I love Christmas shopping. Especially on that chaotic, sale-saturated day that strikes terror into the hearts of reluctant, turkey-filled shoppers everywhere, the biggest shopping day of the year, the day that finds sane people safely at home with their doors locked: Black Friday. Maybe it’s my long-buried predatory instincts coming to the fore, but my heart leaps to the thrill of the hunt, the pulse-pounding race to the quarry, and the final deadly pounce on the very last 50% off Furby in town, seconds ahead of the grim-looking soccer mom with her rock hard jaw and her aggressive shopping cart maneuvers. It’s all I can do at such a moment to keep from lifting my voice in a primal scream of triumph and dancing wildly down the toy aisle while waving the plunder over my head in an unconscious mimicry of my mammoth-hunting forbears. Instead, with a satisfied flourish, I check one more name off of my Christmas shopping list and strike out in search of the next elusive prize.
I’m not above a little fawning myself.
Without being so artless as to simply tell Paul what I wanted (where’s the fun in that?), I launched a campaign designed to leave him in no doubt of my appreciation for the lovely bauble.
“Oooh!” I cooed at the Kay Jeweler’s commercial, “Don’t you think it’s so romantic when she puts her hand in his jacket pocket to keep warm and finds that jewelry box? I always get a little teary-eyed at that part… Could you hand me a kleenex, honey?” As his gaze shifted to the TV screen, I stifled a grin of triumph. This was almost too easy.
“Hmph! What do they mean, ‘Every kiss begins with Kay?’ That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard! Like you’re not going to kiss me if I don’t give you diamonds? Boy, that’s messed up, isn’t it?”
Time for Plan B.
I left jewelry flyers scattered around the apartment with the picture of the pendant circled in black Sharpie, occasionally scribbling “I LOVE this!” in the margin for good measure. I coached all my girlfriends on what to say in case Paul asked any of them for gift ideas. I lingered over the jewelry counters on our trips to the mall, pointing out similar pieces with what I hoped was a sweetly wistful longing. I waxed poetic about how timeless and meaningful jewelry becomes when it is bestowed upon you by the man you love.
In a word, I was shameless.
But all to no avail. Paul seemed oblivious to my wiles, considerable as I like to think they are. Not a word was said, and, as Christmas approached, I prepared myself to love whatever quirky, surprising thing his heart had conjured up to give to mine.
I’m sure you know what’s coming.
Yes, after all the other gifts were lying on their beds of shed wrapping paper and the stockings had been turned inside out, Paul produced, like magic, a small black jewelry box. Inside was the beautiful three-diamond pendant of my dreams.
I screamed. I leapt like a gazelle. I did an impromptu “It’s Just What I Wanted” dance around the living room. I hugged Paul fiercely and fawned over him as no woman has fawned before.
Then, as I held him tight, he leaned in close and whispered in my ear those five little words that let me know that I was fooling exactly nobody:
“Every kiss begins with Kay.”