Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gifting the Queen

In this gift-giving season, I often feel like the Little Drummer Boy— too poor to buy a respectable present for the newborn King. Or, in my case, for my wife Queen.

I dream of extravagant romantic Christmas gifts for her. Like on the TV commercial with the new Lexus parked in the driveway wrapped in a red satin bow.

We have a friend who, on special occasions, has whisked his bride off to London for a theatrical opening, or to Paris for just a romantic weekend getaway.

What a rush that must be, for knight and queen! Like Sir Francis Drake returning from a profitable voyage and laying his treasure at the slippered foot of Queen Bess.

Romantic fantasyland, perhaps. But all of contemporary husbands have these opportunities in miniature, on holidays and every day, chances for gift-giving to our Queens. Gifts small and large. As one husband confessed to Lady Misato: “I'm always looking for ways to surprise her, from bringing home flowers or little gifts or taking her out to a play and dinner.”

But the grand gift—the airline ticket, the turquoise Tiffany box—are definitely off the menu for me and many other wife-led hubbies. It happened because we opted for another grand and extravagant gift—signing the paperwork to have our paychecks direct-deposited into our wives’ private accounts.

I will never forget the dizzying high of taking that plunge. One husband described it this way: “Relinquishing total financial control to a loving, trusted spouse provides a base thrill, like taking your hands off the steering wheel while going 75 m.p.h., knowing that your life will be controlled by another, to such detail as decided upon by the dominant partner.”

Some wives feel the same way. Beckie Sue, author of several guest posts here, confides her feelings after telling her husband that she wanted his paycheck deposited into her private account:

“After that conversation, my stomach was churning, maybe with some fear, but mostly with excitement. Total financial control over your husband is many times more powerful than control over everything else. I walked away with a real high, like on drugs.”

It is a grand gesture: “Take everything I have, my Queen!” That was my plea, and I was overjoyed that she accepted it. And I’ve never regretted it since. I’ve been inconvenienced, embarrassed, even shamed on occasion by a lack of funds. But no regrets.

Still, the question remains, what to do on my Queen’s birthday, and Christmas, and Valentine’s, and our anniversary? With the small occasional allowance I receive from my wife, even minor extravagances are impossible.

A work colleague gets two-dozen roses delivered to her desk every birthday and Valentine’s by her husband. They’re beautiful, she feels special, and I feel so envious! I can’t do that for my Queen.

Over the years, I’ve asked other wife-led husbands about this dilemma. Here are a few responses, starting with Au876 (from Lady Misato’s original Wife Worship Forum):

“This is in reply to your question of how I could buy my wife expensive gifts. I can't. There is no way possible because I do not have free access to any remotely large sum of money. Yes, if she wants something, she buys it and I must say she does not hesitate to splurge on herself. Before she took control of the finances I would buy her expensive gifts from time to time. She appreciated them but often exchanged them for what she really wanted.

“Now she buys what she really wants. But the big plus is how much more she appreciates the gifts I do buy for her. It may be an inexpensive sweater, some new underwear, candy or even flowers from time to time, but she knows I have had to save back from my allowance to make the purchase and she knows I have given up some pleasures for myself to please her. She seems to appreciate them much more than she did expensive gifts that caused me little hardship.”

And here’s another guy in the same financial straits: “Since I am on an allowance, it is difficult to save up to buy the presents that I’d like to get my wonderful wife, but the ones that I do buy, like flowers or other inexpensive items, makes her much happier. She sees me scrimping; trying to save over a couple of weeks to scrape up about $10, my efforts to keep the gift a surprise all have made her happier with what I get for her. And I get such a feeling of accomplishment, and pride at doing something to please her.”

Good advice, but I can’t seem to save back anything from my husbandly allowance. When I do have a $5 or $10 bill in my wallet, or even a $20, one or both of my kids will “need” it—and I’m back to penury.

So, I have to ask her permission to use the credit card which she lets me carry to buy her a present. But, with money tight, she usually vetoes any extravagance, suggesting practical and inexpensive items. A new art calendar from Staples for her office. A new pillow case cover from Target.

Get the picture. I kneel before my queen, sweep my plumed hat in a courtly gesture, and lay before her two gift-wrapped packages worth perhaps $10. This ceremony, thanks to her discretion, is usually performed in private, not when she is opening costly gifts from friends and family.

Of course, there’s the kind of personal gift that the Little Drummer Boy came up with—a gift of one’s talent. This is what I usually end up doing. Printing out amusing little coupons for her next pedicure or massage. Writing her a sonnet or creating her a DVD with love scenes taken from YouTube romantic video clips.

If I had other artistic talents—like ceramics and watercolors, say—I might give her one of those do-it-yourself “I Love You, Mom” pots or paintings that kids bring home from school on Mother’s Day.

Beckie Sue’s paycheckless husband came up with his own gift-giving solution. He volunteers to work occasional Saturdays, telling her that she should use the money “to buy something special, that I show him so he knows what his overtime bought me.”

A part-time job is another possibility for financing a special gift to one’s beloved. This method figured in a memorable letter to Elise Sutton some years back. Alas, the extravagant surprise gift backfired:

“Finally, to top off our perfect evening, I produced a small wrapped package; a gift I'd researched for a month and couldn't wait to give Her. She opened the package and found a diamond and platinum toe ring and a matching anklet, a perfect match to Her belly ring. She realized how expensive these were and asked how I'd gotten the money for this. My paychecks are all deposited in an account in Her name. I am given an allowance for expenses, especially when She travels, but she realized that even if I didn't eat for a week, I couldn't have afforded this. I proudly told Her that I'd gotten a part-time job at night in a jewelry store, which allowed me to buy the gift at a discount.

“It was a beautiful evening, which I thought was perfect but she didn't seem pleased with my gift. Her face registered first hurt and then anger… {In fact,} I'd never seen Her this angry. She told me of her displeasure with me for taking an extra job without her permission. So much for our perfect evening! She is still angry with me but I will do my best to make it up to her.”

Elise’s comment: “You should have realized that she would not be happy about you making such an important decision without consulting her.”

Go figure!

If all this seems slightly out-of-balance, I agree, it is. But not the way it might appear to someone outside a wife-led marriage. For husbands living this blessed life in the Queen’s service, it seems we have been given the ultimate reward. As one man wrote to Elise Sutton:

“By submitting to my wife, I have been given the greatest gift of all. Each day I wake up and thank God I am me.”


Anonymous said...

First of all - I recommend Rue la la. A legit discount site where you will often save 50 to 75% on gifts. Even if you do have your own checking account every little bit helps.
Secondly - just to chime in on my wife's take on this. I offered all money to go into her account. She does not like the idea simply because she would like me to be able to suprise her with the occasional gift - and maybe also b/c she has not quite committed to 100% control. In a way I kindof envy your side of things - but I see how restaining it can be in that situation. I guess on this matter there is no perfect scenario.

Anonymous said...

Just checking back in. I guess I had a slight lull last Autumn with my relationship - partly things out of our control and partly me not focusing. just getting back on track - not a new years resolution b/c that would mean that it is not a constant - but I'm back to checking in much more often. This was the one site that was packed with information when I first stumbled upon the real life version of what was previously only my fantasies.

MindofaMan said...

Not that it is a big deal of a gift but I like to pop in to the discount flower shop at least twice a month if not more. Flowers for $3 to $4. And they often times last longer than the expensive flowers. You might have to be near a larger city for this but it is definitely a way to let her know that you are always thinking about her without spending much money - and it makes the house look that much better.

Mark Remond said...

MindofaMan - Thanks for the reminder. I know to do this, but night after night I've made excuses for not doing it on the way home from work, stopping off for a little bundle of flowers for $4 or $5 or $6 or $7. I'm going to start doing it again.

Anonymous said...

This blog is a fuckin joke right? This shit can't be real...

ChefEm said...

Come out Anonymous, don't be shy.

I asked my wife to lead our marriage about 20 months ago and it has changed our marriage for the better. Once the man of the relationship relinquishes his ego and allows his wife to take the reins they will both reap the rewards. Last weekend my wife and I had our first fight in the last 20 months, we were both tired and chippy and had a huge blow-up and a period of each other giving us the silent treatment. Pre-FLR it would have led to a long period of coldness, but in the hour or so afterwards I realised my duty was to swallow my pride and apologise for my behaviour. Guess what, it worked, we slept that night in each other's arms.

As to something more pertinent to Mark's post, my wife and I have a slightly different in that my wife doesn't control the finances simply because I am good at it and enjoy it, whereas she doesn't. I take it that she can spend what she wants and I worry about paying for it. It can cause slight disagreements, but as my wife never goes crazy with spending anyway it works well for us. My point is that there is no hard and fast recipe for FLR (or any relationship for that matter), it is more like an a la carte menu, you just have to find what works best for you and your wife's appetite.

MindofaMan said...

Speaking of gifting your wife - I had to go to the drugstore today and accidentally walked down the greeting card isle. Thank goodness I did. The selection was great this far in advance. I was able to get a funny and semi-serious card. I do make my own cards on occasion b/c I think the card industry rips us off a bit but you have to buy them most of the time. Don't forget to get one for your daughter if you have one. Just a friendly reminder to shop early. I know my wife is often more amazed at my early shopping than she is at the gift she gets.

Anonymous said...

I intoduced the idea of a FLR to my wife. I have had a life long fixation about strict older women since being spanked bare bottom by a neighbor when I was 10. at first she was reluctant but she has really gotten into it. The first punishment sessions she was concerned with hurting me. Over time she has upped the ante and uses a strap and a paddle for severe spankings. She has started to use mouth soaping and cornertime. Recently afterI was rude at a family gathering she told me she intends to let her sister know she spanks me, and she says she will spank me with her watching if my behavour doesnt improve. I am very embarrassed by anyone knowing and the threat seems very real

Melissa Yoder said...

Ahh yes, getting her something that would make her happy is one of the most common questions among men. A gift, no matter how simple or extravagant, will make her happy as long as she knows you worked hard for it, and that you went out of your way to get it. A beautiful necklace matching her birthstone color isn't such a bad idea either.

Melissa Yoder @ South Florida Coins