The worst Valentine’s Day gift ever

February 15, 2017



*A version of this story is included in my book, The Majorettes are Back in Town.


This year, my husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day like a boring mom and dad, instead of dreamy eyed lovers. Earlier in the day, our son had his wisdom teeth extracted, so we spent the evening dishing out ice cream and keeping him off social media. There’s nothing worse than a woosy – tipsy teen who thinks it’s a good idea to post updates on Instagram.

But no matter how mundane the celebration, it was still better than the year I gave my husband the absolute worst Valentine’s Day gift ever.

After a few unusually stressful months of crazy schedules, I realized Valentine’s Day was approaching and decided to surprise my husband with something we could both enjoy. See what I did there? I played the game of getting a gift for “him,” and making sure it was something I’d like too.

A local resort had just opened a beautiful spa that was advertising a special “Valentine’s Day Romantic Couples Massage.” Complete with champagne, flowers and chocolate, we could relax and enjoy a soothing massage together. No Nerf gun wars, barking dogs or dirty kitchens — just the two of us on a self-indulgent, relaxing date. What could go wrong?

I made the reservation, and surprised Bob with the news. Less than enthused, he complained, “That sounds weird. I don’t want to go.” I told him, “We deserve to be pampered and I promise, you’ll love it!”


I finally convinced him (the non-refundable deposit worked in my favor), and off we went for our romantic adventure.

With the lights low, and soothing sounds of the rainforest coming from the Bose speaker, we slipped onto the tables, just a few feet from each other, and waited. Ahh . . . I could already feel the stress melting away. The door opened and a nice lady in her mid 50’s introduced herself and said she’d be giving me my massage. As she lit a fabulous smelling candle, the door opened again and Bob’s masseuse arrived.

With a melodic foreign accent, she said, “Hello, I’m Katarina and I’ll be your masseuse.” Katarina was 6 feet tall, blonde, and had just defected from the Swedish Bikini Team. The super-girl couldn’t have been a day over 25 and smelled like coconuts.

I didn’t understand how she possibly could have sufficient hand-coordination to give a proper massage, since she obviously had trouble buttoning her blouse.

My husband looked over at me with a big smile and said, “You were so right. I’m going to love this. I should listen to you more often.”

My eyes popped wide open and there was absolutely no relaxing on my side of the room. “Wow, you are really tense,” commented my masseuse. But I could barely hear her from all the noise coming from the other side of the room. “MMM! AHHH! OH YES!”

As the two women turned to get more magic potions, lotions, or whatever it was that was supposed to make us happy, I whispered, “Dang it (then said his full baptism name), you stop that right now!”


“You know what I mean. Stop enjoying yourself so much!”

“But . . . I thought that’s what you wanted me to do!”

“You know exactly what I mean.”

My Dearest laid there on the table looking like a crayon in the August sun and smiled as Katarina (If that was even her real name) returned and slowly kneaded his shoulders. I thought I heard purring.

I was like a prairie dog whose head kept popping up to look around. What? Hey! Huh? The tension was thick, at least on my side of the room.

Never had I wanted a massage to end more than I did right then. “Time’s up? Oh, what a pity. Come on darling let’s get out of here.” Sounding like he had a mouth full of gravel, Bob said, “I don’t think I can ever move again I’m so relaxed. It’s like a drug, you know.”

“Well, people get arrested for doing drugs, and Jesus doesn’t look favorably on it either, so let’s get out of here.”

After that Valentine’s Day experience, taking care of a groggy teenager was downright romantic. 


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