So I Collect Art Now…

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I was the Belushi-esque frat kid who, in college, organized a cigarette-smoking contest followed by a Revenge of the Nerds inspired tricycle race. Everyone got a trophy. The only fine art I thought about was building the most robust beer can tower in the entire bar.

Now I am refined.

I sip off-the-menu cocktails, wear dry-cleaned clothes, and collect art. Here is how you can join the gentry.

Why Collect?

Whether any art collector admits it or not, they are in it for bragging rights and/or making money. No one does it for the beauty of hanging a one-off picture, or limited edition signed print, in their foyer entrance. Collecting is the subtle brag about how much cash a man can drop on a thing with no intrinsic value.

Art is the ultimate throwaway toy.

Art Collecting Etiquette

Sales people at galleries say “Buy art because you like it’. The gallery wants you to overlook the fact that you’re paying 5-1,000,000 times markup for $100 of materials and a couple hours of an artist’s time, so they use this line coupled with some white wine to push the sale. The reality is that thousands and thousands of fine art works are purchased and stored in dark, climate-controlled warehouses never to be seen until sold again.

The idea that you must like it is a bunch of hooey. Just buy it, and if you immediately have buyer’s remorse, ship it off to your nearest free port to defer the sales tax instead of hanging it next to your self-portrait in the smoking room.

When you walk into a gallery, how you carry yourself is very important. Initially, the sales people will appear snobbish, but they are usually on some type of commission and want to make the sale just as that used car dealer wants to get that 1999 Honda Civic off his lot. Don’t be afraid to be blunt and ask the receptionist, “How much is that picture?” as you point at it with your umbrella. Referring to it as a picture instead of a “piece” or “work” brings the salesman down to your level. It gives everyone in the room a quick reality check that you know the Matisse gouache (i.e. watercolor picture) they are selling is no different than the Crayola paintings you did of stick figures in your primary school art class.

If you go to an auction to pick up some art to replace the unframed “Dogs Playing Poker” poster you have taped to your wall, don’t expect to bump shoulders with art collecting celebrities. Steve Cohen, the trading genius or insider trading genius depending on who you ask, Steve Wynn, the king of Vegas, or Steve Guttman, the real estate developer turned art collector, will not be in the same room as you. Instead, the Steves will be far away bidding at the evening auction over a phone while you are at the online day auction clicking in your bids on some 1 of a 1,000 print made by some failed artist turned art teacher. If you weren’t bidding the opening price, the thing would have been burned never to be seen again.

How To Be A Big Swinging D*Ck Collector

The Steves don’t buy art because they think it looks unique or inspires them. They buy it so they can run around to all the other Steves at the next cocktail party and say, “You know who just picked up that Lichtenstein, “Masterpiece” for $165MM? I did. Look at how big my crank is!”

Its all ego and purchased pride. Unfortunately, for these guys, there can only be one most expensive painting which forces the Steves to outbid each other at the next auction to remain the alpha of the art collecting world.

Sunday comic OR more money than the mind can conceptualize?
Sunday comic OR more money than the mind can conceptualize?

How To Be A Big D*Ck Collector If You’re Not Hung Like Tommy Lee

Art pricing is extremely opaque. There is no true value for art in the sense of stocks or real estate. It is all demand-driven pricing.

Everyone thinks the big names of art, Picasso, Rembrandt, Dali, or Monet cost millions of dollars for a picture. However, you can dig up a cheap headliner picture for under $1,000. It will probably be a pencil sketch or print, but it is an authentic Pollack, Renoir, or Warhol. Now you have bragging rights.

Almost all artists have produced these budget buys. Buy that low cost signed picture and hang it next to your bathroom door. The next time a guest is at your home and asks, ‘Hey, where can I take a dump around here?’

You reply, ‘Down the hall, second door on the left, just pass the Chagall. If you hit the poster of “Dogs Playing Poker”, you went too far’.

Instant credibility for your eye as a collector and your social status has risen beyond the Everyman dope with pictures of his family at a waterpark vacation and his bros at Spring Break Acapulco in 1993.

Dealing With The Haters

Now that you’re a big deal in the art world, you are going to have to deal with the ones that want to piss on your class-jumping hobby.

You’re going to hear these dumb comments many times over. Here’s how you handle them:

‘My first grader can draw that.’

“Umm, no he can’t. And even if he could, he didn’t do it first. That is why this picture is worth [10x what you paid for it] and your first grader will be grateful to make it to second grade within three years. Besides, the artist leads a high-risk lifestyle and after he kicks the bucket, his supply is capped and the value of this piece* will explode.”

*”Piece” word choice is used to abase the offending guest as well as illustrate your supreme knowledge of the art world.

‘You paid how much for that?!?!?!?’

“Clearly, you don’t understand art.”

Art collecting is an enjoyable hobby but make sure you do it for the right reasons: financial gain and grandstanding.

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How To Thrive at Your 20-Year High School Reunion

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  • Don’t wear your letterman jacket to your reunion.  It doesn’t fit anymore and you will look about as cool as that high school wrestler who wore it to the college bars after losing in the state finals.
  • People look a lot different.  20 years of food, drink, and bad life choices will drastically change relatively innocent people into middle-age adults with real problems.  For some reason, their smile and laugh allow you to see through the baggage taking you back to a happier time where the most important thing in your life was keeping the French-roll in your pants tight.
  • Leave your W2 at home.  No one cares.
  • You will not recognize half the people.  They don’t recognize you either.
  • Remember that quiet girl who was like Laney Boggs from She’s All That before she took her glasses off and became smoking hot?  Well she took her glasses off somewhere between the ages of 20-28.  Don’t start creeping on her now; you missed the low tick on that one.

    Another missed opportunity.
    Another missed opportunity.
  • Someone at the reunion still lives in a rocket ship bed in their parents’ basement.  You do not.  Next time you’re thinking about hooking up the hose to the exhaust pipe in the garage, remember this guy.
  • People will bring spouses.  The tagalong feels as awkward at this event as you did through your four years of high school.  Go talk to them; they are probably more interesting than the people who graduated in your class.
  • There will be at least one totally bald dude.  He was also the same guy who was shaving in seventh grade.
  • You learn that everyone, from the science club kids, to the tight-end on the football team, to the potheads sparking up behind the field house, to the honor roll dorks, to Magic card playing weirdos, to marching band members, to the Marlon Brando looking guy who drove a Triumph motorcycle, all hated high school as much as you did.  Take solace in this.
  • Don’t try to get your comeuppance by laying out the guy that picked on you a generation ago.  He really did turn into a nice guy and was about to apologize for ruining you during high school.  Instead, you punch him in the head before he can make peace.  It turns out he is a regional champion MMA fighter and puts you into a hammerlock.  You end up facing assault charges while going to the hospital handcuffed to the gurney.  History doesn’t change and neither do you.
  • You will have at least two conversations with people who have no clue who you are.   They are trying to make friends to get ahead of the 30-year reunion or back fill some void from high school.  After seven “So how are you’s?”, it is time to move on to a person that you actually talked to in high school.
  • If a girl offers you a ride home at the end of the night, take it.  Unlike high school where you had to wait until prom before you rounded second base.  You might actually get some action within the hour.
  • Gone are the one-upmanship games and shot-for-shot contests at the bar you experienced at the 10-year.  Most everyone has matured to the point where they really care about you and your life.  Pre-conceived judgments are passed over and real conversations happen.  Social cliques are disregarded and people are treated as equals.  That said, there will still be some toolbox who talks all night how he gave the keys of his leased Aston Martin to the valet and got the spot in front of the restaurant.
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How to Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring

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You think you have dated enough girls that you’re finally ready to settle down?  Keep telling yourself that player.  In reality, you discovered the one girl in the world who will put up with your poor oral hygiene, your asinine eye cream usage, and your lack of eye contact when in a deep conversation.  You better lock her down before she learns that you were dumpster-diving for dinner only months prior to meeting her.

The key to any marriage is a good foundation—and that foundation is the ring.  She is only going to flash it around the week of her engagement and maybe a couple of times on her wedding day.  After that, no one cares.  Like all big bang moments in life, this one is fleeting too.  Read this guide and save some money on the most superfluous thing you will buy in your life.

Learning Jeweler Speak

Jewelers throw an alliterative assembly of terms at you to exhibit their purported expertise in diamonds.  “Clarity”, “Cut”, “Color”, “Carat weight”, and “Certification”.  As you walk out of the store, your bank account is thirty grand lighter and the rock falls through the hole in the pocket of your Venture clearance jeans.  Nice move Farley.

Throw all that jeweler advice aside and just listen to my friend, Clyde (short for Clydesdale), “buy the biggest thing you can afford—she’ll love it.”

Bigger than your knuckle and heavily discounted.
Bigger than your knuckle and always ‘On Sale’
  • There are inclusions that only a loupe can see? Who cares.
  • The diamond is so yellow that people think it is a sapphire? Let them think that.
  • The stone was cut by a guy at his first day of jewelry school? It is unique.

 

All those things are inconsequential.

All that matters is size.  Clyde is right.  Listen to Clyde.

Hit Up Your Friends

Half of all marriages end in divorce.  That means there are an inordinate number of engagement rings thrown across the bedroom when the wife finds out that her husband blew the emergency fund at the OTB.  Your cash will be welcomed to cover the divorce expense.  By offering 15% of the wholesale cost, you will be paying more than what any jeweler would pay them.  Your bride might make a comment her ring looks just like her recently separated friend, but your pocket book will thank you.

Diamonds truly are ‘Forever’.

Who Says You Need A Real Blood Diamond?

“I have one word for you:  Moissanite.”  A 2-carat real diamond will cost you $20,000; that is the price of a nice mobile home.  The same size Moissanite stone will cost $600; that is the monthly car payment on your Porsche SUV parked outside of your nice mobile home.  Since Moissanite is manmade, it doesn’t have inclusions, discolorations or other imperfections.  Once again, man one-upped nature at a fraction of the cost.

http://www.moissanitevsdiamondrings.com/benefits-of-moissanite/

Choose Your Fiancé’s Occupation Carefully

I always wanted to marry a machinist.  They can’t wear rings at work, so the only way the can show their true devotion to you is with a tattoo.  For $50, you can put your mark on your spouse in a way that no metal ring can.  They can’t lose it.  They don’t have to clean it.  Insurance is not required.  Who says “Love costs a thing”?

The Unhappy Ending

The advice in this column is all for naught.  Sometime in between your 5th and 15th year of marriage, she will ask for an upgrade.  It doesn’t matter how big the original ring is or how much it cost; it will need to be bigger.  Please re-read this guide at that time.

Skiing in Jeans just hit its 2-year anniversary.  Show your thanks by forwarding this to a friend and asking them to subscribe.

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How to Make Your Own Craft Beer

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The stalwarts of alcohol have failed the United States of America.  The nation’s drinkers no longer reach for Bud Heavy, Coors, or our south of the border friend, Corona.  The masses have turned to micro and nano beers such as Fred, Donkey Punch, or Blithering Idiot to raise their BAC and lower their inhibitions.  These new beers, known as craft, or “hey mom, look what I just made in the bathtub,” are spreading across our country like measles in both the pre and post vaccination era.  After careful research consisting of two Google searches and overhearing the endless conversations of guys talking mindlessly about waiting in line for fourteen hours for a two pack of craft beer, Skiinginjeans will show you how you can be a true player in the craft beer scene.

Your Image

Being a brew master is more than just making a sub-average beer.  It is about projecting an image as a brew master to your legion of devoted followers.  These worshipers will not look to a deity with a custom suit, a MBA from Wharton, or a jaw line so square that Office of Weights and Measures will use it as the mold for T-squares.  Hide your country club membership card and put your Tesla in storage.  Your disciples demand a heavily bearded, overweight, flannel-wearing dude complete with one of those gas station mesh trucker hats.  You must guide your people to a place where homemade beer, no matter how awful, doesn’t seem as commercialized you’re trying to make it.

The Product

Beer is beer.  Some of it is dark and some of it is light, When your mom catches you puking in her bushes after a late night at McGillicutty’s, you can be rest assured that the beer did its job.  It really doesn’t matter what you bottle, just shoot for an alcohol by volume level of at least 10%.  Even though you are dealing self-proclaimed beer experts who liken their ability to the best sommeliers, they just want value for their money.  After a long night of drinking your heavily fermented, $8/can concoction, if they find themselves waking up next to a hipster chick who has not shaved her armpits since the Clinton administration, you did your job.

When to Sell Out

There is a very good chance you will go out of business before every netting dollar one.  Your product is like a viral meme; once everyone has seen it, no one cares for a second look.  In the slightest chance, a buyer does approach you and you do sell your brewery, make sure you include your used bathtub and strainer—that is where the real value in your company lies.  When you finally address your finicky customers to tell them that you sold your company, you are never to say, “I sold this company.”  Words like these will only turn off your beatnik zealots because you traded in years of wasted time for a handful of Lincolns and maybe a couple of Hamiltons.  Tell your followers that you have turned over a new leaf in your business and by partnering with a major brewery, you can seek out new adventures by moving to Colorado and opening a legalize drug operation.  They will respect your devotion to a new cause that, unbeknownst to them, is on pace to have a larger market than beer.

The Future

If you want to see what the craft beer industry will look like in twenty years, look at the current value of baseball cards from the 1990’s.  They are worthless.  This craft beer fad is on par with Ty Warner’s Beanie Babies (Warner is currently on probation for tax evasion), Hyper-Color shirts (Generra, the company that produced the shirts, went bankrupt in 1992), and Ralph Macchio (no commentary needed).

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Hello Baby New Year: Here is Your Resolution

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With 2015 starting up, it is time to pull out that list of 2014 New Year’s resolutions.  You casually cross out “2014” and change it to “2015”.  If you’re like most overweight Americans, you have “Get in shape” or “Lose XX pounds” on this list.  Instead of writing some vague statement like “I’m going to be less of a fat ass than last year” or “On Sundays, I will take the stairs instead of the elevator” on your 2015 resolution sheet, why don’t you write something quantifiable like “I’m going to run a 5K in less than 25 minutes.”

Here are some pointers for running your first 5k:

1)   When you sign up for your race, you will get a T-shirt with the name and date of the race on it.  You wouldn’t wear a “Boy George 2015 Revival Tour” shirt to The Brass Rail bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana to watch the has been singer belt out “Karma Chameleon”.  Don’t turn your first 5K into amateur hour by sporting the crisp, new race day shirt of the race you’re in.

2)   Never run the entire 5K distance in training.  Marathon training rules apply here.  Let’s face it, a 5K is your marathon; this is probably the most physical activity you’ve had since you ran the mile in seventh grade gym class.  Keep it simple; one mile here, two miles there.  There is no need to pull a hammy a couple of weeks prior to your big Chariots of Fire moment.

3)   If the race you’re in is big enough, you will be assigned a starting corral.  Since you have no race history, you will be assigned the last corral.  Everyone has to start somewhere, but when you start the winner of the race will be crossing the finish line at the same time.  Your corral will be behind the people with walkers and dudes almost as lame as you.  Pay no attention to your assignment.  Get to the front of the race, and come out guns blazing.  There is a chance that you will be the race leader for the first fifty feet before some Kenyan blows past you.

4)   Carb loading is not just for marathoners.  The night before the race, go out and eat.  Don’t limit yourself to carbs.  Eat everything you can get your hands on.  No french fry is too small, no beer has too much gluten, just eat and drink.   When you’re running almost four miles (I rounded for your ego boost) the following day you’ll be grateful you have the internal fuel to carry you through.

5)   Water stations.  Seriously?  Do you pause your Growing Pains collector DVDs so you can rehydrate while watching Carol learn about the dangers of drinking and driving?  You’re not doing the Bad Water Ultramarathon, you’re doing a warm up run disguised as a race.

6)   The last thing you need to go with your sore quads and strained calf muscles are bloody nipples.  Marathon guys are always chaffing and bleeding in weird places.  Don’t take chances.  Get some lube and apply it liberally like Burt Reynolds in Striptease.

7)   Babies poop themselves and so do winners.  If you’re struggling at mile 1, the last thing you should do is take a break to relieve yourself.  Face facts:  If you sit down to poop, you may never get up and finish the race.

It is better to be an embarrassed winner than a clean cut loser.
It is better to be an embarrassed winner than a clean cut loser.

8)   Stretching is for people who do yoga.  Don’t confuse your body with poses and saying “namaste”.  Any time you waste stretching, is time you are not running.

9)   This is the point when most running literature says you should consult a doctor before training.  I know a guy who use to be a doctor (that’s a nice way of saying “lost his license without admitting guilt”); he said that running through the pain is the best way to be a winner.  Ignore those shin splints, cramps, heart palpitations, and asthma attacks.

10)  If you get lapped by the 10K leader on your 5K run, just pull off to the side and cheer on the real athletes.

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Shave One Hour Off Your Morning Routine

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I wish I could go back to the simpler time when men considered a scotch a better way to start your morning routine than slapping on a pair of spandex and running four miles only to end up at the same place they started.  Breakfast did not consist of a low-carb meal, chugging twelve ounces of pure, organic coconut juice out of a biodegradable bottle, and laboriously recording all the ultra-healthy food inhaled into a Weight Watchers notebook.

Take me back to an era when a rusty nail was an acceptable toothpick and spittoons lined the walls of every restaurant and bar.  Smoking was encouraged.  Society didn’t worry about dying from lung cancer, because there was a better chance that the runs would kill you long before the black lung did.

Going to bed was the simple action of collapsing on any flat surface that had a low probability of a subsequent bear attack.  There were no alarm clocks commanding when it was time to wake, and pajamas were something that wouldn’t be invented for a hundred years.  Night creams for wrinkles were something only Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Carnegie bothered with using.

Let me help you get back to that era with this guide on how to reduce complexity in your life by cutting down your morning routine to the essentials.  Dump your shower bag out on the counter and we will go through it item by item.

The Morning Routine Checklist

Deodorant- Matthew McConaughey doesn’t wear it, neither should you.

Showering-Showering only once a week is satisfactory; any more than that is just a waste of time.  Most people of the world bath in rivers and they smell good enough.  Remember, there is a cure for cholera.

Aftershave- If you’re afraid to light up a cigarette after applying, you’ve overdone it.

Hair Gel- Since you are not a founding member of Guns N’ Roses, your hair should sport a respectable high and tight haircut that doesn’t require industrial grade petroleum jelly to retain its shape.

Manscaping – Hey Mr. Miyagi, no trimming the bonsai tree.  Let your forest grow.

Shaving-Unless you’re a government worker, sport it like homeless guy, or at a minimum, like Joaquin Phoenix when he went crazy

Shower sandals- Since every other clean freak in the gym is wearing them, don’t worry about warts, MRSA, and other viruses that supposedly live in shower stalls.  You have indirect protection.  Barefoot it like a firewalker.

Luffa – If I need to google it to spell it correctly, you don’t need it.  The same goes for wash clothes.

Eye cream – I know a guy who had a $4,000 a year eye cream habit.  Don’t be that guy.

Toothpaste – When Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, fluoride was injected into our public water.  Brushing your teeth became as essential as a trophy case at Wrigley Field.

Taking these simple steps to make your morning routine quicker and will ensure you get more dates, a better job, a nicer car, and a second home.  Next time you see a Bath and Body Works, keep walking.  Yeah, you’re welcome; your life just got better.

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Just Got Dumped? Here’s How to Avoid Being a Loser

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You had the perfect relationship.  It was you and your soulmate against the world.  One day things changed.  He dumped you.  You were blindsided.  You attempted to reconcile, but you knew it was final the day you saw the sign “Welcome to Dumpsville.  Population:  You” taped to your car window.  Yes, you were officially canned.  Keep reading to find out how you can recover from your failure and come back bigger and stronger like Tiger Woods after he was caught with his hand in a Perkins waitress.  Apparently, Swedish supermodels just can’t serve up two eggs over easy like the pros.

This is your world
This is your world

As much as you would like to say to yourself that it wasn’t your fault you got dumped, look at that facts:  You lost at the game of love.  Final score:  Your Ex-1, You -0.  That’s cool.  You don’t see A-Rod crying in his steroids because he was booted out of baseball.  He is elbow deep in hookers living in a multi-million dollar condo in NY.  Feel bad for him?  Didn’t think so.

How to respond to being dumped:

1) Stop being a pathetic, emotional basketcase.  No one wants to hear you whine about how your life is over, how you will never do better than your ex, how you didn’t see the break up coming, or how you invested so much time in the relationship.  That is loser talk.  From this point, you are to tell people the following when discussing your ex.

  • “He is a bum.  I only dated him because I felt sorry for him because he still thinks Pearl Jam will return to mainstream one day.”  Make it clear to everyone that you ran the relationship from start to finish.
  • “I dumped her.”  You are never to admit you were fired out of your relationship.  Winners fire people.  Losers get busted for drag racing rented Lamborghinis in Miami because they know their career is falling apart faster than Deutsche Mark in the Weimar Republic.  Everything that ends, always ends badly, so you might as well tell people you ended it on your terms.
  • “Yeah, we dated for ‘X’ years, but I was seeing other people on the side.”  You are a wild mustang tearing up the free range of the Wild West.  No one can hold you down.  Even if the two of you spent your weekends cuddled around a space heater watching your VHS of The Notebook until you wore out the tape, you don’t need to share that with anyone now.  Tell people that you are the Sal Paradise of your generation and respect will rain upon you.

2)  Maybe you got dumped because you let yourself get fat.  I’m not going to put it gently and say something like “you let yourself go”, “you are ‘X’ years older than when you met her”, or “everyone gets flabby when they are in a long-term relationship”.  Here at Skiinginjeans.com, we may self-promote, but we never beat around the bush.  Your BMI has skyrocketed, you are constantly sweating like that old naked guy who lives in the sauna at your gym, and you are carrying around the equivalent of a small toddler in the form of fat around your waist and butt.  Yeah, you got fat.

Hit the gym, start running, and get lean.  It is simple stuff.  Once you start dating again, you will quickly realize that no one really cares about your personality until you are far enough into a relationship to get dumped again.

3)  Start dating again.  This step is strictly optional.  Since you will get dumped again which will require another six month supply of Zoloft, a year of therapy sessions and thousands of hours of self-loathing, you might as well just accept your previous relationship as your last shot at a meaningful, exclusive relationship.

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How to Escape the Suburbs on a Friday Night

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Models and Bottles How to Escape the Suburbs on a Friday Night
Go Get Some.

He carefully covers himself in the tools of the night:  The Patek Phillippe knock-off watch, 7 jeans-scored at Plato’s Closet with only a minor Kool-Aid stain, and Calvin Klein underwear-simple head nod to the O.G., Marky Mark.  Grabbing the EZ curl bar, he knocks out at least 35 reps, but never over 58; crossing the sweat point yields another hour-long shower and primp session.  Finally the shirt:  a vintage 1998 Girbaud bought at a Kmart Blue Light Special.  He is now ready to leave the suburbs and take on the city this Friday night.

While wearing gloves, the shirt is carefully removed from the dry cleaner bag slowly put on to avoid any unnatural wrinkles in the fabric.  He turns up Tiesto in his room and practices his approach with a mannequin.  The Point.  The Wink.  The Double Wink.  The Point-Double Wink (this one is still in the experimental phase).  If only that mannequin were a real woman like in that movie Mannequin Two:  On the Move, he could work the club circuit strictly as a spectator and not a true player.

He grabs the keys to the Subaru Outback off the counter as his mom yells something inaudible at him.  He drives out of the sub-division only leaving a baby seat on the floor of the garage as any proof that he was there.

With track housing behind him, his transformation into “Stinger” is complete.  Now he is free.

Enter The Thunderdome (good-bye suburbs)

The crowd is starting to build at the door, but Stinger pushes through to the staff and slips the guy a twenty.

Once seated, Stinger leans back in his seat and lights up a clove cigarette.  Several patrons give him a look of disgust, but he waves them off with a twist of his hand.  A waitress walks over to him.  He cuts her off before she can talk to him.

“Bottle of Grey Goose.  Soda, cranberry and a large bowl of cherries,” Stinger says as he sharply looks away to avoid any follow up questions.  The server rolls her eyes in agony as she backs away from the table.

The waitress returns with a middle age man.  He calmly speaks as Stinger looks on, “We do not offer bottle service.  This is Chili’s.  However, we have a fine selection of island drinks.  Would you like to start with an Awesome Blossom to go with a Presidente Margarita?”

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The Real Wedding Gift Giving Guide

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Your wedding gift guide
It is the size of package that really matters

“Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry
In five days from now he’s gonna marry
He’s hopin’ you can make it there if you can
‘Cause in the ceremony you’ll be the best man”

It is Go-Time. Before you decide you’re going to go all Wedding Crashers on the event. Get to the real question:

How much should you spend on a wedding gift?

The Emily Post types will say, “Cover the cost of your plate as well as your guest’s plate when giving a wedding gift.” This is completely asinine.

If you are invited to wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in New York complete with dancing girls, twenty piece band and elephants parading the wedding party in, you are not expected to pay for your meal in the form of a wedding gift. “But they spent all this money on me, I need to reciprocate,” you say. When you are at a wedding where a majority of people at the rehearsal dinner are wearing plaid pants that is the sign that you are way out of your element. You are not on the Forbes 400 list and clearly the newlyweds don’t need the money to start their lives together. If this couple was rich and generous, they should be handing out thousand dollar gift cards to Aldi as late night favors, because Aldi is something us little people can relate to.

When your nephew gets married at your brother’s pig farm and the appropriate dress is “anything but camouflage or hunter orange”, it is time to max out the credit card and buy this couple as much of the stuff off their registry as you can afford. This bride’s biggest day of her life consists of a keg in the backyard next to the septic tank entrance. After you go back to running water and an indoor stove, this girl will still be slugging it out at the trailer park with Brittany Spears’ childhood friends. Yes, your child’s college fund may take a temporary hit, but do the poor couple a solid and write a check with multiple zero’s.

When do you give the wedding gift?

On or before the big day? Nope.  Traditional etiquette says that if the marriage doesn’t last a year the gift needs to be returned.  Are you really going trust a couple who is going to marriage counseling, working with a divorce attorney, and fighting over who gets the Betty Crocker Cookbook to mail you back the toaster you bought them nine months ago? Let’s get real; that toaster is gone forever.

Friendships should mend in time, but that crystal serving bowl you paid for will always look better in your china cabinet than in your best friend’s ex’s house being used as an ashtray. As any self-help guru will tell you, “Take control of your life.” As your guide in this section of life, I say, “Take control of your toaster.”

Instead of giving the wedding gift on or before their big day, make the couple prove to you that their marriage is stable before you send them the gift. On the 364th day of their marriage, go ahead and mail that gift. It will save everybody a lot of unnecessary stress of mailing back gifts, hurt feelings, and most importantly, your bank account.

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