I can cook and I’m a hopeless romantic. These two things don’t always mesh. Sometimes they wind up clashing, but provide an amazing story.

It was 9th grade and, like most boys, I had a huge crush on a girl. We had attended our Winterball dance together, and I was sure I could make her my girlfriend.

Like most boys, I couldn’t work up the nerves to actually ask her to be my girlfriend.

I knew I could win her heart through my only skill: cooking.

When I say cooking, I mean making meals like steak, pasta, or pizza. My confidence in my skills boiled over to baking.

Needless to say….I got burnt.

I decided to follow my mother’s immaculate chocolate chip cookie recipe. The recipe used pudding in lieu of certain ingredients making the baked good chewy and delicious. I just can’t get myself to eat a crispy cookie, so I knew I could get the girl with this recipe.

I bought all the ingredients with the little money I had. I bought a translucent heart shaped tray, because nothing says love like "see through" Tupperware. I used some of my mom’s ribbons and paper to wrap the cookies for delivery. The one detail I skipped was actually making sure the cookies were edible.

They weren’t.

I have never been prouder in my life. I baked the cookies, I bought the Tupperware, I even attempted to tie a bow (thanks mom). I walked into school on Valentine’s Day with chest puffed out and my hair actually combed.

I met my hopeful girlfriend at her locker between periods, and delivered the goods. I walked way confident I had finally won her over.

A few periods one of her friends told me the cookies were overdone, and basically tasted like chalk.

My heart was broken.

I took the loss in stride and continued through high school trying to put the memory behind men. Luckily, my hopeful Valentine kept contact through those high school years and became extremely close.

We lost touch for about 9 years, as a lot of use do with our high school friends. Fortunately, one-night last year she texted me. After months of planning this past weekend we met for drinks and appetizers at a local restaurant. The night went perfectly and I know I had an amazing amount of fun. It’s like time never passed.

So.

If you learn anything about Valentine’s Day surprises, it needs to be this this: Let someone else do the baking.
Beer helps too.