The trap has been set. But like a three-legged badger who has chewed his way out of this kind of mess before, I'm not biting.
Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Wifey's birthday is two days later. Shortly after that is a little get-away to a warmer climate. Because of that trip, she told me: "You don't have to get me anything for Valentine's Day or my birthday. Maybe a single flower or a card, but don't buy me any presents."
I pursed my lips and nodded my head, as I always do when she tells me something. But I am not stupid. It's not this cowboy's first rodeo.
That all sounds fine and good and fiscally prudent two days before, but when the big V Day hits and her friends are posting pictures of roses and balloons on Facebook and the other lady in the office gets a big stuffed teddy bear while she gets nothing, will the green monster of envy rear it's head? Yes. Will she have forgotten her previous words? Yes. Will the cold-shoulder emerge until the Florida sun finally thaws it? Yes.
I'm not risking it. I have a Plan B set aside in my doomsday bunker. A secret stash of gifts. Always, always, always, have a Plan B. Haugen's Golden Rule.
For you young'ns, never fall for the "you don't have to get me anything" line. It's a test early in your relationship. It's like an IQ test. They want to see how dumb or smart you are. If you fall for it, soon they'll be telling you they're going to "Walgreens" and come home smelling like Daiquris. Then it's "oh, my mother is so sweet, you'll just love it when she stays over." You'll be trapped and it's a trip through Dante's hell to get out of it.
Early in our marriage, wifey told me she wanted an exercise bike. So I bought her one for our anniversary. Rookie mistake. That one's been hanging around my neck for years. But that's more of an advanced lesson.
The first is: always buy her something. Birthday, Christmas, Anniversary, Fourth of July and for God's sake, yes, Valentine's Day. Even if you are flat broke and have to sell a kidney, get her something.
Trust me on this, from one bro to another. But don't ask me for a kidney. I'm down to my last one.