Thursday, June 30, 2005

You Won't Get It If You Never Ask

When Nancy told me she was going to ask for designer sunglasses for her birthday, I thought she was crazy.

"Yeah, something designer - Like Gucci, or Fendi, Prada, or Chanel...Something like that," she said, wiping the sweat from her martini glass.

My eyes widened as I looked at her boyfriend, Alex, sympathetically. "Really?" I raised my eyebrows and shrugged my shoulders, as if to say Good luck. "Real ones? Why not just go to Canal Street in the City and get knockoffs?"

"Nah. I want the real ones." This from a woman who won't buy anything unless it's on sale.

Alex put his hands up and his mouth curled into a helpless grin. "She's the Countess." We all chuckled and sipped our cocktails.

When I went to their house yesterday, gift in hand, to wish Nancy a Happy Birthday, she greeted me in a new outfit.

"Happy birthday," I squealed, extending the card and cellophane-encased liquor I brought her.

"Thank you," her smile was audible as she returned my hug and accepted my gift.

"Nice pants," I said, nodding at her black capris.

"Thanks! Alex bought them for me." She took a step back from me, and looked down at her own pants, still smiling. "He totally spoiled me," she grinned. "Guess what else he got me!" With no intention of letting me offer guesses, she continued, "Fendi glasses!" Her eyes were wide, her whole body excited as she lifted the white-framed sunglasses from the case with FENDI emblazoned across the top. "It's just too much!" Her smile consumed her whole face, her pleasure genuine, her excitement pure.

I was shocked. I never expected him to shell out the crazy cash for plastic glasses. But that's because no one ever gave me designer glasses. But, then again, regardless of how badly I may have wanted a pair, I never asked for them.

She lifted the glasses and placed them gingerly on her face, her smile only growing bigger. She looked at Alex, seeking his approval, hoping the frames fit her face.

"They look great," he said. "I told you that already." He laughed and put his arms around her.

"I just can't believe it," she said again, carefully removing the glasses and putting them back in their case.

And I saw the difference between Nancy and me: She asked for what she wanted. I don't.

She's unashamed, not worried about being disappointed. Me, I drool over the ads in magazines for Chanel shades, imply that I want them, hoping the hints I've dropped are retrieved and held onto. Tightly.

In general, I don't ask for what I want. I expect the man in my life to just know. I don't want to ask for something, I want him to listen to context clues and figure it out. Part of it is that I know that if I don't get it, I can't be disappointed if I didn't ask for it. And if I do get it, I'll be surprised, and happy my man was paying attention.

Nancy, Alex and I left their house to celebrate her birthday. It was already 8:30 at night, but Nancy still tucked the Fendi case into her tiny purse. "I have to show them off," she said when she caught me watching her. I smiled in response.

I thought back to when she'd told me what she was asking for. I was so surprised that she was actually asking for something that expensive. In my last relationship, I was conditioned to not ask for too much. Asking for more than what he had decided he was willing to give equaled me being ungrateful for what he'd given me in the past.

And I don't mean designer sunglasses. I mean everything. I wanted him to love me more. I wanted him to marry me. I wanted to not feel like another stop on his daily errand run. I wanted to feel like I wasn't an obligation to him. I'd ask for it, and he'd leave me feeling like I'd just told him that nothing he did was good enough. So I stopped asking, and tried to lead by example. That didn't work, because he wasn't good at recognizing hints. And I didn't want to appear to be ungrateful, so I kept my mouth shut and hoped he'd figure it out sooner or later. He didn't.

I thought requesting love would be cheaper, more reasonable to give than a pair of $400.00 shades. I was wrong. He would've rather given me the sunglasses.


God's gift to women (with really low standards) said...

I got here from Kris' blog. She's my gateway to other cool blogs. Those last few paragraphs kinda made me sad. I hope things are going well for you now.

Casey said...

I have sooo been there.

Maybe it's the southerner in me, but asking for anything makes me feel so selfish. I've only recently started letting myself think (and say), "You know what? I deserve better."

But, on a side note: $400 for sunglasses??? You gotta be kidding me!!!

Anonymous said...

Yea, I know. SOME men are very genuine, while others think mostly about themselves. I think it is up to you to recognize the REAL man. And from all you have written, you KNOW the real ones from the fake ones, right? So, what's the problem? Leave the sefish, self absorbed ones to find some other sucker to torment!!!!!You have better things to do with your time.

NJ said...

A woman once told me that she didn't want anything for her birthday. Guess what I got, I'm not that stupid. She got a card and a small gift and was pissed at me. I say if you really want it, just ask.

kate said...

I have never been in love and never cared enough about a man to be disappointed and hurt the way you have. But every time I read your posts, I feel like I've just gotten my heart broken. I don't know if I want to fall for someone now if this is what I have to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

Some men truly love to make there women happy, and if that means a pair of designer shades it's easy.
At least I had the common sense not to buy the matching Fendi handbag (lol).


P.S. I got the hint,"Channel shades" are on your x-mas list.

Jason said...

Casey, as a native Kentuckian I know what you mean about feeling guilty about asking, although living in NYC and the LA area got me over that. ;-) Laurie, the simple truth is guys will almost never "just know," you have to tell them what you want. I've had many a pissed off girlfriend (and sometimes wife) because they don't get this simple fact. It's not that I won't give what they want, it's just my third eye isn't well developed. ;-)

Alobar's Adventure said...

Hi Laurie, I bebopped over this way via Casey's favorites, and now I see why. I must say, that as the story progressed, I almost knew immediately that when your friend "asked" for the glasses, she would get them. I do follow your reasoning for not asking for things, and I think too that it can be selfish. The thing is that where is the "fun" in asking for something? If you get it, it was probably expected, if you don't, it IS a disappointment. However, if you drop hints, mention this or that, and end up with it in the end, what a pleasant surprise. It means that those close to you are actually paying attention (a gift in itself?) Plus, what's better? Opening a gift Christmas morning, going through all those bows and all tht paper to get to something that you know is there, why even wrap it? Or opening up a gift with the true anticipation that it could be anything...and maybe, just maybe, something you really want!

The end of your post is a bit saddening, but perhaps that experience will be something of a learning experience, and keep you away from chumps like that in the future. No one should have to feel that way.

Kiki said...

I feel bad asking for things too, but it's ok to want things and not necessarily selfish to ask for things. I think it's when you start demanding or taking advantage of a giving person, that you become selfish.
Unrelated comment: I have a confession: I cheated on Strip Search with Being Bobby Brown. I couldn't help it, the Bobby Brown show was soo funny...and I know I'll be able to see SS reruns this weekend.

jen said...

ouch, girl.

at first i was reading along thinking this was just some kinda jovial 'listen to what this bitch did' story, but you really had something to say in the end.

nice writing :)

Scoot said...

ok, I'm sure Nancy is great, but $400 for sunglasses? oy. i mean oy!

I can't even think of a good comment. :)