Teddy Fuxpin

Dear Dategirl,

This Christmas, my boyfriend of THREE YEARS gifted me with a polyester teddy two sizes too small, a pair of season tickets for HIS favorite team, and a bicycle. I don't know how to ride a bike, I hate sports, and when I asked him for the receipt so I could return the ugly teddy for the right size, he suggested instead that I might want to start riding the bike so I could fit into it instead.

I'm 5'6" and 130 pounds. I am not fat by anyone's definition, and furthermore, I was exactly the same size when we hooked up. I had been willing to maybe give biking a try up until this point. I tried to look at the baseball tickets as a way for us to spend time together. But the crack about the lingerie really pissed me off and made me rethink everything. He wasn't joking, either. Nor is he some fantastically well-built dude. He has gained about 30 pounds since we've been together. I am furious. Instead of apologizing, he tried telling me how ungrateful I was being. Am I being a brat or is he out of line?

—Furious and NOT FAT!

There are bad gifts, and then there are passive-aggressive, send-a-message presents.

My dad never knew what to get my mom, so he screwed up a lot. I still recall the coconut-shell vase shaped like a monkey head. I may even have helped him pick that one out (I was around 8). Yes, it was a shitty thing to open under the tree, but there was no ulterior motive behind it—just a mix of cluelessness and panic.

Then there were the gifts my mom would buy me. Or rather, bought the daughter she wished she had spawned. Laura Ashley fabrics, lace collars . . . prayer aids. Sigh. Meanwhile, I had a double mohawk in various shades of blue and a pierced everything. Maybe she thought that if I slipped into that floral print I might quit dying my hair and howling along to Clash records in my room, and start dating altar boys instead of dropouts. I was also told I was an ungrateful little shit when I objected. These gifts we received weren't dopey; they were designed to make us feel inadequate.

What I would do is keep the bike—everyone should know how to ride, and you might actually like it. You can always sell it later if you don't. As for the tickets, let him keep one ticket to every game and then sell (or better yet, give away) the other half to people he hates. His tyrannical boss? His teetotaling, proselytizing brother-in-law? That guy he always suspected you were crushing on? All perfect seatmates.

Obviously, the teddy should be crumpled into a ball and shoved up the darkest, moistest corner of your boyfriend's derriere.

Whether or not his crap behavior is a deal-breaker is up to you, but disrespect, obnoxiousness, and stupidity aren't qualities most of us look for in a mate.


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