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Of course I didn’t forget, sweetheart...

By Bill Hudgins


It’s February and, despite the lousy economy, men everywhere are sweating out Valentine’s Day. Around the world, we are asking ourselves the eternal question: What do women want?

My friend and ace gearjammer Rufus Sideswipe is no different. Actually, trucking guys have a harder time than most in picking out a romantic gift. Money and time are both tight, and a lot of malls frown on 18-wheelers in their parking lots.

However, over the course of three marriages, Rufus has learned a few things NOT to buy:

Candy: It’s not that women don’t like candy; it’s that they like to sneak it. Handing a gal a big box of chocolates is apt to be rewarded with a weak smile and a look that says “Is he trying to make me fat?” If you have to buy candy, buy a small box of something special.

Lingerie: Like most guys, Rufus has leafed through some of those lingerie store catalogs, and thought, “great gift.” But when he stopped at a mall to actually buy something, he broke out in a sweat and walked past the store six times before giving up in embarrassment. If you’re going to buy her something to sleep in, it shouldn’t be something that comes with a diagram for all the straps. Think – flannel.

Jewelry: Unlike our camo shirts and baseball caps, women buy jewelry to wear with something else. Unless she wears camo and baseball caps, you won’t come close to picking out something she will wear.

So what is a truckin’ guy supposed to do? Rufus spent weeks bringing up the topic wherever he stopped for a bite. Over time he came up with some inexpensive, even free, ideas (some of which will work year-round):

  • If you promised her the moon and stars, buddy, it’s time to deliver. For as little as $29, Name a Star ( will let you add your loved one’s name to the cosmos. This includes a map of the sky so you two can go out and snuggle while searching the heavens for her star.
  • Spiff up before you come home. Let’s face it – if you drive a truck, you’re going to get dirty. On Valentine’s Day at least, try to grab a shower and put on some clean clothes before you get home. If that’s not possible, dress up a bit before taking your best girl out for dinner.
  • Speaking of dinner: Your gal watches the pennies, so this year may not be the time to splurge on an expensive meal. But lots of restaurants – especially smaller ones – have twofer or discount coupons. That gives you a way to take her someplace different for a good meal without too much cash. A trucker’s schedule isn’t 9-to-5, so supper might be harder to arrange than lunch. Most spiffy restaurants charge far less for lunch than for supper, so that might be an economical alternative.
  • Massage her feet. You can do this while watching TV. Warning: Once you start, she will expect this. But believe Rufus and me, it makes up for a lot of being away.
  • Do one thing that’s been on her list for you to do. Whether it’s getting new air fresheners for the cab or fixing a squeaky door hinge, she will appreciate it. Even better is to do something she normally has to nag you about.
  • If you are savvy with computers, use your skills to make a custom CD or maybe a photo album for her, showing places you’ve been. This takes some forethought and planning, because you need to shoot the photos first.
  • Flowers: Even if it’s only a $5 single rose from a C-store, it’s hard to go wrong with flowers. Make her feel appreciated – every day, not just Feb. 14.  

The trucking life isn’t easy on relationships, and these days are some of the toughest we’ve seen in a long time. Like rolling up the miles, little daily gestures add up to the long haul. LL


Bill Hudgins can be reached at