THERE are some people who are such master players at the romance game that things move like a ballet dancer's finest recital — smooth, well-timed and with superb results. There are others, also, who are masters of bungling, who, try as they might, can never achieve any decent results without first experiencing great hardship or mishaps.
When we make romantic plans we usually have the end result in mind — the scenes we see in movies or read about in books. But for the people below, the best laid plans went awry, even though they carefully strategised.
Donte, 46, bachelor & businessman:
This was Valentine's Day a few years ago. I decided to make my girl's favourite meal — chicken parmesan — because she wouldn't stop yapping about it whenever she saw it on TV. I'm more of an oxtail man myself, but love can make you fool-fool, so I Googled the ingredients and went shopping. I should have switched to another dish when I saw the price of parmesan cheese, but mom never raised no quitter so I figured I could adjust certain things — because cheese is cheese, right?
Anyway, there was no point in spending twice as much for chicken breasts or buying tomato sauce that would never be used again, so I improvised and congratulated myself on the savings. By the way, did you know that local sliced cheese doesn't melt? But I digress.
Even with all those challenges the food looked edible enough when it came out of the oven, save for the strange case of the unmelted cheese and the cheap ketchup taste that I couldn't get rid of with spices. But I realised that day that you can't please women. She was disappointed even though I tried to explain that it was the thought that counted. She said it tasted nothing like she'd imagined, and worst of all, she broke off a part of her retainer when she bit down on what she thought was boneless chicken breast (I'd substituted with rib), and got a chunk of bone instead.
Roy, 33, break-out artiste, single:
Last year this little lady I checked for was finally giving me the green light so I decided to give her the experience of a lifetime. She is a romance movie junkie and she said she always wanted to go horseback riding, but well, I live in Nine Miles and don't have access to any horse or any animal like that, so I linked my bredrin who has a bike and I said I'd just do a yard style version of her ideal date. I paid $1,000 to rent the bike for the night and planned our evening. The girl was a bit hesitant at first, and when she heard my plans she said she never do her hair and nails for this, but I promised her that like the Lord, this was just the beginning of all the plans I had in store for her, and I guess she liked my vibe.
We headed off on Palisadoes road, and she grabbed on to me like Mary held Bash in Reign. The wind was in her hair, I was humming Motorcycle Drive By and all was going well, but as we slowed down to circle the airport roundabout I heard shrieking. I pulled over as quickly as I could, only for her to curse me out, saying she had lost the helmet and her wig along the way and had tried to tell me, but I was singing “some weird-ass song” and couldn't hear her. We searched, but we couldn't find them, and we drove back with her in her stocking cap, still cussing at me. I don't know why she blocked me after that because I didn't even laugh at her for long, and it's a girl I still rate. So Amelia, Empress, if you're reading this, ain't no hard feelings here, baby. I'd still give you a link even though you don't have good taste in music!
Shellian, 27, customs officer:
I had just moved to Kingston and didn't know anyone, so my roommate insisted that I make friends and encouraged me to meet her friend from UTech who was just as quiet as me and liked the same things. I agreed to dinner and I didn't mind when he suggested a fast food place because I was on a budget too. I entered the restaurant and went 'round the side where he said he was sitting, only to be greeted by this dude and his three year old. He said he hoped I didn't mind, as he had to make sure the baby liked me too. But if that wasn't bad enough, he stayed on his phone the whole time dealing with clients while I had to feed, entertain and change the little boy when he pooped in his diapers because he still wasn't potty trained and his daddy was conducting business on the phone for the whole date. We ghosted each other after that.
Alaina, 32, client specialist:
The date itself was OK — it was the behaviour of my neighbour that made it bizarre. So I lived in a tenement yard situation and would occasionally gossip with my neighbour who lived at the back of the yard. She had to pass by my windows to get to the front yard, and my windows were always open because the place was mad hot. Sometimes she would pass by and stop at the open window to chat. Well anyway, this was Valentine's night and my new boyfriend had got some food, candles and wine and we settled down in front of the TV to just eat and have some quiet time. While the windows were open, the curtains were closed because I didn't want anyone to look in. But as we got into the movie I only heard a voice murmur, “Boy, this is so romantic, you guys are so in love”. I looked up to see my neighbour, chin in her hands, standing there looking at us longingly. It was the weirdest thing because I didn't know how long she had been there and what she had witnessed. My boyfriend nudged me and I nudged him back, but I didn't have the heart to tell her to leave. And would you believe that she stood there and watched us as we finished the food and the movie, and only left when he grabbed me and started making out in an effort to make her uncomfortable.