I suppose at some point in history, it was considered sensible and sexy to acknowledge the thirteenth year of marriage with a doily. Because on the list of traditional anniversary gifts, that’s what’s recommended as a gift for people who’ve spent more than a DECADE listening to one another slurp soup: LACE.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I’ve spent close to 15 YEARS finding someone else’s fingernail clippings in my car cup holder, I’m going to expect something more than a tatted handkerchief that requires hand-washing in Woolite.
Furthermore, in addition to not only believing it’s unrealistic to give a couple DESK SETS for their seven-year itch, I also believe it’s unrealistic to think most contemporary twosomes will wait until years of coupledom have passed to celebrate their union in grand fashion. So, here are seven relationship milestones that deserve both recognition and gifts (also known as a fine opportunity for me to throw some of the standard anniversary suggestions under the bus).
Changing Your Relationship Status
For most modern couples, declaring you’re “In A Relationship” on Facebook is a decision that involves (or should involve) a fair amount of contemplation. In fact, the olden day equivalent of this milestone is a full year of arranged marriage, for which the traditionalists suggest a First Anniversary gift of…PAPER.
WHAT?! Congratulations on telling 600 of your closest friends you are no longer on the market! Here’s a little something from the coffee filter family! Nope. I think I’ll pass. This one deserves bacon. Thick-cut and peppered.
Attending Your Mate’s High School Reunion
Typically, this event involves plenty of other people’s alcohol poisoning and hip fractures, so any initial awkwardness on your part should quickly dissipate. But, it can be a watershed moment in a relationship — one where folks finally prove to the former class president that they haven’t been lying about their girlfriend.
So, some sort of gift that honors your significant other’s ability for small talk is in order. Perhaps the recommended Second Anniversary present of cotton? Because doing body shots with your drunk track coach earned me some gauze, and feigning interest in your old locker combination earned me some tube socks, and getting a concussion on the dance floor, courtesy of your ex-girlfriend’s massive tits, most definitely earned me a king set of 1500-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.
Meeting The Parents
There have been entire trilogies of bad movies based on this exact premise, because it’s usually on par with a public pap smear. Anything that requires an entire weekend of not pooping and not mentioning you majored in puppeteering deserves a reward.
We could go with the Third Anniversary of leather for this benchmark, but I’m letting you know right now that a Western saddle isn’t going to make up for your stepfather playing grab-ass unless that saddle is attached to Pegasus. So, let’s try concert tickets. And by “concert” I mean “gold” and by “tickets” I mean “necklace.”
Moving In Together
This is HUGE. Or not. It really depends on how much rent it costs for a one-bedroom in the city where you live. Regardless, cohabitation does earn a place on the relationship timeline. So, let’s nod at this one with the Sixth Anniversary gift of candy. A King Size bag of Skittles should suffice. I mean, I can’t think of anything better than a handful of fruit chews in exchange for agreeing to let your man hang that Icehouse beach towel instead of curtains.
Planning A Wedding
I’m not going to lie. Planning a wedding was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. How do we NOT invite those people? Will so-and-so’s complexion look good in navy? What if the onion tartlets are more like mini quiches? Can we play that song on a loudspeaker during the champagne toast thingy? And where for the love of Vera Goddamned Wang can I get a cake knife shaped like AN OSTRICH FEATHER?!?! Suffice it to say, even the most mellow tomboy-of-a-girl will, at some point during this preparatory hell, contemplate throwing herself off an overpass, because she will probably yell “I SPECIFICALLY SAID SPEARMINT AND NOT CELADON!” at a priest.
So, to laud the groom in question here, I’m going to recommend the Thirty-fifth Anniversary gifts of coral and jade.
(And Coral and Jade are hookers.)
Birth Of A Child
Some of you may choose to solidify (or greatly stress) your union by making a baby. This baby will, like it or not, destroy at least one reproductive system, empty your bank account, scream during Mad Men, and eventually steal all your liquor. A gift exchange is ABSOLUTELY in order for this achievement. Might I suggest the Eightieth Anniversary gift of oak? Because I just found a f*cking acorn. Not a walnut, mind you. Not a pinecone. AN ACORN. Here. Take it. I INSIST. HERE’S TO NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN, ENJOY THIS OAKEN NUGGET.
Just kidding. This accomplishment calls for big stuff. He should get a Porsche and she should get a boob job, both of which are paid for with the child’s college fund.
Making Out A Will
This is a landmark moment. This is where you sit down in a lawyer’s office and discuss horrible things, like: Who will raise our children if we die? How much money will you leave me if you get hit by a bus, because all I’m qualified to do is tweet? And, most importantly, do you prefer a feeding tube or for me to just yank the ever-loving shit out of the plug?
Stuff like this will make you laugh and cry and reach for an Emily Post book for gift advice, because surely the pinnacle of suggested anniversary presents will make you feel better about your slow, painful, pending deaths.
What’s that? The NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY gift suggestion is STONE? Because after 90 YEARS of smelling your man’s dutch ovens, here’s a stone?! Because nothing is cuter than first grade sweethearts who’ve shared the same toilet for the lifespan of a giant tortoise, so here’s a piece of gravel? Tell you what. Let’s go on and make that stone a motherf*cking HEADSTONE.
And now we know how the WWII generation stayed together so long: it’s because they had absolutely NO ROMANTIC EXPECTATIONS whatsoever.
Anyway. Back to that will. You just made out a depressing legal document, and I was going to suggest a trip to Key West to acknowledge this special and difficult event. But thanks to those Depression-era people, I guess we’ll now just settle for an apple cobbler Yankee Candle and a shared Pabst. Cheers, Baby. You better leave me your grandmother’s sterling shot glasses.