Some women have the uncanny ability to accept gifts from a man without feeling any sense of obligation; be that a round of drinks, dinner, jewelry, a spa vacation, or anything equally as generous. Regardless of the magnitude of the present, I unfortunately am not one of these women. Splurge for a first date, I'll pay for the second (shoots DCB's theory
to shit). That's just the way I was raised. I have particular difficulty accepting gifts, no matter how innocuous and kind the gesture, from men whose relationship with me I know with certainty is not going to progress beyond the status quo.
It all began with my wonderful college sweetheart with whom I parted ways officially a few months after I graduated. We kept in close contact through long distance correspondence, but it was clear (at least to me anyway; I was young and much more ambiguous with the verbal expression of my intent back then) that our continued interaction was not going to lead to any aisle walking. As time passed and I became loosely involved with someone else, the frequency and intensity of our verbal exchanges dwindled. Two years later, on my birthday, I received a small package in the mail addressed from him. I opened the parcel to a dropped jaw; he had sent me an exquisite diamond-studded necklace with a card suggesting that the beauty of the accessory paled in comparison to my own, but when he spotted it in the jeweler's case, he knew he had to buy it for me as a token of my inestimable value. At which point my heart became overwrought with guilt. However he felt about me to have made such a purchase, I could never reciprocate. It broke my heart that the proof of our disparate feelings for each other was hanging as physical evidence at my collarbone. Instead of simply saying thank you, I tried to give the necklace back, which in hindsight was probably the equivalent of pouring brine into his scar tissue.
This is not a lone incident. I have offended a multitude of men whose kindness I equate with expectations that I cannot fulfill. In my gentle heart's effort to be tender with people's affection, I frequently seem to end the match by throwing an unintentional blindside of a left hook. I'm just completely incapable of taking without giving back in return; and although I won't apologize for this trait that makes me the predominantly selfless person that I am, I will ask forgiveness of my college sweetheart and all men who have followed for the emotional confusion I may have caused.