It’s the unspoken rule of gift-giving. Unless a woman has explicitly requested some form of household appliance, don’t buy it. Just don’t. No matter how much you think she may genuinely need that new iron, no matter how heavily it’s discounted, if you value her (and your life) just return it gently to the shelf and back away.
Sadly, plenty of well-meaning folk chose to ignore this rule. As a single photograph is currently proving.
Shared online overnight by Reddit user, Mr-Irrelevance, the image is captioned, “The year my father got my mother a Hoover for Christmas.”
The year was 1984. The sleeves were puffy, TVs were square and curtains matched carpet.
Lying abandoned on that carpet (orange, of course) lies a vacuum cleaner surrounded by torn wrapping paper. A woman sits on the couch (also orange) staring blankly at the telly, clutching a cup of tea. There are other, untouched pressies still under the tree.
She does not look impressed.
And that was all it took. Other Redditors flooded the comment section with their own tales of giving and receiving offensive gifts.
"When I was a kid my dad pulled something similar," vented one, named foxpoint. "Mum had been dropping hints for months that she wanted speakers in the kitchen. Christmas morning arrives and Dad gives Mom her big present! I remember her saying, 'Oh I wonder what this is!?', with a big smile on her face as she began to open it."
The smile didn't last long.
"Instead of speakers dad had gotten her a f*****g ironing board. She looked at him hoping it was a joke but no... Dad was really that stupid. The next day Dad went out and bought some really expensive speakers."
Another present tip for you - there's an app that lets you register gifts for your child's birthday party. Post continues...
"This is something my husband would do," added another. "If I say something like, 'This ironing board is too small', I should expect a new one for Christmas. One year for my birthday I got sprinter and a tent. He uses both of those things more than me, but since we needed them and it was my birthday...ta da!"
Brandeded, too, learned the hard way. "Once I got my wife a soft-close kitchen garbage can and desk organisers for her birthday. Let me tell you, it went over just as well," they wrote. "Add this to the lessons you learn early in marriage."
"In the early 80's, my father got my mother a rowing style exercise machine," Illipid added. "Similar reaction."
Then along came, SvenThomas, with this doozy: "Doesn't beat my grandfather who gave my grandmother a [bathroom] scale for MOTHERS' DAY. I gave him shit even on his deathbed for that one."
Still, we don't know what's worse. That, or this epic example of birthday trolling.
"My Dad did this to my Mum with a Dyson box," Bacon_Hero wrote, "that actually had Céline Dion concert tickets in it."
EDIT: If anyone has seen, Mr-Irrelevance's Dad, please get in touch. He was last seen fleeing his home on Boxing Day, 1984, clutching a large vacuum cleaner-shaped package.