"I don't get the appeal," my boyfriend said when I told him I've always loved personalized stuff. I'm admittedly more prone to egocentricity than he is, but I don't think it's necessarily some level of narcissism that's behind my lifelong interest in stuff with my name on it.
"That's because you're spoiled," I told him. He has a very common first name—one that literally millions of American men have. He has never known the disappointment of, as a child, going into a theme-park gift shop and not finding his name in the selection of pre-printed personalized magnets.
Although Marci isn't an unusual name, it's not common either; it doesn't help that my parents decided to go with the -i spelling. I rarely see it out in the wild, and everything I've ever owned with my name on it had to be specially ordered.
But that's part of the appeal of personalized stuff—your name is so special, so wholly unavailable on ready-made keychains, that someone has to go out of their way to type it into the Things Remembered machine. It makes you feel kind of special.
That's not to say that people with more popular names can't enjoy personalized stuff. But those people are much harder to impress because virtually every commonly personalized item is sitting in stock with their name already on it. To impress someone with a common name, you must personalize an uncommon thing.
I've found seven items you probably didn't know could be personalized—items you may want to get personalized this holiday season for your favorite narcissist, who, if you're a narcissist, is probably you.
We all have that friend who's like, "I don't even remember my name until I've had my morning shower." Well, help them remember their name a few seconds earlier with one of PopsyPix's adorable shower curtains.
This Etsy shop is full of shower curtains (amongst other things) with really cute patterns and the option to customize with either a name or initials.
I'm not much of a baker—although I totally helped make a black-bean chocolate cake last weekend, and it ruled—but I imagine any baking hobbyist would enjoy trading in an otherwise boring-looking rolling pin for one etched with his or her name.
American Laser Crafts, a company not as futuristic as it sounds, offers several designs of personalized rolling pins. But be careful! Even if you like the script of the design pictured above for, say, your friend Suzy, if you select the Robertson design from the pull-down menu, they will automatically add "The" in front of the name even if it doesn't make sense, leaving you with a "The Suzy" rolling pin.
Even though, like, everyone plays the ukulele these days, each and every one of those people is unique. Tell them you appreciate their uniqueness and don't really mind that they break out the ukulele at every party with a beautifully customized instrument from Etsy's UkuleleStudio.
Although the example above shows song lyrics, the artist regularly incorporates names into the designs.
A Cell Phone Flask That Might Have Fooled Someone in 2002
I've seen lots of engraved flasks before, but never one like this. "Small enough to fit in any pocket and easily mistaken for the real thing," says Sky Mall of its Personalized Cell Fone Flask, if by "real thing," they mean the the antennal Nokia phone I used more than a decade ago. (No idea why they spelled phone that way.)
I appreciate that the suggested engraving isn't just "Stacy" but "Call Stacy a Cab." It's clever, encourages safe choices, and has the potential to insult the person you're giving it to.
Plus, reviewer SKYMALLLOVA46 calls it a "great purchase... and most importantly, it fits PERFECTLY in my fanny pack!"
Plugs for Stretched Ear Piercings
Folks with gaping lobe holes rarely strike me as the type who are into monograms—aren't those typically considered "preppy"?—but whether your recipient is a big fan of irony or just refuses to be pigeonholed, these wooden plugs are a most excellent gift.
The plugs, all of which are handmade, range from about $20 to $40, depending on the gauge. (Isn't gauge a weird word? It looks like it should be pronounced gawj.)
You know who hates flip-flops? Well, a lot of people. But Rachel Perkins really hates them. I once Snapchatted her a picture of the ones I wear to quickly walk the dog in the summer, and she yelled at me.
So of course, she was the first person I told when I discovered that a company called FlipSidez makes flip-flops with personalized soles. The lettering is carved out like a mirror image so that it leaves an imprint of your name (or any message that fits) in the sand as you walk along the beach.
"I'm gonna buy 'em with the name Dick," she replied. "Just a beach that says dick dick dick dick dick dick dick as far as the eye can see."
"But I thought you hate flip-flops," I said.
"Yeah, but I would wear dick flops."
BDSM Spanking Paddles
If you were in a sorority or fraternity in college, there's a decent chance you had a sort-of-personalized paddle. But those were for decoration. I hope.
This paddle by TheLeatherLaboratory is a little different.
"This is a luxury leather bondage spanking paddle, personalized with the name of your choice," the description reads. "Perfect for both couples experimenting in the bondage world or seasoned leather bondage enthusiasts."
As you can see, the example includes a social media handle. Because why not?
If you prefer a wooden paddle, The Kink Factory customizes theirs with words in reverse so they leave a legible name on the spanked person's butt, sort of like how the aforementioned flip-flops leave an imprint in the sand. Sort of.