If you took a survey asking men what the most stressful day of the year is, I think February 14th would win in a landslide. The pressure to keep your girl happy on Valentine’s Day is immense. Especially because you know that on February 15th, she is going to talk to her girlfriends, and all their significant others are undoubtedly going to have done something more impressive than you. Trust me, you don’t want to be the guy who bought her a mixed flower bouquet and Milk Duds from Kroger when her best friend got an engraved 24 karat gold locket.
I, unfortunately, have a history of disappointing Ellie on Valentine’s Day. On our first Valentine’s Day as a dating couple, I was very inexperienced in the art of valentine-ing. I had no idea you had to make reservations ahead of time. After stopping by a half a dozen restaurants, we were very lucky to find two open seats at the counter at Steak and Shake at 9:30pm. At least they were serving half-priced, festive milkshakes.
So the next year, I decided to avoid the restaurants all together and cook chocolate fondue at my house. Of course no one told me you had to periodically stir the chocolate to prevent it from burning. (I grew up with six younger siblings. We never ate fondue anything.) I figured this out right as Ellie was arriving at my door, so I just went with it.
“This chocolate tastes a little funny,” Ellie stated, after dipping a stunning, succulent strawberry in the concoction. “It has a burnt, bitter taste.”
“That’s because it’s high quality Belgium dark chocolate,” I stammered. “It has a high class taste. I ordered it straight from Belgium. Had it shipped here last week.”
“Really?” she raised one eyebrow at me. “Then why are there a bunch of Hershey’s milk chocolate wrappers in the garbage can?”
Fast-forward seven years later.
This year, I decided to go all out and surprise Ellie with a nice piece of jewelry. I left work early and swung by the jewelry store. As I handed my credit card to the clerk, I was imagining the look of surprise on Ellie’s face when I presented her with the beautiful necklace I had just purchased.
My phone rang as I exited the store, and I answered to hear Ellie’s frantic voice. “Someone has stolen our credit card!”
“That’s not good,” I replied, “How do you know?”
“Well I just got a text message alert that someone spent $100 at a jewelry store.
My heart sank. “Honey don’t worry about it. I’m sure it’s nothing.”
“Nothing? Someone took our money! I have to hang up and call the credit card company.”
“It’s probably just a computer mistake. I’m telling you babe, it’s nothing. Let it go!”
“Mr. Handsome, what’s going on?”
As you can imagine, I had to explain right then and there what the charge had been for, thus ruining the surprise.
“Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed. “Come on home so I can see my new necklace!” At least she still enjoyed the gift. Here’s to hoping that I can pull off a decent Valentine’s Day surprise next year.