We saved a tree today

21 08 2012

I tried to buy a birthday card for a male acquaintance today. It’s not someone I know terribly well, but he is a good friend’s partner. The card had to be appropriate given the relatively new development of our platonic relationship.

Have you noticed how hard it is to buy decent birthday cards for non women?

I went into a shop that was once guaranteed to have me spending a fortune buying funny and original cards, even if there were no birthdays coming up. Today I went in looking for a 30th card for a male and couldn’t find anything suitable. All the cards in the shop were doused in pastel pink or pretty pastel flowers and bunnies. He’s not really a pastels type or a bunnies type. At least not in public.

The so-called humorous cards mainly contained 1950s housewives making sarky or sexist comments while undertaking household chores, because y’know after decades of fighting for gender equality, ironic sexism shared between women in humourous greetings cards is the ultimate in social freedom. No harm whatsoever. Gosh, I’m being a spoilsport by even suggesting they could be considered sexist…

Forgive me if I can’t be arsed with this equality regression…

Then there were a few googly eyed wooly creatures with “hysterical” slogans such as “I love ewe” – not knowing his opinion on bestiality and not wanting to hint at mine, I felt such cards were best left on the shelf.

The self affirming and motivational quotes seemed a little twee, especially when most were quoting, and aimed at women discussing traditionally women’s issues. I don’t think he would appreciate a card affirming his womanhood or having his ovaries motivated to explode with eggs at the sight of a baby dressed as a flower.

I didn’t think it appropriate to comment on the size of his genitals, his sexual prowess or stamina, unlike a large majority of the greeting cards on sale. As I stated at the start, this is a new friendship and given his girlfriend’s known psycho possessive streak, they were just a bit too suggestive for a new platonic relationship.

There were no cards strictly for males that weren’t ‘Congratulations It’s a Boy’, not pictures of the Fallen Madonna With Ze Big Boobies or pints of beer with allegedly witty ‘you’re almost an alcoholic’ style comment. Not blue pastel cards with bunnies or even green or lemon or just plain white. There were no gender neutral cards at all that didn’t suggest he was a giraffe or gorilla for every and any occasion.

I’m not entirely sure what this shop expected us to do for the birthdays of our male friends and family, perhaps they expected to sell only to women who feel that emulating a sarky 1950s housewife bemoaning her list of household chores is the way of the future.

I’m not averse to abolishing gender stereotypes in the greetings industry and giving a man a card appearing ‘girly’ but I am averse personally to pastel colours, gender based humour and bestiality. Where were the gender neutral cards? the truly funny without taking gender or disability or vegetables pretending they’re humans into account?

They weren’t in that shop!

So I thought I’d have a look in the local Oxfam bookshop, they usually have some funny birthday cards but it was more of the same. Oh wait! there was a difference, the housewives were replaced by ageing women from the 1920s and 1930s in a variety of allegedly hysterical poses with allegedly witty, and ageist and sexist, comments. The few that contained men were again discussing his sexual prowess.

I just wanted a ‘happy birthday I don’t know you very well and don’t care about the size of your manhood’ card but it seems such things don’t exist.

In the end we left with nothing. We saved a tree today.

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One response

4 09 2012
ChilliJeanie

I don’t know if you’ve come across them, but TheDogsDoodahs.com do humourous personalised cards – yes, there are the drinks/sex related cards on there too, but you can search for cards for men by theme, so if he was a sports fan for example that’s searchable, or modern life for gadgets, etc. Would that be of any help?

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