RICHARD ORD: Dishwashers, The Smiths and other killer birthday presents

A mate of mine once thought it would be a good idea to surprise his wife with what he thought was the perfect birthday gift.

By Richard Ord
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 1:28 pm
Buying birthday gifts for your partner ... can be a matter of life or death.
Buying birthday gifts for your partner ... can be a matter of life or death.

He pulled me into his garage when his wife wasn’t looking to show me this exceptional present.

What could it be? A sports car, speed boat or maybe a magnificent white stallion. Nope ... it was a dishwasher.

“I’m going to put a bow on it and then on her birthday I’m going to walk her blindfold into the garage for the big reveal…”

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I could see the headlines now. ‘Mutilated man found at bottom of lake chained to a dishwasher.’

They had been married for a matter of weeks. While I’m no expert in the art of romance, I suggested that if he wanted the marriage to last beyond her birthday, he may consider complementing his gift with something a little more glittery.

“But it’s perfect,” he insisted, “She hates washing the dishes.”

He relented and, in what turned out to be a plausible romantic gesture, he bought her some fancy jewellery which he deposited in the bit where you put the dishwashing tablets.

It worked. The marriage lasted beyond her birthday, and he wasn’t murdered (always a reasonable sign in my book that your present is deemed acceptable). That the marriage didn’t make it to her next birthday is by the by.

But you’ve gotta be careful when it comes to a partner’s birthday gifts. Which is why when my partner, The German, revealed she’d like a surprise for her birthday, panic set in. Just as the birthday present list is a godsend for unimaginative cretins like myself, so the ‘surprise’ is cause for meltdown.

This was her 45th birthday. And I was determined to make it her best yet (she’s had a fair few 45th birthdays, I can tell you). What’s a guy to do?

To cut a long story short, I treated her to a night at The Cher Show, a new musical about the perpetually youthful singer, and tickets for a Smiths tribute band. From the sublime to the ridiculous, I hoped.

‘But you know I don’t much like The Smiths,’ she said, her eyes narrowing.

‘That,’ I said, ‘is what makes the gift such a surprise.’

The tribute act may have murdered some Smiths songs on the night, but I remained intact… gift accepted! Ord lives to fight another year.