Putting aside the awful gifts from boyfriends, socks and undeniably revealing clothing, there are those few unintentional gifts from boyfriends and ex’s that seem to be most significant. This is not to say that I am not grateful for presents painstakingly chosen by men who hate shopping (not all men hate shopping, by the way, just the ones I date), but it seems that often these gifts have a motive involved. For example, he would like to see my breasts in normal daily route, while I prefer keeping those babies covered up. The gifts I most treasure are those shared passions and interests. For example, one ex-boyfriend loved cycling. I hadn’t gotten a new bike since middle school, a silver GT Bullet mountain bike, and I never particularly liked riding. I grew up in a rural area, so if I wanted to go to the park, it meant a ten mile bike ride, and if I wanted to get to my closest friends house, I would bike five miles. Cycling was a means of transportation when I had no other options.
Road bikes, however, were different. They were slim, sleek, and fast. They coexisted with busy city traffic. Compared to a car, they were freeing. I enjoyed learning about them, about how to fix up the used ones I bought—the only ones I could afford. I oiled the chains, wrapped new bar tape, and basically felt like a badass. The exhilaration of wind pummeling my face, the burn of pedaling, and the fury of speed were nuances that eluded me years ago on my mountain bike. He and I went on midnight rides and I learned from him about bikes. That relationship didn’t last, but my fascination with bikes did. It’s now warm enough in Buffalo to go for rides, which just brightens my day.
Another significant gift was mid-century modern design. This ex had gorgeous mid-century pieces in his home, a Seth Thomas starburst clock in perfect condition, credenzas, display cases, and figurines. I had been drawn to this style before we met, but seeing his home outfitted in this era made me swoon. Whenever I think about incorporating a new piece of furniture, I search eBay, Craig’s List, thrift stores, and vintage shops. I hunt for tapered legs and beautiful finished wood. I have swan figurines swimming on my record player credenza, gold starburst encrusted plates, and a peg-legged desk with curved wood drawers. My friend, Megan, gifted me a Charlie Harper coffee table book.
When I think about my boyfriend now, and what he has unconsciously gifted me, I think about food. He is a very practical man, and seems to have endless information regarding uncommon vegetables and their nutritional benefits. He loves organic, locally-sourced food, and he’s a great cook. I’ve taken on a recipe or two, and I am very much hoping that this will be a gift that folds itself into my routine. For my birthday, he made me a raw vegan cheesecake with chocolate ganache and my favorite vegan mac and cheese casserole. He’s making me dinner tonight and I can’t wait to see what we are having.
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