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Should Grown Men Sign Up for Birthday-Gift Registries?

You've been hinting about that new Prada briefcase all year, but sending shoppable links to friends and family pushes the boundaries of good taste.

This weekend in the New York Times, we were surprised to read about 32-year-old Brooklyn IT director Jordan Weinstein, who celebrated his recent birthday by inviting friends and family to buy him presents cataloged on an online registry created just for the occasion. He rationalized that people make registries for weddings and baby showers, so why not other events when gifts are usually given? Weinstein, shown here wearing some kind of practical, all-terrain getup surrounded by the loot he coerced his loved ones into lavishing upon him, explains that he's "very particular." Oh, in that case, why not go one step beyond telling people what you'd like to receive and cut straight to sending them a list of links where they can buy the exact items you want?

That kind of "gimme, gimme, gimme" worldview reminds us of another group of gift recipients, and indeed the article goes on to explore the registry-expansion trend of its target demographic: children. Specifically, their parents, who create birthday registries to avoid receiving duplicate games and books or to clarify their child's toy preferences. But these kiddie registry cards get mailed along with a crucial item Mr. Weinstein forgot: an invitation to an actual birthday party. Or even a dinner. Or, at the very least, drinks.

While we don't condone grown men expecting gifts (you have a job, sir—if you really want it, buy it yourself), if you do sink to that level of bad behavior, do your gift givers the very basic courtesy of inviting them to join you to celebrate what the day is supposed to be about. Then again, if you're the kind of man who prefers to be surrounded by gifts instead of your closest friends, why would that small social courtesy occur to you?

Mr. Weinstein didn't say how he spent the actual anniversary of his birth, but we can't help but imagine him at home clicking refresh on his MyRegistry.com page, eagerly tracking the gift tally (hockey sticks, check!) as the clock ticked toward midnight. He might take a cue from another story reported on this weekend by the Times about the art of the handwritten thank-you note, though unless someone bought a stationery set for him, we aren't holding out much hope.

—Details senior online editor Perrin Drumm

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Photo by Danny Ghitis for the New York Times
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