Ask Aunt Chelsea, Aug. 14, 2013
Dear Aunt Chelsea:
Your Advice Please: My girlfriend/wife/boss is turning 50, so it’s a big deal/decade. But she doesn’t want a party. I even offered to hire someone to organize a “Very Senior Prom” with 20-200 of her closest friends, but she declined, as she doesn’t want to be the center of attention. She also doesn’t want jewelry or to travel.
She really wants a new puppy — but with a grown dog already crowding our small apartment, I need to draw the line at adopting more “children” at our advanced age. Spa days often go unused. Spending money often embarrasses her.
What suggestions might you offer? I really want to pull out all of the stops. What do 50-year-old women really want — beyond 35-year-old firemen that look like George Clooney? Your thoughts?
What she really wants is what every woman wants, what every person wants: to feel loved, appreciated and special. Yes, Mr. “P,” it’s actually that simple. So put on your bifocals, because we’re about to read between the lines of your letter and come up with a scenario for the half-century mark celebration she deserves.
First of all, that “Very Senior Prom” is a pip of an idea…which makes me wonder how somebody so creative could execute the bonehead maneuver of asking the birthday girl for permission. This was the original sin that forced you to seek out Aunt Chelsea’s wise council. For future reference, any such grand gestures are to be cloaked in secrecy, so the big reveal is an integral part of the gift (more on that in just a bit).
No wonder your beau, who sounds like a delightful (albeit too-modest) lady, declined your offer of a massive shindig. She simply doesn’t want to spend her waning days as a 49-year-old worrying about being the gracious guest of her own party. What will I wear? What will I say? Will I remember how to do The Electric Slide? These are questions no sane person needs to contemplate when they’re dreading the delivery of that first AARP membership offer.
So now that we’ve established there will be no party, you simply must throw her a party. Anyone who’s made it to 50 and has 20 (let alone 200) friends, did not get to that admirable plateau by being a Grinch. So I’m betting she’ll forget about her adversity to attention once she’s showered with wacky “I’m 50”-themed presents, sincere adulation and a 25-year-old fireman stripper who makes Magic Mike look like the Buddy Ebsen (there’s a pop culture reference for the senior set…as for my younger readers, Google him!).
Now here’s a little insurance, should she have any lingering issues once you spring that big “I don’t want a big party” party on her. When the last guest has been sent into the night and you whisk your aging Mrs. back home, she’s to be greeted by a precious, floppy, frisky puppy along with 50 “good for one” fill-in-the-blank coupons (in your handwriting and redeemable within one year, at her discretion).
Whether it’s a request to walk puppy for his nightly poo, rub her feet or do that thing she likes under the old yak skin that you don’t particularly care for, you’re to take a single coupon from her stack, man up and accomplish the task with zest. There is simply no greater gift than knowing you have a life partner who’ll move heaven and earth simply because the thought of making you happy supersedes their own predilections and agenda. I suspect you fall into that category, in which case everything I’ve asked you to do really won’t be too much of a burden. Now start sending out invitations and surreptitiously puppy-proofing your apartment!