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Five

There are five days left for you to shop for Christmas presents.

And that’s including you rushing out for gifts on Christmas Eve, when the only things open are gas stations, dollar stores, and that guy standing by his car on the side of the road with his trunk open and a hopeful expression on his face.

Not among the best choices available, dudes.

I’m going to say that, if you’ve not done your shopping by now. . . It’s not too late, but, dude, the fat lady is warming up in the wings.

The thing about giving a good present to your wife or significant other, is that you can’t do it rushed. When you’re rushed, you’re worried and pressured and we all know no one thinks at their best when they’re feeling like a 500-pound gorilla is about to pounce on them from behind and start playing bendy straws with their arms and legs.

It’s just not a good feeling, that pressure.

Which is why I advise you not to rush out and buy something. Instead, take a (very short) wait. Think about anything your wife or S.O. has said to you lately. Remember any wistful looks as you passed by a store window, any meaningful sighs while watching television as a particularly obnoxious ad came on for the fifteenth time in the last hour.

Once you’ve got your gift in mind, still pause and think up ┬ácouple of alternatives. You don’t want to panic and blank out when you’re shopping. That’s when you start picturing that silverback mountain gorilla’s hot, wet breath on the back of your neck and you start grabbing at whatever is in reach and you come back with a gold-plated cigarette holder and something that looks like the squalid abomination squatted out by an extinct species of rhino and then bronzed by a drunk Bulgarian sculptor on a two-month bender.

An oddly specific analogy, I realize, but I’m not speaking from personal experience here.*

Now that you’ve got a list, you need to figure out where you can go to actually get the stuff on your list. Make a plan and realize that, by waiting until now, where ever you go to purchase stuff, it’s going to be crowded. There will be many, many people and all of them will be just as intensely focused on getting done their own lists.

Take a breath and be calm. It’s going to be all right.

If you can’t find the first item on your list, then ask around. Maybe there’s another store that stocks it. Be nice when you start asking, though, because if there’s anyone more harassed than a last-minute-shopping dude, it’s the poor retail drones helping them.

If you still can’t find the item, it’s still not time to panic because you wisely listened to the Dude’s Guide and you made a list of a few other things you’d like to buy.

Once you get the item, you’re all set.

All you have to do now is wrap it. Fortunately for most of us, a lot of stores will even wrap the present for you.

So now you’re all set, dudes. Get out there and start shopping.

Me? Oh, I’m done. I was 90 percent finished a couple of days after Thanksgiving. No way I’m going out there now. I’m not that crazy.

Not that I’m saying you dudes are.*

*As far as you can prove.
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