Romance, thy name certainly is not Burt

Burt's Eye View

Does any span of the calendar crush more spirits than Valentine’s week?

Oh, sure, it’s meant to be a warm, fuzzy celebration filled with hearts, diamonds, balloons and roses.

But for guys like me — the clueless kind — it’s just another painful taunting of romantic shortcomings.

You know all those stories about thoughtful guys who spent months planning the perfect proposals? Rose petal-strewn walkways, violins and teddy bears holding hearts? Caribbean getaways, moonlight on the ocean, and dropping to one knee in the white sand? Or even flashing “Will you marry me?” in giant, dancing letters on the Jumbotron at a baseball game?

Yeah, that wasn’t me.

Like most normal guys, I’m dismal at planning romantic moments and making sweet gestures.

My proposal went like this:

One chilly evening in March, we chit-chatted about nothing in particular when this warm sensation whelmed up inside me. I blurted out, “Will you marry me?”

Terry buried her head and burst into tears. She claimed later it was in happiness, but I’ve always feared what really rolled through her mind was, “What? No candlelight dinner? No airplanes drawing hearts in the sky? No ring?”

A few days later, I dropped to one knee on kitchen linoleum and, with her mother as a witness, slid a Ring Pop on Terry’s finger. Raspberry flavored, I believe. I’d bought it 20 minutes earlier at Circle K. For full price, too.

To this day, I still don’t know why Terry married me. I am romance impaired.

I don’t forget gooey days like our anniversary (Oct. 18) or Valentine’s (Feb. 14), but I don’t really know what to do with them, either. I grab a pot of posies and two Mounds bars at the grocery store. She never shares the candy, but she does profess her love for me, which almost always is better than dark chocolate and coconut.

The befuddling thing is that sometimes I accidentally commit acts that are more loving than candy and flowers. I’m just never sure what.

Once, when I headed outside to change a tire, Terry asked me to teach her. So I let her jack up the car, spin the lug wrench and swap out wheels. Hubcaps, star patterns, torque — pretty dull and boring stuff, really. She threw grimey arms around my neck and sobbed, “No one’s ever thought I was important enough to spend that kind of time showing me how.”

I cried, too, when Dad taught me how to change tires, but it was because I was missing cartoons on TV. But if Terry considered it romantic… “You can change the oil on Saturday,” I said.

Then there was the time that I got bored when Terry worked late, so I cooked supper and washed the dishes. She sniffed the spices wafting in the air, ran her fingers through the soapsuds on my arms, and clutched me in the most awesome hug ever. And the kisses…

“What did I do?” I gasped a few minutes later.

“My mom hung a sign in the kitchen that read, ‘No man was ever shot by his wife while he was washing dishes.'”

“Yeah, you’ve told me that, but what did I do?”

She winked but never said. I’m still trying to figure it out. In the meantime, it’s back to the grocery store for a pot of posies and a couple of candy bars. Wednesday’s coming.

— Ask the romantic wonder for tips at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.

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