I was in my office ordering a trip to the day spa for my wife for Mother’s Day. I knew where she liked to go. Well, I didn’t know the name of the place, but I knew about where it was. I also didn’t know what she usually got when she went there, but I did know that she came back happy, looking sexy. So I used Google, and found the number, and soon was on the phone with a very young sounding woman — me, a father of three in his mid-30s asking what must have been obviously stupid questions, and her attempting not to laugh at me.
My plan was to surprise Mel the Saturday before. I was going to set up a time for her favorite services at her favorite day spa. Then I was going to tell her, “Go, have fun. I’ll watch the kids. Don’t worry about a thing. I got this.” Then afterward, we’d get dinner. I even discussed this plan with one of my co-workers, and she suggested I contact her husband and drop a few hints on her behalf.
All of it made me feel confident until I was on the phone asking things like, “What is a facial?” and “How does a pedicure work?” and “Do they wax the whole face? Or just the eyebrows?” This is where the giggling came in. And as sad as this all sounds, they were legit questions. I had no idea what any of those things entailed. And you know what, the woman on the phone may have been laughing because I was being a cute mid-30s husband trying to do something nice for his wife, but it didn’t feel that way. In fact, I could feel my face grow red as we spoke. Not with anger or frustration, but with embarrassment.
This is not to say is that I regret tracking down my wife’s favorite day spa and then figuring out what she likes. I don’t regret that at all. What I want to point out is that I was pretty far out of my comfort zone in all this. I mean, I’ve never had a facial or a pedicure. I’ve never had my eyebrows waxed (although I probably should. They look like a pair of those hairy caterpillars). I cut my own hair — I have for years. So although my questions were probably stupid to any woman, I wanted to make sure that Mel got what she wanted. I wanted to have an idea of how long she’d be gone so I could make appropriately timed dinner reservations. So I had to suck it up and ask.
A few moments into the call, as I had my forehead in my palms, elbows on the desk, listening to a description of what is involved in a facial, I could feel someone watching. I turned around in my desk chair to find the office intern smiling at me, her phone up. She’s in her early 20s, very bright and very hard-working. We share an office. I put up my hand and told her to stop, but it was too late. She’d already shared it on Snapchat.
And I will admit, looking back, the whole situation is pretty comical. And some might even find it sweet. But that’s not the point of this essay. What I want to point out is that I’ve been married for 13 years. I love the hell out of my wife, and I will do anything for her. I want her to be happy, and I want her to feel appreciated. I don’t want to be one of those husbands who forgets birthdays or Mother’s Day, because I think those things are important. Mel is a pretty amazing mother, and she deserves something special on Mother’s Day. But all of that sometimes wraps up into situations like this, where I am trying so hard to do the right thing, and yet feel completely embarrassed and awkward during the process.
I’m certainly not saying that you should completely kiss your husband’s ass every time he steps out of his comfort zone for you. That is not how I feel.
What I am saying is that sometimes it takes a lot of determination and a little embarrassment to order you a trip to the day spa or anything along those lines. Behind that well-thought-out gift, there might just be a backstory of your husband sitting on the phone with someone who is trying very hard not to laugh at his stupid questions, all the while, behind him is a young 20-something snapping the whole ordeal, and yet he pressed on. He didn’t hang up. He didn’t just call it a day and give you cash and a wink. He took out his man card, placed it on the sidelines, and did what he knew you deserved because you mean that much to him.
There is a lot of love in that. I think there is this misunderstanding that the actions of a man in love should be some dramatic heroic thing, like slaying a dragon or kicking someone’s ass because they dissed your girl. But the reality of a man’s love, at least from my perspective as a mid-30s family man, is that it actually looks like a guy in leather work boots standing awkwardly at a florist shop picking up flowers for the woman he loves, or some dude fresh from the office placing feminine hygiene products on the store counter, his face a little red, but determined.
And this isn’t to say that women don’t step out of their comfort zones all the time for the men they love. They totally do. But honestly, these moments of dedication by a loving husband aren’t always talked about. They aren’t always reflected on when the gift is given. And part of me feels that they should be. The second I got off the phone with that day spa, I walked out of my office, went down the hall, down the stairs, and stood outside to calm down. I took a deep breath and had to wait until all those awkward embarrassing feelings went away. Then, once my head was cleared, I thought about my wife and how much she was going to love my surprise and realized that she was 100% worth it. Even if everyone was laughing at me on freaking Snapchat.