…because not all of us have our Peking ducks in a row

The Nose Knows & Other Gift Ideas to Alienate Your Friends & Family

I’ll admit it.  I’m one of those suckers for Christmas…presents, that is.  Growing up, it wasn’t so much about what Christmas meant, but what old man Santa would give me that year.  I never begrudged him an extra chocolate chip cookie and believed him all the way through the eighth grade, just so I could get my hands on that newest Barbie hot rod, or the Star Wars Collector’s Edition Han Solo figurine.

As the decades passed, I realized that not everyone shared my enthusiasm for gift giving/receiving.  That, plus the fact that my friends are now reaching Santa’s demographic, mean that the gifts I give to family and friends must not only be relevant, but also unique.  Gifts, such as…


Nose Dispenser

The Gift that Spotlights the Receiver’s Physical Flaws

My friend, Peter, has a rather large and ubiquitous nose, which usually enters the room before he does.  To pay tribute to this incredible specimen, I spent five painstaking minutes online buying Peter a plastic nose dispenser for his birthday one year.  (Painstaking, because the noses had different prices, options and shipping costs, with and without state taxes, making comparison shopping very difficult.)

nose dispenser

The dispenser can be filled with soap and attached to the wall via suction cups on the back.  After one week with the dispenser, Peter reported that his gift had developed a severe post nasal drip – there was no on/off switch, and gelatinous goo was coming from both nostrils non-stop.  The only option was to turn the nose upside down.


The last I saw of the nose was at my summer garage sale…and then later at a Goodwill, where the nose was taken when it didn’t sell.  I’d like to think that the nose dispenser was snatched up by a creative genius by the name of Moose and has found a more appreciative home in a fraternity, or a homeless person’s shopping cart.  As a side note, Peter developed a large zit at the end of his nose, after he got rid of the nose dispenser.  Nose dispenser karma?  Only the nose knows.


Bamboo + candleabra = bambleabra!

A Gift So Bad, It Has to Be Good

It’s said that there’s a fine line between “art” and “WTF is that?!”.  This principle can also be applied to gifts.  We’ve all seen cheap, last-minute gifts – impulse buys from the $0.99 bin, or discounted chocolates from the drugstore, but what about those gifts that defy description and logic?  An object that looks somewhat familiar, but appears to be from another planet?

Barely recovered from his acne adventures with the nose dispenser, Peter received another baffling gift from a friend – a collision of bamboo, wood and metal, which he christened the bambleabra.  The piece was either put together by gifted orangutangs, or a madman who wore clothes made from coconut shells and crab legs.

In his email to me regarding the bambleabra, Peter said that, “it appears…an inscription has been scratched out on the bottom of the plinth”.  What could an inscription on this thing have possibly said?  Many Joyful Returns on Your Vasectomy?  Success in Your Quest to Find the Planet ZwelackThis gift will self-destruct in fifteen seconds?

I hope, for Peter’s sake, it’s the latter.

Make Sure Your Gift is Age-appropriate

My friend Steve of the poo fame has parents who believe he is perpetually stuck at the tender age of twelve.  Year after year, Steve’s dear mother, while buying gifts for all of her ten children and countless grandchildren, will buy Steve an item of clothing in a size large…children’s large, that is.  And year after year, Steve will dutifully put on that Villanova sweatshirt meant for a child less than a quarter of his age, or that children’s bathrobe which ties at his neck instead of his waist…till the numbness from the lack of blood and oxygen to his limbs and head cause him to eventually pass out.

Steve, before the concussion.

Steve, before the concussion.

Making the Best Out of Your Impulse Buys

Unlike some, who feel that gifts should be occasion- or even person-appropriate, I often buy things first and ask questions later.  Case in point, the English Bobby vibrator:


God save the Queen!

The English Bobby is just one of a series of “Honey Shake” brand vibrators I found while looking for a public bathroom in Taipei and ending up in a tiny sex shop.  Bobby’s first cousin is Cowboy Dick from Montana:

cowboy dick3

Don’t squat with your spurs on, y’all!

The black sheep of the family is Cocky the Clown:

cocky clown

If you’re good at something, never do it for free – The Joker

I’d given the English Bobby to my friend Amy as part of a birthday or Christmas present, even though Amy isn’t British, has no interest in visiting England, and prefers apple over shepherd’s pie.  Being the great friend that she is, however, Amy accepted my gift graciously then probably socked Bobby away someplace where she’ll never have to see it again.  When I asked her for pictures of Bobby for this post, she claimed that Bobby had “lost his fuzzy hat”, so these pictures of Bobby are ones she found on the internet.

Cocky the Clown sans hat.

Cocky the Clown without hat.  Wanna take a ride on my carousel, cutey?

Impulse buy?  For sure.

Why did I buy them?  The sex shop had surprisingly clean bathrooms.

Would I have have purchased the vibrators even if the sex shop had no public restrooms?  You bet your Honey Shaker I would!

plush uterus

A uterus needs love, too!

Why I’ll Be Forever Sarcastically Single

In the vast wasteland that is my brain, I thought this gift would be a perfect gag Christmas present for a guy I’m dating – a retired OB/Gyn (Gyno Guy).  What grown sane man wouldn’t want the internal female organ that was the bane of his professional existence personified in an adorable and cuddly pink toy?  Upon receiving the object in the mail, I realized this plush uterus was a mistake and serves no purpose…except to help Gyno Guy explain to a ten-year-old girl where her fallopian tubes are and why her real uterus doesn’t smile like the plush one, as uteri generally become more crotchety with age till they finally quit on you altogether.

And as Gyno Guy – the last decent man who will ever date me – is led away in handcuffs, charged with indecency with a minor over this plush uterus, then becomes vilified by the other prisoners, all the while cursing the day he met me – I will be left sarcastically single again by the forces of this plush uterus.  Who knew?

The nose.

The nose always knows.

Peter and his nose.

Peter and his nose.

Other posts about gift-giving: A Lemon Peeler for My Love

Other posts about Christmas: Hallmark Holiday Card Rejects


14 comments on “The Nose Knows & Other Gift Ideas to Alienate Your Friends & Family

  1. bronxboy55
    January 2, 2013

    “…a madman who wore clothes made from coconut shells and crab legs.” That line alone explains why I keep coming back here.

    Happy New Year, Susan.


  2. becomingcliche
    December 24, 2012

    When I got this post in my inbox, one look at the tags told me I should wait until after work.

    My worst/best gift was when my husband bought me underwear. Just plain, ordinary Hanes. Two sizes too large.


    • lostnchina
      December 25, 2012

      Heather, I never know what to think when people buy me clothing that’s TOO LARGE – I’d err on the side of giving TOO SMALL (ie. Oh, he thinks I’m a size 2! How lovely!).

      That said, your husband’s a practical man. Why get too tight thong underwear you might injure yourself with while running after Squish?

      PS: I found, through my mother, that old, tired underwear could be used as floor rags once they’ve passed their shelf life. The larger the better.


  3. Edna
    December 22, 2012

    The caption for cocky the clown made me laugh out loud and feel super sketchy at the same time. Well played.


    • lostnchina
      December 23, 2012

      Super Sketchy, eh? Cock the Clown likes that 🙂


  4. giora
    December 21, 2012

    Just wishing you Merry Xmas from Toronto.


    • lostnchina
      December 21, 2012

      Hi Giora, Thanks for your holiday wishes! Try to keep warm in Toronto!


  5. expatlingo
    December 20, 2012

    Susan, nice to see you back in time for the holidays!

    My Christmas gift to you is this hilarious post from “le culentre les deux chaises” about a traditional Catalan Christmas practice featuring “caga tió” (or “shitting guy” in English): http://wp.me/p1ac8V-BC


    • lostnchina
      December 20, 2012

      Oh, Jen. Thanks so much for your *gift* of “shitting guy”. I think he will fit in my glass case disiplaying all of my Honey Shakes. I’ll just have to be careful not to get them mixed up.


  6. amyswing
    December 20, 2012

    Does this mean Santa won’t be bringing me Fireman Fred this year?


    • lostnchina
      December 20, 2012

      If there is a Fireman Fred, he’s mine.

      Unless he’s got a twin brother. You can have the twin. 😉


  7. WSW
    December 20, 2012

    Oh Susan, so glad to have you back! I love that the Honey Shakes all have hats. I don’t know why, but I just do. And what marketing genius came up with the name? The world is indeed a marvelous and interesting place. Thank you for bringing this little corner of it to my lavishly festooned front door.


    • lostnchina
      December 20, 2012

      Wendie, you are too kind. I’ve been crunching numbers lately, which left no room in brain for other things. Tell me, how is your front door lavishly festooned? I’m disappointed not to see a post about cooking/alcohol recipes during the holiday season on your site. You’re like the Martha Stewart Antichrist. For the first time ever, I’m hosting a Christmas Eve dinner and have been testing recipes all week (only got sick once). Just finished the table center piece, but the chihuahua won’t stay put. Could really use some advice here.


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