That’s a wrap


Is the ability to gift wrap beyond my and most men’s skill set? If there is one action, I find hypnotic at this time of the year, it is the origami-like skills of people in the gift-wrapping department... or my wife. They can wrap the most obstinate and obvious of shapes in a trice, disguising the original into something totally different; a starfish into a perfect cube, an umbrella into a triangle. My wife could wrap up Michael Angelo’s David and make it a perfect hexagon, with possibly a bow discreetly tied to his gentleman’s salami. Give me even a simple rectangle like a hardback book to wrap and it’s a disaster. Scissors never cut in a straight line, or snag and leave little waves of scrunched paper along the edge. Immediate ticking off from my scalpel perfect wife. Even if I trim again, the fold at one end will be pointy while the other end will be squared off. The top of the book will be face against the bottom of the join of the gift wrap paper. The finished object will have an excess of paper so large at one end that it will look like something is trying to escape from the book; like that little monster that popped out of John Hurt’s tummy in Alien.

...and another thing

Scotch tape is the sticky forked tongue of Satan as far as I am concerned. It never cuts cleanly off the tooth edge of the dispenser. When given a sharp tug, it either unspools a length far too long that then sticks to everything on the table, or simply comes apart from the dispenser itself; the roll swinging onto the half-wrapped parcel and sticking there.

When I do get a piece of tape…

“No darling, not your teeth, it makes the tape ends so ugly”!

The damn thing always refuses to secure and stick one particular corner down; it just peels away five seconds later with a sudden phhht taking the pattern off the wrapping paper, leaving an ugly white scar in its place. And so, I have to begin all over again.

As for those prissy dispensers you can wear on your wrist and are meant to dispense pre-cut lengths of tape in a zig zag motion… they last maybe three pulls before sticking to the actual tape. I waste an hour trying to prise apart a near invisible join and end up stamping on the damn thing.

...and another thing

I pride myself on passing my onshore sailing exam with ease. Ask me to whip you up a reef knot, bowline, clove hitch in a truce and I’ll have your cleat attached to my rope before you can say ‘double entendre’.

However, ask me to decorate a gift-wrapped parcel with ribbons, bibbons and bows and they all tie themselves into knots faster than a set of Apple earphones in a tumble dryer.

The result of all this, if left to my own devices, is I need never put cards on my presents. You can identify all my gifts around the tree because they resemble an explosion in a paper factory. They are so ugly and lopsided that I am beginning to wonder if anti-wrapping could become an art form; I mean if Tracy Emin can display an unmade bed in the Tate Modern, surely my ‘present fighting the wrapping’ could garner equal nods of appreciation from the glitterati of the world of Modern Art. An exhibition at MOMI awaits?

...and another thing

There are some advantages to being a crap wrapper. No one ever utters the totally futile phrase:

“Oh, it’s so pretty! It’s such a shame to unwrap it.”

Mine just get ripped apart in seconds. The only thing no one wants to unwrap is a disappointing present. Who gives a shit if it’s pretty? Is it what I want?

It’s like your first date at the prom. No matter how pretty that dress is, it’s coming off as quick as you both can rip it open!

...and another thing

Despite the rather pointless waste of time pretty-pretty wrapping takes, I was in Paris when those artists Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and wife Jeanne-Claude decided to wrap all the biggest bridges across the Seine in pink taffeta. Pointless as a chocolate teapot, but I have to say I rather liked it.

I wonder if God looked down said:

“Oh, it’s so pretty! It’s such a shame to unwrap it.”

Beelzebub on the other hand I’m sure could not wait to tear it all apart. He won. It lasted only a few weeks.

Happy wrapping.

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