1. My Dorkiest Valentines Day Ever
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My Dorkiest Valentines Day Ever

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February 9, 2000

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation." Philippians 4:12

I have a confession to make: Several years ago I gave the all-time cheesiest Valentine's Day gift to my then-boyfriend. In defense I can only say it wasn't totally my fault. Mostly, maybe. But not totally.

It all started when a coworker asked what I was going to give Rob, my current flame. When I told her I'd bought him a pair of boxer shorts with glow-in-the-dark hearts on them, her eyebrows shot up in disapproving arches faster than you can say "faux pas." I tried to explain to her that Rob had told me he collects funny boxer shorts, that I was going for funny and not kinky, that boxers have more casual connotations for my generation, but this good Christian woman just kept repeating, "But it's underwear!" From her reaction I feared I was in danger of breaking the lesser-known eleventh commandment Thou shalt not give thy boyfriend anything resembling underwear for any reason whatsoever and decided to opt for a Plan B.

Unfortunately, it was already February 13 and I had an after-work commitment that tied me up until 9:00 pm. Panic was setting in by the time I drove to the only place open for shopping at that hour the grocery store. I was ashamed to be making what was no longer a thoughtful, romantic purchase at the eleventh hour until I realized I wasn't alone. Stuffed into the card aisle, the candy section, and the floral department were half the men in the greater Chicago area. Under other circumstances, this would've been a single woman's dream-come-true!

That's where I came up with the cheesiest gift in the history of Valentine's Day. I could almost feel Cupid wincing as I roamed from aisle to aisle gathering my gift of red food. Strawberries, spaghetti sauce and spaghetti, cherry Kool-Aid, strawberry Pop Tarts, picante sauce and chips, apples, even some beef jerky for his new puppy. What bachelor doesn't need and want more food, I reasoned all the while knowing this was one of my dorkiest moves yet. No wonder I'm still single, I thought as I headed for the check-out aisle.

The next day Valentine's Day Rob gave me a nice box of chocolates after he stole me away from work for lunch at a nice restaurant. With a sheepish grin I handed him the big red box containing my gift. When he tore it open and peered in at the odd assortment of edibles he said, "Cool!" with an enthusiastic smile. He actually liked it!

I sat there dumbfounded as he happily sank his teeth into one of the apples. Suddenly it occurred to me that he was just as happy with the chips and salsa as he would have been with a shirt or tie I would have spent six hours at the mall picking out. I guess love really is a mystery.

Remembering that incident has made the past several dateless Valentine's Days easier to take. Who needs all the stress and pressure of trying to figure out what to buy a significant other? My friends in my singles Bible study and I have found the perfect solution. We host an unValentine's Day party for all of us without romantic plans on the Day of Love. And what do I ask them all to bring? You guessed it red food!

Camerin Courtney

2003 Christianity Today. Used by permission.