Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day holds no special, romantic meaning for us. My husband buys me flowers, takes me on dates, and shows me love regularly all year long; it's in my best interest to keep it that way rather than condense it to one day in February. Plus, the first 7 years of our marriage we were with our closest 100 youth group students on Valentine's Day, usually camping in tents in the rain, and rescuing those who didn't bring their rain flap. Uber Romantic.

But one year sticks out as the epitome of my lack of caring about February 14th, so I dug through the archives, and here you go:

So today I went out and about by myself.  We are going to a super fancy party on Saturday, and the dress I am wearing requires certain special undergarments. (This is me, trying to be appropriate with my choice of words). So I went into a certain store in the mall, which is known for it's pink striped bags. Let's call it Veronica's Mystery, if you catch my drift. If you don't, I am probably being appropriate for your sake. 

For some reason, there were a ton of men in there. There were few women.

This is a store I have been in 2-3 times a year for many years. I know this store, it's a girl's store, and if there are men they are usually with a woman. 

It was so weird. 

I couldn't find what I needed, so I asked a cute little girl (yep, I am old. Store employees look like cute little girls, not peers) for help and she was great. Very helpful. The biggest bummer is that nothing was on sale. Nothing. No deal on anything.

I wandered around--something I can do sans children--and made my way to the very long line, full of men, who were alone. The employees upfront called for a back-up cashier. Odd, that's never been needed before.

So strange. What is going on? 

The man in front of me was a typical guy. He was probably 35ish, had a wedding ring on, had clearly just come from work. He had an old school hair cut, seemed a little out of shape, and he was clutching his intended purchase tightly, wadded up in his hand. He was an odd shade of red, and I swear at one point he was sweating.  The line took forever, as each purchase was carefully wrapped and placed into the infamous pink-striped bag. The man in front of me picked up a bottle and absent-mindedly read it. He startled, and quickly set it down. Hmm, how to word this... it was massage oil that would not harm a person's digestive system. 

He and I ended up at cash registers right next to each other, awkwardly close together for any store.  I saw his purchase. Now, there are some beautiful things in this store, things I would not mind owning, but generally find to be too expensive for the length of time they are worn. This one he chose, not so much. It was peach (really, do they make peach clothes any more? I thought those went out in the 80's) and had old-lady lace. No joke, I think he either dug deep because the rest of what is in that store really is not that flattering on someone who has had a few kids recently, or he grabbed the first thing he saw that didn't make him pass out and ran to the line.

I was so bewildered. Then he was done, and his cashier said, "Happy Valentine's Day."

I dropped my wallet. No joke, and all the contents spilled out. It wasn't such a bad thing, it gave me a moment to compose myself.

It's Valentine's Day. The one day a year our usually peaceful, pleasant store is invaded by awkward, uncomfortable husbands who are trying to do the "right" thing.  The one day a year that there is no sale, too few checkers, and tension you could cut with a butter knife.

Once I recovered my belongings and stifled my laughter, I finished my purchase, off-handedly commenting to the young checker (seriously, can they hire 13 year olds, aren't there child labor laws?) that they "sure were busy today." She rolled her eyes, and said:

"Yeah, tell me about it. Last night I was supposed to be out of here by 11 and I didn't leave until 12:15. I can't imagine what tonight will be like."

It was already 4:00. I sure hope those guys get their shopping done soon. 

I made my way through the crowds of men-who-looked-no-woman-in-the-eye, and headed for my car, as that was my last stop. As I excused myself through another unusually long line of people, this time forming a line outside a store, I glanced up at the sign. "See's Candy." Geesh.

Dan, if you read this, let's agree to never, ever celebrate Valentine's Day. You are my love 365 days of the year. And, promise me, honey, that you will never go into Veronica's Mystery, because I do not want a peach old-lady nightie, and men's brains turn into mush, clearly, when they walk in only one day a year. Love you babe.

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