True Romance

With each passing year, the Valentines Day expectations around Mt. Otis get smaller and smaller. Mrs. Otis respects my disdain for the holiday. I humor her attempts to make it relevant. This year, we worked together. Instead of buying useless gifts for each other, we went out for a nice meal last Friday night, had some drinks, and came back home to watch “Snakes on a Plane.” You know, lovey stuff. I did get her one little gift that I couldn’t resist though, some personalisierte unterwsche, not very heartfelt but they gave us both a good laugh.

Part of the deal on spending a nice little sum on a meal and $3.99 for SoaP was that we wouldn’t buy gifts this year. In the past, I did a lot of the roses and other romantic crap. I gave her all of these special gifts even with gift-giving not being my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting anything in return. I would’ve been happy with photo boxers with her face on, but I don’t think it was really the gift of her choice. Mrs. Otis bought very thoughtful gifts (just two months off of Christmas, my level of thoughtfulness and creativity is usually still in the wane). And so, no gifts.

Last night, I was at my local Men’s Club. And by Men’s Club, I mean room full of boys (ages 17-70), thousands of wagering dollars, and a new cocktail waitress who obviously forgot to tell her breast augmentation expert when it was time to take a coffee break. In this room were discussions of true romance. One man–gold chained and overweight–spoke of divorce, or after a few drinks, the donkey shows he’d seen in the Far East. Other men would speak reverentially about their wives in between mad cussing fits, driven by poker tilt and general rage.

It was around 8pm when Stan walked in holding a red five gallon bucket. Stan is a genial guy, rarely swears, and acts a lot like that older uncle who always gives you a chocolate bar when you see him.

“Oh, jesus,” I muttered. I like Stan. I really do. But, this was a little much.

In the bucket rested about 20 dozen roses of varied colors.

“Just in case anybody forgot,” he said with a smile. Thirty-five people looked up and pretended to dismiss Stan’s entrepreneurial efforts. “Just $20 a dozen,” he said.

Stan is not a late-night guy, so I was surprised to see him stay past 1:30am. Even more surprising was the line that formed around him around 1:45am. He was selling and selling fast.

I couldn’t decide which was correct. Was this of a bunch of forgetful, unromantic, painfully inept guys? Or was I watching these usually tough men turn a little soft. Before I could figure out which, I was buying a dozen white roses and a little red balloon. Just because I thought they would make the wife smile.

I guess it was pretty clear. We may act like a bunch of tough guys who talk about Far East sex shows and try to wrap our head around the concept of double-D breasts on a 105 pound girl, but deep down, we’re romantics. Or something like romantics, anyway.

“Be sure you put them in water before morning,” Stan said.

Love comes in many forms…and sometimes it comes in a five gallon bucket.

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Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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  1. December 13, 2008

    […] True Romance […]

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