Reciprocal gift-giving ‘a lifelong contract from which there is no escape’

THE giving and receiving of gifts between women is a contract that can never be broken no matter how much each party yearns for escape. 

Researchers have found that female acquaintances can exchange up to three gifts a year despite both parties’ resentment of and fervent desire to end it.

34-year-old Carolyn Ryan said: “It began 12 years ago, when Susie got me a lipstick for my birthday. I was initially thrilled until her birthday three months later, when I was obliged to get her a present of equal or greater value.

“That was fine, I got her a Lush set, but then she upped the ante with a Christmas present so I had to pretend hers was in the post while panic-ordering a scarf and muttering ‘Nobody told me we were doing Christmas.’

“Then six years ago she got promoted and began spending silly money. I mean, she got me a bloody spa day for my birthday and a gold-plated, inscribed friendship bracelet for Christmas.

“Am I meant to budget £500 a year for my friendship with Susie? We’re looking at no-deal-Brexit-level losses here.”

Ryan added: “I tried to engineer a falling-out, but that only ended up with her sending me apology flowers. So that’s the precedent set for next time she gets upset.”