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May 09, 2008

What the....

Via Glenn Reynolds, have these women lost their minds?

Dr. Helen,

My wife has recently informed me that husbands are now expected to give their wives “push presents.” Quite frankly, the idea and the term disgust me. She is not pregnant, nor is she materialistic, shallow, or prone to feeling entitled to anything. To the contrary, she is an exceptional woman, and I don’t believe she was motivated to tell me this out of materialism. Thus, I found this somewhat out of character for her. I tried to convey my disgust to her, but she just did not seem to understand what I found so offensive about the idea.

I had never heard of this, but it is not only offensive but demeaning. Why don't you just put a fish in her mouth when she's done pushing and have done with it?

Have I been living underneath a rock? That said, this seems like the right response:

What a woman is saying when she expects a gift is that sex — and by extension, child-bearing — must be compensated by a man. This exchange boils down to legal prostitution (nothing wrong with prostitution in my book, but call a spade a spade). The problem here lies in the fact that wives who want this type of exchange often think of themselves as above being a prostitute, but indeed, they are not — they are just dishonest prostitutes who are pretending to be something else. And what about the act of paying for children? A diamond in exchange for a child? Isn’t this a little sick? And if this kind of exchange is okay for women, why not for men?

Perhaps husbands should start expecting “pro-presents” when they get a promotion — wives should be expected to get hubby a new car or perhaps some kind of fun technology he has been wanting, that new big screen TV, perhaps? If the wife has no money, surely there are other things she could do to show how much she cares that her husband is moving up the career ladder. I’ll let the guys fill in the blank here.

If women find the above suggestions insulting, then think how men might feel when women expect gifts from them for having their children. Something that is precious, amazing and part of the human experience has now been turned into a business transaction.

What was it I said yesterday? Something about doing things for the other person because you enjoy the doing, not because you secretly expect something in return?

It seems to me that is part of being an adult, whether you're a man or a woman.

Posted by Cassandra at May 9, 2008 08:20 AM

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Comments

Pretty shallow to cheapen a priceless event by putting a material value to it. Giving gifts should be a way of saying "Thank You" or "I Love You" instead of "That should cover it!" with a gift from Tiffany's.

Posted by: vet66 at May 9, 2008 10:02 AM

A gift is just that: the spontaneous act of a loving heart.

I never received anything after the birth of either of our two children, nor did it enter my mind in my wildest dreams that such a thing was merited. I think it would have made me uncomfortable, but then we didn't have money to spare back then.

I have no problem with people doing that sort of thing if they want to, but I hate any kind of ritualized gift giving anyway. The obligation takes all the fun out of it and makes a duty of what should be a pleasure.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 9, 2008 10:06 AM

The moment a "gift" is expected, it has ceased to be a "gift" and is now a payment (or even worse, a bribe). Sorry. I gotta go with the author, a wife who expects a 'push-present' is placing herself into the prostitution category.

Posted by: MikeD at May 9, 2008 10:51 AM

The term is vulgar in the extreme. Gracious.

Posted by: Grim at May 9, 2008 11:21 AM

I thought a "push present" was what you give your wife so that she COULD become pregnant - although, why wait for ovulation to be in a giving mood?

Posted by: Ministry of Love is an Angel Disguised as Lust at May 9, 2008 12:31 PM

*pushes present towards wife*

"Here y'go."

Oh, yeah -- *that* would light the candles...

Posted by: BillT at May 9, 2008 01:49 PM

Reminds me of an old joke, the punchline of which was: "No, dear, that was for jewelry."

Posted by: Buckin' For Corpse at May 9, 2008 02:18 PM

"... the fact that wives who want this type of exchange often think of themselves as above being a prostitute, but indeed, they are not — they are just dishonest prostitutes who are pretending to be something else. ..."

This is a tad harsh, isn't it, and shows absolutely NO sense of humor. Where is the humor?

Posted by: Ministry of Miscellaneous Phobias at May 9, 2008 02:44 PM

MoMP, please tell me, what word does this definition fit:

a person who engages in sexual intercourse for money or other material compensation

Cause last time I checked, that's not "wife". Is it harsh? Well... yes. I buy my wife gifts because I enjoy seeing the delight in her eyes when she opens them. Were she to "expect" a gift for some occasion, I would be more than a bit perturbed. I don't expect gifts for my birthday even. And I haven't always gotten any. Now, I DO buy my wife birthday presents. And I do buy her 'just because' presents. Of the two, she seems to appreciate the 'just because' presents more. But that's not what is described in the article:

My wife has recently informed me that husbands are now expected to give their wives “push presents.”

It's expected? Hmm. Sounds like a demand for payment to me.

Posted by: MikeD at May 9, 2008 03:10 PM

The shallowness of that just makes me sad.

Posted by: April at May 9, 2008 03:21 PM

My wife has recently informed me that husbands are now expected to give their wives “push presents.”

Mrs. MOMP expects me to bring home the bacon, and turn it into braces for the kids' teeth, furniture, granite counter-tops in the kitchen, and her favorite DVDs, and so on (and I get a crumb for myself every now and then too, lucky me). Is this the sort of expectation that would make Mrs. MOMP a whoore?

[putting up dukes while sitting at desk on 23rd floor of tall building in downtown Los Angeles]

Who among us HASN'T had a significant other make some pronouncement bordering on obnoxious, rude, demeaning, etc., from time to time? The best response (as some readers in the article to which VC linked): "oh yea - well you wouldn't be 'great with child' if it weren't for all my hard work pumping you full of sperm, darlin', so you can start paying ME for my efforts - I'll just go out and pick up that new road bike I've been lusting after, and the Gibson Hummingbird and American Standard Tele I been telling you about ...". Then we dissolve into laughter and before you know it its hoochy-coochy time again.

Of course, THIS could just as well describe ME: "a person who engages in gainful employment and torturous commuting in exchange for sexual intercourse and other physical and psychological compensation", so what do I know about anything ...

Posted by: Ministry of Miscellaneous Phobias at May 9, 2008 03:30 PM

Mark, that doesn't make any sense.

Marriage is a partnership. In a partnership there is generally a division of labor. I assume she doesn't sit on her tuckus all day?

Of course not. She contributes something to the relationship too, no? Who raises your children? If she did not do that, you'd have to pay someone. Who cooks your meals?

Stop me any time now.

But normally in a marriage one can contract our certain personal services (like housework and cooking) without violating the marriage vows. Sex ain't one of them - that isn't supposed to be relegated to the realm of commerce.

And neither should anyone be ordering their spouse to give them a gift. Because it stopped being a gift when the demand was made.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 9, 2008 03:36 PM

The difference, IOW, is when you get into the area of demanding tokens of affection as payment for services rendered. Not kosher.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 9, 2008 03:38 PM

Gift-giving (and some friendly "expectation" of receiving same) is part of the package deal that is a relationship. "Demands" for anything, OTOH, make it too much of a "transaction" in the commercial sense. A "wife" who starts DEMANDING things ("I have to have a ring like Mrs. So and So", or "I have to have a bigger house like Mrs. So and So"), if not called on it, would be tending toward letting her inner whooore come out. The man with proper hormone-generating equipment could (I suppose) either "smack the bitch" or try humor to lighten the mood, and could find her acknowledging that she was just listening to her lesser angels and not thinking. If not, the man with healthy respect for himself and her would walk out rather than STB.

Of course, there are LOTS of stupid, selfish, nit-witted people in the world ... we have managed to avoid most of them, so we haven't had to choose between STB and the humorous alternative.

Admit it though: if one's "significant other" didn't share the joy of making "the beast with two backs" every now and then, one would feel as though one wasn't getting what one needs and has a right to expect in a conjugal relationship - it's not just sex, of course - it's companionship, tenderness, comfort, morale-boosting, variety, humor, shared values, etc.

But if the relationship didn't include a "fair amount" of (voluntary) "slap and tickle", who among us would not contend that s/he had a "right" to it, such that the "deal" was broken?

Posted by: Ministry of Miscellaneous Phobias at May 9, 2008 03:59 PM

Agreed.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 9, 2008 04:04 PM

:)

Posted by: Ministry of Making the Beast With Two Backs at May 9, 2008 04:12 PM

good grief. I miss anouher head shrinking commentary.

I have a rather different take on it because I have chosen to stay home. I don't get jewelry or 'things' for All Major Male Guilt days. I don't need them.

We agreed to raise a family, and that it would take tools and things to raise them. So, we get each other stuff to make being parents and partners better.

His needs: Woodworking tools. A lifetime's collection was wiped out in the blinking of an eye, as were some of my things. We have not only replaced them, but there were some improvements along the way.

That was part of the bargain we struck when we got married. His worldly goods and mine were
not only the things we needed but the skills to use them...regardless of 'reward' or expectation
from the other as to use.

Although he did get me some really wonderful pearl earrings...

Posted by: Cricket at May 9, 2008 04:30 PM

"Push Presents"

Ugh. Is it sort of like a bonus for performing your labor well? Just sounds rather mercenary.

Just trying to clarify my own thoughts on this, as I don't have a strong opinion on the matter nor do I ever expect anything myself, but compare it to 'Birthday Present' or 'Graduation Present'. I suppose both of those are expected by the individual in question. Both of those are in celebration of an event. Given that, other than it sounding mercenary and the crassness in the 'asking', how is a "Push Present" much different if expected by a new mother? Why is there more discussion surrounding this, but not the others?

Posted by: Kevin L at May 9, 2008 04:45 PM

Maybe there is something wrong with me, but I didn't get a Graduation Present and I certainly would never have dreamed of informing anyone that I "expected" one.

The same goes for Birthday presents. They are customary, but optional. One doesn't "expect" or demand them. It is just that birthdays and graduations are both occasions on which people may, if the spirit so moves them, offer gifts.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 9, 2008 04:56 PM

"One doesn't "expect" or demand them. It is just that birthdays and graduations are both occasions on which people may, if the spirit so moves them, offer gifts."

That makes sense. Certainly, it answers my question.

Posted by: Kevin L at May 9, 2008 05:06 PM

They are customary, but optional. One doesn't "expect" or demand them.

By one's past conduct, one has "taught" the other that s/he may realistically look forward to receiving a token of one's affection for the other (appropriate to the occasion) and one wants to make the other feel good in a manner appropriate to the occasion. Similarly, by the other's past conduct, the other has "taught" the one that s/he may realistically look forward to receiving a token of the other's affection for the one (appropriate to the occasion) and the other generally wants to make the one feel good in a manner appropriate to the occasion. So the one/other bestows the TOOA on the other/one.
And they feel good.

Posted by: Ministry of Making the Beast With Double Entendres at May 9, 2008 05:18 PM

Yeah, well I've "taught" that it had better sparkle or taste like chocolate at least a half dozen times a year. I don't mind. I figure it's a small price to pay for being permitted to sleep indoors.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 9, 2008 06:17 PM

:)

I think every couple works out a different arrangement, I guess.

I like to be surprised :) It takes the fun out of it (for me) if I know it is coming. And I don't really care what it is. A lot of times I'm just as happy with a bunch of flowers or a special bottle of wine that we can enjoy together.

I could be wrong, but I really think that most women just want to know that you care about them. That is what the gift thing is: a visible token that you cared enough to stop the important business that takes up most of your time and court her a bit. My husband found the most wonderful florist at work. Every now and then he comes home with these exquisite armloads of flowers, and I just love them because for years we could never afford anything like that.

They are really nice to him because I think they like it that he takes his wife flowers, so they always make him something special. It's not fancy, but it works for me :) The important thing is that for a few hours I feel feel like a Princess, and then I make sure he knows how very much I appreciate him. And that's what it is all about.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 9, 2008 06:44 PM

"The important thing is that for a few hours I feel feel like a Princess, ...."

And you're saying your readers here don't make you feel like a princess every day ... (as compared to "for a few hours")?

Posted by: Ministry of Making the Beast With Double Entendres at May 9, 2008 07:13 PM

the trick of course is to remain vigilant so as not to take anything for granted ... so that one does not lose the capacity to understand how lucky one is ...

Posted by: Ministry of Making the Beast With Double Entendres at May 9, 2008 07:15 PM

Exactly.

And you guys are the best. God grant that I should never forget how very fortunate I am in all of you. You have all been far kinder to me than I deserve.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 9, 2008 07:16 PM

We just don't want to get poison ivy.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 9, 2008 07:53 PM

The only "trick" is not to get eaten. Everything else in life is fabulously negotiable.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 10, 2008 12:29 AM

My gal buys me presents...but then, I'm a very good boy. ;-)

Posted by: camojack at May 12, 2008 03:43 AM

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