Push Presents

I am no materialist, but I appreciate the symbolism, and the shift of power.

But the push present — unlike the 15-year anniversary ring — is apparently not the invention of the jewelry industry looking for another opportunity to sell goods. No one is quite sure how the trend began; in practice the baubles are presented before or after the big day, or sometimes right in the delivery room.

“They’ve arisen from the time cavemen brought trinkets to their wives,” said Jim Brusilovsky of Chains-and-charms.com, a Philadelphia-based jewelry chain. “I haven’t seen it coming from the industry.”

Michael Toback, a jewelry supplier in Manhattan’s diamond district, traces the practice to a new posture of assertiveness by women. “You know, ‘Honey, you wanted this child as much as I did. So I want this,’” he said.

A more likely explanation is that men are now simply more aware of and sympathetic to the plight of their pregnant partners, given their increasing tendency to attend childbirth classes and help in the actual delivery. “I think husbands are more involved with the prenatal process,” said Dr. Philippe Girerd, an obstetrician in Richmond, Va. “Women go through back pain, morning sickness, stress and so on. We just sit around and take the credit. I think a lot of 21st century husbands are a little more in touch with that.”

The article goes on to explain that some parents don't like the materialism implicit in the exchange. But materialism is implicit in any gift giving ceremony (I needn't point out as we enter the one month of the year when it is simply not good enough to express one's affection in non-material ways). And while natural biology would have women call their children their own, and men never quite be sure which spawn is whose, our society has seen to it that children have two (at least) legally-acknowledged parents; yet only one of them goes through the hell. Why not make the other symbolically invest himself in the deal?

So for the record, if I make baby, I want iPhone. Deal.

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