.
7. A Card That Says "Will You Be My Special Person?"
Yes, this move has no chill, but what love story ever started out with chill? Romeo and Juliet? Jack and Rose? No. "Chillness" is overrated. Chillness is antiquated.
Instead of all of the consternation that comes with wondering if you should get your "I don't know, Mom, we're taking it slow!"-person a present, why not get yourself a present this year and ask them to make it official? It's scary, but no matter how it turns out, you'll have lots of booze, cookies, family, and friends this month to cry with — or celebrate with. You won't know if you don't make a move. (But also LOL, it's OK if you are too scared because hi, I am too. You're not alone!)
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