What do men want? (For their birthday?)

Alright, so I’m as sentimental a fool as the rest of you.

Whenever it gets close to Ross’s birthday – about a month away – I start looking at our old wedding photos.

The day after his birthday, you see, three years ago, he flew across the country to California to come get me from grad school, and help move me and my stuff home to Austin – for good. We were engaged back then, and had been for two years.

But rather than fly, we drove home to Texas in my car. Which literally broke down once every hour. He performed most of the driving, while I chirped hollow, annoying encouragements along the way. 

“Oh, look! A saguaro cactus!” 

“Wow, this road is smooth.” 

“Who’s excited for CRACKER BARREL?”

(And if this tells you anything about the trip, Cracker Barrel really was the highlight of the whole thing).

When we finally pulled into our Austin driveway, sloughing off sticky Red Bull cans, beef jerky wrappers, and relational tension when my good mood finally ran out, I said meekly: “Happy birthday…do you, um, still want to marry me?”

And he said: “Bringing my future wife home is the best birthday present I could ever ask for.”


(Pause. I feel compelled to apologize here, because this same story would make me throw up in my mouth a little if I heard someone else tell it. So, sorry everyone).

Anyway. This is why I think long and hard about Ross’s birthday presents. I’ve knitted.  I’ve done power tools. I’ve thrown a surprise party.  I have two ideas for this year, one more experiential in nature, and one that is more gadget-y.

But neither one is perfect?  He is a contented man. And shopping for men that claim to be already fulfilled is a near-impossible task. Even though Austin provides no shortage of novel adventures to try, and handmade bits of magic to gift.

so what do men want for their birthday?

(PS: This has nothing to do with anything, but while we’re going back in time may I show you my favorite wedding pics? These were shot by the lovely Cory Ryan and manipulated by moi).

Allow me to direct your attention to the three best faces in this photo: