“You’re Gonna Strangle Me!” read the subject line of the e-mail I had just composed.
Our office does a Secret Snowflake (we are a private, religiously-unaffiliated university, after all), and I was putting together my wishlist for this year. In the past, I’d given pretty vague descriptions (more like “categories,” really), to my Secret Santa…err, Snowflake, since I wanted to believe that I appreciated creativity and I didn’t want to stifle anybody’s well-thought-out, personally meaningful gifts. I wanted to give ’em options, you see, so that they could emerge from their cocoon as a wonderful gift-giving butterfly.
I continued that well-intentioned vagueness this year with my initial Secret Snowflake wishlist:
- Any book about Disney
- Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
- …Anything Disney, really (preferably Mickey…can you tell I may be going through an obsessive Disney phase right now?
Aside from the revelation of a serious Disney substance abuse problem (I gotta have my fix!!), the scope of potential gifts here, I realized, was too broad. I could get anything from a nice coffee table book to a princess kitchen playset (which sadly does exist. Check your local Target). This was a problem because, especially since Lance and I are not exchanging gifts this year, I needed to make every remaining gift count that much more, so I needed to be more specific.
I thought and thought and thought, always coming back to the conclusion that I just have so much neglected or unaddressed STUFF already that There couldn’t be much that I really wanted to add to that pile.
Then it occurred to me: AH! Since I’ll have a week off around the holidays where I’m just sitting around my house while Lance is working, I should get a book or two to curl up with, alongside my pets and a nice big mug of hot chocolate. Books are good.
I follow Matthew Mitcham on Twitter, the openly-gay Australian diver who overcame adversity blah blah blah to win Olympic gold in Beijing four years ago. Besides being a total cutie (I may or may not have a celeb crush), he just released a memoir, titled Twists & Turns (a great terrible memoir title), revealing an addiction to crystal meth. Scandalous gay Olympic athlete memoir? An excuse to spend more time looking at Matthew Mitcham in the (what I assume are included) photo pages in the middle of the book? OF COURSE A MUST READ!
So, I sent our office coordinator, who is facilitating our Secret Snowflake, an updated wishlist:
- Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (real book or Kindle e-book) [<;– see, I'm being environmentally conscious!]
- Twists & Turns by Matthew Mitcham (real book or Kindle e-book)
- Lonely Planet’s London Travel Guide [because I’m trying to redeem some frequent flier miles within the next year or so for our first Euro-venture]
Okay, good. A more specific list. Any of the three items above I would like to have and would enjoy immensely. Then I looked at Twists & Turns‘s Amazon listing, which also lists what buyers of the book also purchased:
Do you see the Coming of Age (A Hot Gay Sex Story) there (only 99 cents!)? Or Gay Six Pack: A Six Story Anthology of Gay Sex? PORN! It’s PORN! (I don’t think you can pass off “A Hot Gay Sex Story” as literary erotica or whatever B.S. terms people usually have to justify reading a bunch of smut #puritan) Aside from the rant I could make about how gay-related media almost always sports softcore covers (I’ll save that blog post for another day), there is no way I could recover from the sheer embarrassment of having a co-worker go to buy me Mitcham’s book, and then see what kind of other bawdy materials I must also read, since all us gay guys are the same.
So, Matthew Mitcham’s book was out (pun not initially intended, but kept for groan-worthiness). I will have to buy it for myself and keep it hidden behind a textbook or whatever when I’m reading it so as to not have gay porn gravitate toward me (or if somebody wants to buy me the Kindle e-book, you can just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kthx).
That drove me to update my wishlist yet a third time, which is why I’m sure the office coordinator now wants to strangle me.
- Rival Bros. Coffee t-shirt [a local coffee truck with outstanding lattes, whose barista isn’t too tough on the eyes, either. Is this becoming a theme…?]
- Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon [who I guess is alright looking?]
- Lonely Planet London City Guide
…And that’s the list as it stands right now. Specific while not introducing tangental gay erotica to hurriedly explain away.
Man, these Secret Snowflake wishlists are a delicate piece of art.