It’s Valentine’s Day again – and if y’all remember it was because of a Valentine’s Day experience (a Valentine’s Day nightmare) that I started my blog in the first place. It’s two years later now…and things are real different because I’ve got an awesome girlfriend rather than…well, you can click on the link and find out about the girlfriend I had before Joyce. (One piece of advice: if you see Monica coming towards you on the street…cross it fast lol.)
Even if you’ve got a great girlfriend, Valentine’s Day is still a problem. You always feel you’re being graded on what you do…and that you’ll be in trouble if you don’t do enough or do the right thing. I know Joyce is more reasonable than the average girlfriend, but I also know she looks forward to Valentine’s Day and whatever it is I plan for us. Last year, I took her out for dim sum and then I took a room at the Langham, which I set up with candles and rose petals. It looked real cool, and Joyce was very happy. She likes that kind of romantic stuff.
Ok, so I’ve done that. Now what is there new that I can come up with for this year?
I think I’m safe with the dim sum place over in San Gabriel again. The food really was good, Joyce had a good time, and it was super kind to my wallet. We haven’t been back there since last Valentine’s Day, so it’s high time we went again. It was even fun not knowing exactly what it was we were eating, since, when you’re the only white people in a place full of Chinese, there’s no one around who can explain what’s what.
That’ll take care of dinner. Flowers are easier for me than for most guys: Joyce’s favorite flowers are calla lilies (because of a speech in the movie Stage Door), and they come a lot cheaper than roses on Valentine’s Day. Chocolates are even easier, since I’m always willing to buy mine at the Rite Aid: I’ve been giving Whitman’s Sampler chocolates to my girlfriends on Valentine’s Day since I first had a girlfriend to give them to…and I don’t care what people might say about my being a cheap illiterate redneck. I like them. They’re good. And this year I got a real cute heart-shaped box with Snoopy on it. Joyce really likes Snoopy, so that seemed a no-brainer. (I gotta admit I like Snoopy too, and not only because he plays short.)
I didn’t get Joyce a stuffed animal last year, but I know it’s the kinda thing you’re supposed to get your girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. I decided I would get her one this year, and I really wanted to get her a big one. I mean big. I was thinking I’d get her a 6’ Snoopy, but they don’t make them (or, if they do, I couldn’t find one on the internet.) Joyce likes pandas too (we made a special trip this summer down to the San Diego Zoo to see the pandas there…she “oohed” and “aaahed” over them for a long, long time), and I was able to find this place online that makes 6’ pandas. They even come with a red heart that says…well, y’all can guess what the heart says so I don’t have to tell you lol. But it’s the kind of thing that was gonna make Joyce real happy on Valentine’s Day.
So I ordered the panda (y’all may want to know that the place that makes giant teddy bears offers free shipping), heart and all. When I unwrapped him when he came I thought he was super cute, if bigger than I expected. But who’s not going to like a 6’ panda?
Joyce never spends the night at my place (admittedly her house is a whole lot nicer), and she told me before Valentine’s Day that I didn’t have to worry about decorating my apartment or anything and that we could go back to her place. I guess she figured that I wasn’t going to do the hotel thing two years in a row. (The panda cost nearly as much as the room at the Langham did last year.) That was cool with me: it’s just more comfortable for me to spend the night at Joyce’s than have Joyce spend the night at my place: I have pajamas and a razor and a toothbrush and everything at Joyce’s. She’s got none of her stuff here.
Joyce also pointed out that Valentine’s Day should also be a chance for chicks to show how they feel about the men in their lives – it shouldn’t be a pain in the ass for the man and the girl gets off doing nothing. So she said she wanted to something for me, and she admitted she wanted to try her hand at Valentine’s Day decorating too.
So I had dinner, flowers, chocolates and a stuffed animal. That ought to have been enough…only I had one more surprise for Joyce, and it was a big one. I signed us up for ballroom dancing lessons. Yeah, really. Me, the dude with no rhythm. I found this studio on Colorado run by this cool couple – they dance professionally as Rico and Carla – and they assured me that they’d be able to make a ballroom dancer out of me. Carla danced with me for a couple minutes and said I wasn’t as hopeless as I think I am. Maybe she wanted to sell us lessons, but I think maybe I stand a more of a chance at ballroom than I did with stuff people my age dance to. Carla explained that, in ballroom, you’re not dancing by yourself like you are with my generation’s dancing, so your partner can help you.
“You can always rely on your partner’s rhythm,” Carla explained, although I don’t think that’s how Astaire did it lol.
“You’re an athlete, right?,” Rico asked me after I’d finished dancing with his wife.
“Yeah. Baseball. Played pro ball for a year.”
“Then you can move.”
“I can run, if that’s what you mean. But that doesn’t mean I can dance.”
“You’ll be okay, you’ll see. We can’t promise we’ll you into the next Astaire and Rogers – you know who they are, right?”
I wanted to answer ‘duh’ lol. Instead I went for “of course I do. My girlfriend watches TCM all the time. It was watching Top Hat on New Year’s Eve that gave me the idea for the lessons.”
“Most guys start out thinking they’re gonna hate ballroom, then they start getting into it. I bet you’ll be like that too.”
I said I hoped so. Not because of the money (ok, a little because of the money), but because I didn’t want to start investing one night a week in something I was going to suck at. But I figured that the owners of the studio knew something about what they did and that they were able to teach people to dance.
They even had a special gift certificate all ready for Valentine’s Day. It seems I’m not the only dude who’s ever thought of ballroom dancing lessons as a gift for his girlfriend come February 14.