By MIA FREEDMAN
The fact Kanye West just bought Kim Kardashian a big new piece of diamond jewellery is hardly newsworthy. But the reason he did it is an example of a growing phenomenon: push presents.
Did you get one? Would you want one? Do women DESERVE one?
And when did everything we do in life need to be commemorated with diamonds?
The rap star reportedly gave Kim, 32, the push present to mark the occasion of the birth of daughter North.
I have a question and it’s not about their baby’s name. In fact, Kim and Kanye can call their baby Kevin Rudd and encrust its nappies with diamonds if that is their wish. My business, it’s none of.
But can we take a moment to reflect on the plethora of new ‘traditions’ springing up like fungus whose main purpose seems to be ‘separating my loved ones from their cash and their time so they can focus on… me.’
Women are generally quite good at inventing these traditions. Having long excelled at making a party out of molehill, some women have a new item to add to their list of Things I Must Have and Ways People Must Celebrate Me.
Like Push Presents. These are pieces of expensive jewellery – diamonds usually – that men give to their partners for having a baby. And because diamonds don’t discriminate, you’re eligible even if, technically, you didn’t push. Caesareans also qualify. The point is you gave birth and that apparently requires something sparkly.
Because the healthy baby and mother aren’t enough. Mummy needs a bonus. With carats.
Then there are sex parties. Far less interesting than they sound, they’re thrown by expectant couples to announce the sex of their unborn child.
A hybrid of a baby shower and an awards ceremony, guests at a sex party are invited to witness the couple open a sealed envelope with the gender results of their 12 week ultrasound.
Alternatively, everyone watches as they cut a white-iced cake that’s either blue or pink inside.
Doesn’t that sound like something you’d like to do on your weekend? BYO gift.
Don’t fret that you won’t be able to choose a gender-appropriate present for the 12 week old foetus, there’s plenty of time to buy another one for the baby shower in five months! Still not sure you nailed it? There’s always the christening or naming ceremony and then the first birthday party. So many opportunities to spend money!
Perhaps when a couple announces they’re pregnant, we can just give them our credit card details and be done with it.
Is there nothing left in our culture that we can just get on with? Or celebrate more quietly and meaningfully? When did we start expecting to be showered with presents and attention at every stage of our lives?
There’s a difference between life-affirming and narcissistic. And greedy.
When did everyone (well, some people) become so entranced with themselves? When did bucks’ nights turn into weekends? Where is the sensitivity to the fact that people have busy lives and financial pressures and may not want to devote days, nights and hundreds of dollars to the festival of All-About-You?
Especially when their circumstances may be in stark contrast to the ones they’re being asked to shell out for.
There’s a great Sex & The City episode when Carrie tallies the amount she’s spent celebrating the life of one particular acquaintance.
Between engagement parties, kitchen teas, hen’s nights, weddings, baby showers, christenings, kiddie birthdays…..the total was several thousand dollars.
Being unmarried and childless, without any ‘official’ occasions to mark, not a single cent had gone the other way.
It’s not just women (although it’s mostly women). Let’s talk about Man Showers. Not the washing-yourself kind but the ones you have to celebrate a birth or wedding. They’re women’s business usually… bridal showers, baby showers, kitchen teas etc… but now men want in on the showering.
I first heard about this odd trend when I had afternoon tea at a girlfriend’s house recently and asked where her husband was. “Oh, he’s at a man-shower,” she replied, rolling her eyes. I looked at her blankly. “You know how Michelle is pregnant?” she reminded me.
Vaguely. “Well, her husband is having a man-shower to celebrate and Sam had to go.” What happens at a man-shower, I asked. “Well, it started at 3 o’clock at the pub and then they’re going for dinner and out all night. So drinking, I guess. Back-slapping. Sperm-talk. Maybe strippers. Who knows?”
Who knows indeed because it’s insane. Does a man need a special party to congratulate him for having functional sperm now?
I actually think we’ve got it all wrong. The times you really need to be surrounded by friends and nurtured with presents, love and cake is when life is tough.
When you lose your job or IVF has failed again or your partner walks out. When you have to sell your house because you can’t afford the mortgage anymore or you get a distressing medical diagnosis or a scary ultrasound result. When you lose someone you love or have to put down a beloved pet.
Where is the champagne then? Where is the coming together with thoughtful gifts and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off? Because surely births and weddings come with joy pre-installed.