Worst Valentine’s Gift EVER

Valentine's Day, valentine's candy, romanceWhen Dirk handed it to her, Joyce didn’t know whether to scream or cry.

“Happy Valentine’s,” he said, with a sweet smile on his face.

They’d only been dating two months, but both of them had felt a strong connection, a sense that this romance could lead to something more than kisses and cozy strolls along the Charles River.

But now, this: a soft warm fuzzy gray scarf. Joyce held it out with her index finger and thumb.

“It’ll keep you warm the rest of the winter,” Dirk said enthusiastically. scarf, winter clothers, Valentine's Day

“But I’m a vegetarian,” Joyce protested. “I don’t eat meat. I don’t wear fur.”

“It’s not ‘fur,’” he insisted. “It’s rabbit!”

Although Joyce knew their romance was over at that instant, she’d been raised well, so she threw the offensive present into her purse while reaching for her small wrapped box that had sunk to the bottom, as if it knew it was doomed, or that at the very least, that love was impossible between new age her and too aged him.

When they first met, Joyce struggled with the fact that Dirk was almost a decade older than she. After all, what’s age got to do with it, she had chuckled to herself, purposely misquoting Tina Turner. So Joyce ignored the small signs of age difference, like the fact that he still read newspapers in print, and that he called his neighbor “Mr. Brown,” instead of Ted.

She ignored Dirk’s shock on their third date when Joyce explained to him that she worked from home two days out of five (“but how do they know you’re really working?” he asked). He was more shocked when she invited him up to her bedroom that same third date. Joyce saw the distrust in his eyes, wondering if she was so forward with all the guys she dated.

Of course, she’d never tell him that she had waited one date longer than usual.

Unenthusiastically, Joyce now gave Dirk her Valentine’s offering, sure that she’d just wasted a perfect present on an imperfect man.

Expecting a surprised grin when he unwrapped it, instead Joyce received a doleful expression of distaste tinged with regret.

A grooming kit? his raised eyebrow seemed to ask. An eyebrow so overgrown, Joyce was sure he’d appreciate this practical as well as thoughtful present.

“Great for ear hair, too,” Joyce admitted.

tulips, flowers, Valentine's DayTen years later, Dirk and Joyce still laugh at their Valentine disappointments on that unromantic day.

They parted that evening with everything left unsaid, but the next morning, fiery red tulips waited at Joyce’s door. That evening, Dirk presented her with an engagement ring so big she had to replace all of her winter gloves that no longer fit over her diamonded finger.

At that moment, she decided that age and bad gifts had nothing to do with love, and answered YES.

And Dirk’s ear hair?

Joyce trims it the third Tuesday of every month.


123 thoughts on “Worst Valentine’s Gift EVER

    • I think so many people look for “perfect“ in a relationship, and really we are all imperfect beings. We need to love each other’s idiosyncrasies! Thanks so much for stopping by here, Ben. 💚


    • Despite Tina’s brilliant song, love DOES have everything to do with it. But I think in the end, that was the point of the song. 🙂 Best to you, my friend (I feel like I know you well, now that I’m almost finished with your wonderful memoir). xo

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  1. Great story you wrote here. Made me laugh out loud.

    Your “It’s not ‘fur,’” he insisted. “It’s rabbit!” line reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when the Greek aunt dismisses the WASP bridegroom-to-be’s vegetarian request with “Don’t worry, I’ll make lamb.”

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    • If candy is included in a holiday, there’s always lots of love, Diana. 🙂 I’m thinking Dirk learned his lesson early, and went for the chocolate marshmallow heart (no fur) for their second Valentine’s Day together. ❤

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  2. Haha. Very cute story. Back in the day, on my first date with my now husband, he took me to a fancy steakhouse, and I was a vegetarian. They sold breakfast, so I ordered an omelet. He thought I was nuts. We tell that story now laughing. Notice, I used the past tense for vegetarian. Happy Valentine’s Day. ❤

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  3. Love won out. This was heart rendering and I think a story that has been lived too many times to count. In the beginning and in the end the story shows that we each need to bend in some way for it just is not possible for every couple to be perfectly matched. Maybe it is possible but I think not- in the real world.

    A really nice valentine day story. And interesting too.

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    • Those who think a big expensive piece of jewelry (or clothing, or any kind of gift) means love are primed for disappointment, Balroop. Here’s to love with a capital L – based on friendship, accepting each other’s faults, and lots of laughter. 🙂 Happy ❤ Day to you.

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    • A MEDICINE CABINET? Now, see, that’s one of those things where truth is stranger than fiction, and you can’t make that stuff up! 😉 I’m so glad ‘she’ laughs about it now. Many hugs to that happily married delightful couple. xoxo


  4. Such a fun Valentines story Pam. Jim gave me a rabbit jacket early on and I had to return it. It shed worse than a cat… I hope your Valentine’s Day ends with lots of love and laughter, just like your story did.

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    • All we can say, Cheryl, is that “they mean well.” Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your special guy. Let’s you, me and Susan get together again when the snow thaws and the birds have returned, chirping in the dogwoods. ❤


  5. One theory is that you should marry someone you have a lot in common with. I thought that instead, Eugene and I would be complementary. Like Dirk and Joyce, we were different in many ways, the most obvious of which was that he was Chinese born in China and I’m a small town American girl. Vive le difference. It worked out for us. I was never bored.

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    • Ah, you know me too well, David. And it seems that the older I get, the more romantic I get. 🙂 You’re the one who inspired me to upload this song on my post this week. Huge hugs to you. xoxoxoxoxox


  6. Chuckling at this story, Pam! 😀 I think both of them could have used some imagination and thought on their first valentines gift. Oh no, grooming ear hair had me squirming!! I just love this song … great to be hear it again!

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  7. Well, that didn’t end how I expected! 🙂 Dead animal as a gift? Yeah, I’d have been out, but in all fairness, it was only a third date, and maybe, as you said, he was educable. But I’d only take that ring after some looooong discussions! Even so … cheers to love!

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    • I’m always amazed at couples who decide to be a couple quickly, like Dirk and Joyce. I’d say, a 50/50 chance that their gut feel is real. But then again, I see couples who wait and wait and wait before committing. And guess what? 50/50 chance they make it. 🙂 Here’s to the mystery of love. ❤


  8. Some people just don’t understand romance. Sometimes it’s not about what you give…it’s about why. We don’t make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day anymore. We may go out to a nice dinner but that’s about it. My sweet hubby will sometimes get me a card and flowers but if he doesn’t I don’t care because he does other things during the year that are sweet. It’s nice he doesn’t wait until he is supposed to.. cute story! 💕

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  9. At the beginning of the story, it had a tinge of the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tail spin that goes from bad to worse. But thankfully, the rabbit fur gift did not manage to torpedo a beautiful relationship in the making. Now just for the record, a grooming kit does not a valentine gift make! Her grooming kit trumps his rabbit fur gift. Mind you… she IS a vegetarian. This story is really well written, humorous and oh so clever. Ben is upset that you categorized print newspaper reading as an older man’s “thing”. He is rejecting that idea, hahaha.


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    • Oh, please tell Ben that the opinions here about old age versus new age are only from Joyce’s point of view. My guy and I are still print newspaper- readers, and we get our newspaper delivered every morning at our front door! (Hmmmm, maybe that does make us both old age people… ) 🧐😉


  10. What a funny and lovely story! I laughed out loud at “it’s not fur, it’s rabbit”! Reminds me of that scene in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where he’s offered lamb after declaring that he’s a vegetarian! 😁

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