A China Teacup Sounds Nice

From Usual John, who says “I don’t understand the ageism reference, since the unhappy mom does not appear to be the oldest (or, for that matter, the youngest) of the women in the cartoon.”

I (Winter Wallaby) would add to that that china teacups in general seem like a very nice present. But it strikes me as bizarre to just give one, regardless of the age of the recipient.


  1. I’ve seen a couple articles about how millenials don’t want their family fine china and it has no value these days… giving a mother roses or a spa card doesn’t imply anything about her age, but perhaps china gifts imply that the recipient is old? At least the woman on the right thought it did!

  2. Her resentment seems silly to me. Instead of a ephemeral pleasure, she gets a gift that her children/her can use every week for the rest of her life while chatting over a nice hot brew. That seems like a much nicer sentiment, but i suppose if you want some silly wilting plant gonads from your children instead that expresses how all things eventually die, then it would be disappointing.

  3. Fluffy Bunny Slippers: Maybe some people don’t like to have too many things in their home. You can’t throw a gift away, so you have to put it or store it somewhere, which takes up space.

  4. I hear ya, Carl, but actually they’re just supposed to be Canadian….

  5. I think Fluffy Bunny Slippers basically has it – the other women are ecstatic they get something temporary from the consumer society, ie roses that wilt and a brunch that immediately gets eaten, whereas the china cup lady is annoyed that it is not something she can consume immediately but has to treasure for years, decades… maybe her family will even treasure it for centuries. She would instead prefer an experience she can sniff, stick in her mouth or have rubbed over her now and immediately forget, not get gifted an item she has to think about and be polite about until the end of (her) time (when she finally shuffles off this mortal coil).

  6. But yes, I don’t get the ageism reference. Maybe the gift-giver (of the tea cup) is a lot older than the other gift-givers. But you can’t see that from the drawing, obviously.

  7. Maybe it is quite subtle… the disgruntled lady is annoyed because the offspring of the other ladies have given them some modern trendy yoof “experience”-type gift, whereas her offspring thinks she would be happy to have an old physical object.

    Apologies for commenting three times in a row.

  8. I do think the woman last in the row, at the right, does look to be older than the rest. So for me the “ageism” note makes at least half sense; though I can’t really follow how the choice of gifts plays into that.

  9. A china teacup says “I’m regifting you something that I don’t want, that you can’t use with guests (because there’s only one) and have to carefully wash rather than put in the dishwasher rack.”

    “Oh, and when I visit I’ll look to see if you have it on display.”

  10. Isn’t a china teacup something a mother would give a child or grandchild?

    Although I suppose there were years when I tried to be my mother and grandmother plates and wine glasses… don’t think that has anything to do with age.

  11. Okay, this isn’t what was intended but what if they are spirits of mothers days past. The one with a spa gift card is from the teens, the the one with brunch is from the nineties, the one with swiss chocolate if from the 80s, the one with the red roses is from the 70s, and the one with the china teacup is from the 40s.

    No, doesn’t work. But neither does whatever the intended interpretation.

  12. I am picturing a family of children comparing the Christmas presents they got from their great aunt: “I got a Strawberry Shortcake doll.” “I got a Beanie Baby.” “I got a Nintendo 64.” “I got a vinyl record called ‘Free To Be You And Me’.” “I got a Furby.”

    A china tea cup is fine if you like china tea cups, just like a Marlo Thomas vinyl record is fine if you like Marlo Thomas vinyl records. If not, it’s not that much use.

    I have a mostly-complete china set in my house and to be honest I really don’t know exactly where it came from. My parents helped me move and they snuck in a lot of stuff they didn’t want any more. Or maybe the previous owners of the house left it. Or maybe it belonged to a housemate who passed away a few years ago. His family says they don’t recognize it.

  13. My parents helped me move and they snuck in a lot of stuff they didn’t want any more.

    That’s a clever idea for getting rid of stuff. And helping make sure you don’t get called to help move in the future.

  14. “I hear ya, Carl, but actually they’re just supposed to be Canadian….”

    Y’all calling us fat? 🙂

    I think it’s because these all these other things are sensual and maybe part of an entire romantic experience (I’m assuming the gifts are from their partners). The teacup is just shoving a package at someone and saying “Here you go.” No romance there.

  15. Why the heck would they be getting Mothers Day presents from their partners? I know some couples do that when the children are too young to buy good gifts, but looking at these women I assume they have adult (or at least teen) children.
    (And I guess that couples giving each other Mothers/Fathers Day gifts thru their whole lives isn’t unheard of, but it’s not the norm.)

  16. ShadZ, I’ve known older men who address their wives as “Mother” all the time. And chances are, they give them Mothers Day treats too – maybe in conjunction with the children.

  17. My best guess is that all the other gifts are to some extent sensual: pleasures of scent, taste, and touch; two of them involving escapes from the home. The china tea cup is a purely visual knick knack that assumes a disinterest in the sensual, whatever the sentiment behind it. Her kid (or mate) is thinking, what would a little old lady enjoy?

    Recalling an early “Bewitched” episode where Darrin is about to buy Samantha a negligee as a gift. He then frets that, sexy as she is, she won’t think of herself as a married woman. So instead he gets her a an unflattering quilted robe with a pair of huge fluffy slippers, stereotypical uniform of the frowsy housewife. Sam, of course, frets she’s lost all sex appeal in his eyes. Comedic misunderstandings ensue.

  18. I would consider not giving one’s partner (the mother of one’s children) a gift for Mother’s Day is the aberration, regardless of her age. I do not have children, but my father did that. A card and a nice personal treat, like flowers or a spa visit seems just the right thing.

  19. I had been for some time getting rid of stuff I (or joint we) have received as gifts. Really did not want any of them – including the saki server (bottle//pitcher?) and cups. I hate to think how much more stuff we would have if we had kept exchanging holiday and birthday gifts with family members or had children/grandchildren.

    It took me a long time to convince Robert that when I say I don’t want any gifts I REALLY mean it as opposed to all of the jokes in movies and on TV.

    Had to stop getting rid of stuff when the Salvation Army, Savers, and Goodwill all shut down over a 10-15 year period as no place to donate – especially since Robert cannot know what I am getting rid of as he his family kept everything – they did not donate unused/unwanted items. I never get rid of his stuff unless he tells me to – though when we start going to the post office again he is going to put for sale online his Atari game cartridges and jacket which I found when I cleaning up the teddys room in case one of us had to isolate due to Covid as it is also the spare bedroom. I will believe it when I see it.

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.