Man’s Malady

by Adam Slade

Birthdays are great, aren’t they? All that attention, and all those presents. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than the smile on a person’s face when they receive the brightly-coloured package that I wrapped just for them. The smile generally lasts right up until they get the wrapping off to find ‘Rocks Greatest Hits 1994’.

It’s not that I’m a bad gift-buyer, per se. It’s just that gas stations have a limited selection, and most other shops are shut at that time of night, or need more than two hours notice to order something special in.

Yup. I was a last-minute shopper. I’d find out the date of the birthday/occasion way in advance, find out what kind of things they wanted, then think, “Plenty of time yet!” and forget about the whole thing until someone reminded me three days before the party.

I know what some of you are thinking – typical man – and it’s true. Male DNA is missing certain key... uh... thingies, which makes it very difficult to both retain dates and prepare gifts with more than twelve minutes to go. Also, we’re often lazy. That’s genetic too. To be frank, they are serious flaws of ours, and we deserve sympathy. And puppies. 

I mean tattoos. Yeah, that’s it. Grr. Tattoos of puppies.

This pattern continued throughout my childhood years, teens, and into my early twenties, before I came across a way to deal with what I like to call ‘Man’s Malady’. The Internet. Lemme explain.

You see, shops these days are available online, as well as in meatspace, and in many ways they are superior to the old-fashioned ones which expect you to put clothes on before you enter. Online stores are fast to browse, which is ideal for the male’s limited attention span, have the shiny things in prominent positions, which makes them easier to spend too much money on, and, most importantly, they deliver.

Yup. You can order your plastic roses and red lacy lingerie that is only suitable to be worn on a bet from the comfort of your own boxer shorts and stained white t-shirt. You don’t even have to stand up!

On discovery of this, and after gaining a debit card and an account with a positive number, I rejoiced heartily (that’s like normal rejoicing, only with deep laughs and backslaps). Never again would I suffer from Man’s Malady! All I had to do was order something a few weeks before the event and throw the box into a cupboard. The only effort required was checking my fly was closed when I answered the door to the mail-lady. I even remembered most of the time.

Nowadays, my troubles are behind me. As the days pass, I sit back with a smug grin, safe in the knowledge that I’ve taken care of things way in advance. On the night before the occasion, I wrap the gift up tight, then place it reverently – like normal placing, only you have to sing a hymn while you do it – upon my glasses case, so I’ll remember to take it with me when I wake up. Perfect.

Still forget the card, though.

The result of a caveman breeding with an ingot of un-distilled sarcasm, newlywed Adam Slade was always going to go places. Some days he even makes it as far as the kitchen. Adam is an author of fantasy and humour works, and when he's not writing, he's reading or goofing off on the Internet. You can read about his exploits on his blog, Editing Hat, and on his Twitter.

Image credit: timorinvest.com


  1. Internet shopping has certainly eased things for men, but there is no cure for general disregard (i.e. forgetting the card) :P ...my husband suffers from it too. To avoid it, I give reminders.

  2. It's not disregard! It's GENETIC! You should pat him on the head and tell him it's okay. ;)


  3. Tattoos of puppies ;) Nice recovery on the manliness. Internet shopping is SO far superior to actual in-person shopping, it's hard to pick one best thing about it (though not having to deal with shopping mall parking garages near the top of the list, perhaps just under being able to shop in one's underwear).

  4. Underwear shopping is the BEST. Providing it's warm.



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