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A Valentine’s Day to Remember, Not That Way


My wife is from a culture that was a generation behind America in social norms. Once she didn’t want me to take a picture of her in a bathing suit. It was a modest, one piece, suit. When our son was born my wife threw everything behind motherhood. I was not good at job transitions. For economic expedience we stopped giving each other gifts. Our economic situation improved but we learned we could do without such sentimentality. I would sometimes give her inexpensive, ok cheap, gifts. One time I bought a small bouquet in a supermarket on Valentine’s Day and the checker remarked; “That’s all you’re getting, you’re going to get divorced.” My wife finds such gifts silly and useless. You’re right, she’s right. One February they were selling Valentine’s Day gifts in the cafeteria where I worked. I was looking at one flower arrangement and the sales representative showed me the fake rose in the arrangement was really a pair of red panties. She lost the sale because such a gift would be inappropriate.[i]

[i] Such gifts remind me of the movie “Working Girl” where the main character’s boyfriend would always buy her clothing, as gifts, she couldn’t show to anyone else.

On Cheap Gifts

"Life is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates..."

— Cigarette Smoking Man - X-Files

The Invitation

It was around the turn of the century. My wife received an invitation from a friend for a women’s only get together on February 14th. She showed me the invitation and I sort of read it. What can I say? I’m a guy. From what I read it seemed it would be nice for her to attend this women’s only party. I figured since it was on St. Valentine’s Day the women would get together and “laugh at the day”.[i] It also seemed a good opportunity for her to network. I convinced her to attend with us both clueless as to what the party was about.

[i] The “King of the Hill” episode, “Peggy’s Turtle Song”, some women held a party on Mother’s Day so they could “laugh at the day.”

The Party

I drove my wife to the friend’s house. Our son was with us. I walked my wife to the door. The women shoed me away. I assumed it was the women playing their “women’s only” game. I took my son out to dinner thinking my wife was going to have some pleasant chit chat and exchange of information with her friends.

After dinner it was too soon to pick her up but impractical to go home. I drove to the friend’s cul-de-sac and waited in the car. With nothing else to do I really read the invitation. The invitation was to a “Passion Party”. I had recently heard something about “Passion Parties” on the radio. Apparently, “Passion Parties” were making the rounds in my area at the time.

The invitation explained how the guests would be shown romance accessories. After these items and clothing were shown and demonstrated the guests would be sent upstairs one at a time where they could buy this merchandise. The purchased items would be placed in a bag and the guest would take her “stash” downstairs. As I was reading the invitation, I realized I had made another mistake.

Meanwhile, my wife was embarrassed as revealing lingerie was being modeled and novelty items were shown and explained. She felt she shouldn’t be there but she couldn’t leave. When the sales representative showed a pair of handcuffs an older friend told my wife her husband brought a pair of handcuffs home once. The woman told my wife the handcuffs were not romance enhancing but romance encumbering. When it was my wife’s turn to go upstairs, she felt obligated to buy something since she owed our friend a favor. She bought a pair of scented candles.

She told me about her experience. I teased her about not leaving immediately. She eventually gave the candles away as a gift.

© 2019 Robert Sacchi

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