Quirky/romantic way to surprise my girl?
July 18, 2010 8:33 PM   Subscribe

When my girl returns from a 6 week trip, I want to do something cool and quirky and romantic for her as a surprise. Nothing necessarily big and tacky or public and embarrassing. Any ideas? She doesn't like "objects" too much -- she's more of a road trip, beach night, indie-mix-cd kind of girl. We write a lot, so I don't want to do anything like that. I made her a CD for the flight there, so not that either. It could be a gift, or an experience. We do not live together. It doesn't have to be something immediately when she comes back. I just wanted to do something sweet that was a little more out of the ordinary for us.

I did read previous posts about this. They seem to be either ridiculous productions, or meet-me-at-the-airport comfort things.

It could be a bigger thing, or a smaller thing, but the key is that it is a little surprising, and will make her smile or laugh.

Any ideas?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Design a treasure hunt for her with something cool at the end (tickets somewhere, a nice bottle of wine, etc.) The treasure hunt can be as involved as you want. You can also incorporate several gifts into it ... say, write her a love letter that also contains a riddle or clue ... if she likes art, the subject matter of the art can be a clue to where she can find the next clue.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:45 PM on July 18, 2010

Buy her some groceries.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:49 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

Having just recently returned from a trip of similar length, I think what I would have most wanted* was something relaxing and homey. Not another trip, or some big production. But maybe, like, a return to a place we both love. A picnic in my favorite park. Tickets to see a band I like at an interesting local venue. A small present that represents a shared joke.

*poignant answer alert: the day after I got back from said trip, within hours of first seeing me, my long term serious boyfriend broke up with me. So what I wanted was the above, and what I got was "fuck off no happy comfy homecoming for you and btw it's over". Take all of this as you will.
posted by Sara C. at 8:51 PM on July 18, 2010

Design a perfect night at home for the both of you. Make a special meal or order in takeout from her favorite spot. Pull a bunch of blankets and pillows into the living room, set the mood, and open a bottle of wine. Let her tell you about the trip, and when she's tired pop in a movie and give her a backrub.

If you want to go a bit bigger, plan a Welcome Home party for her. Invite her friends, meet at a local bar and borrow/rent a digital projector so she can show some of her photos (assuming she went someplace photogenic).
posted by cior at 8:56 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Give her a small container with 42 pebbles, or seashells, or jellybeans (adjust the number as necessary to correspond with the number of days she's been gone). Or it could be that many flowers or popsicles . . . you get the drift. It's about counting the days until she returned.
posted by Anitanola at 9:00 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Take in dinner from her favorite restaurant. Rub her feet.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:01 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Someone asked a few weeks ago what to do for a returning sweetheart and there were many great answers. I can't find the post now so I'll wing it from what resonated most.

In every way you can think of observe, almost ritualize, the process of coming home. Meet her at the airport with her favorite snacks and chilled drinks, a new photo of her pet if there is one, a favorite blanket and playlist for the last leg home...whatever will have meaning for her. Pay careful attention to the mundane physical comforts she's been away from.

The other poster's lady was his wife so it made sense for him to have her favorite meal waiting, etc. My man would make sure I had plenty of my favorite bubble bath, the house was clean and inviting, etc., so if you have access you might consider some options there. No balloons or flowers, nothing to detract from the sense that she is finally home. If you know she'll want to jump online right away let her know that you know that and give her the space. Don't forget to let her know how glad you are that she's with you again in body as well as in spirit.
posted by Mertonian at 9:03 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm sorta with Mertonian with this. She'll be tired, and not interested in a big adventure or night out. Clean the house. Do the laundry. Have dinner ready to go in 15-20 minutes. Most of all, give her time to de-compress, and to talk to you about how things went. Listen. Once she's done venting, maybe offer a bath (in the freshly cleaned tub). Otherwise, let her decide how she'd like for things to run.
posted by Gilbert at 9:45 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

Sorry, missed the part where you said you didn't live together. Basic advice still holds, though; keep it very low-key, because she's tired. Give her flowers. Let her talk. Offer her a good, strong drink. Watch her favorite mindless television show together, and let her fall asleep in your arms.
posted by Gilbert at 9:56 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

pack an elaborate picnic lunch (or dinner if she's getting home late) (and don't neglect yummy boozy drinks!) and give her the choice of where to eat it - in a park, while watching a dvd, or naked in bed
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:30 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

rent her favorite movies, call in some yummy comfort food takeout or cook her something at your house. buy her flowers. tell her you missed her and feed her chocolate. kisses. snuggles. foot massages.
posted by wild like kudzu at 10:49 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

or alternatively take her to the planetarium or find a great spot to watch the sunset if you weren't going to do this immediately. horseback riding? a hike? an adventure to a little town nearby that you know nothing about?
posted by wild like kudzu at 10:51 PM on July 18, 2010

When I was in this situation I tore her dress off with my teeth. Only time I've done that.
posted by rhizome at 1:02 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

Pack the greatest picnic basket that has ever been, with takeout, food you made yourself, or a combination of the two. Preferably food that can stay lukewarm a couple hours, since you'll have it in the car for a while. Include the best version of her favorite food that you can find - if she's into sweets, pick up a fantastic little cake; if she likes cheese, grab a variety of shmancy cheeses and bread and fruit, etc. You can take this to a park, your place, her place, or just chow down in the parking lot, depending on how she's feeling. (If you go this route, before the flight tell her you'll be getting food for her once she lands - when I travel, I assume I won't be eating for a really long time, so I sometimes fill up on yogurt raisins or whatever crap is at the airport.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:29 AM on July 19, 2010

Plan a picnic, for a weekend a little after she comes back.

Decorate the park.
posted by citands at 4:31 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

If her journey home has been a long one, I'd do a bunch of useful and low-key things for her at home. Buy her a few days worth of groceries, get a nice light dinner in, have some flowers, etc. Let her take the lead - she may want nothing more than to drink some smoothie, eat some toast, and go straight to bed.

I'm never ever ever in a romantic mood when I get back from long trips because I'm tired, filthy, jetlagged, exhausted, overwhelmed by impending deadlines that have been ignored whilst I've been away, need space/quiet after being squashed in an airplane, etc. I'm excited to be back (and will be even more excited to be back in the morning) but when i arrive I'm tired and cranky and want space to relax. I'm of the 'do some nice things to make me more comfortable and let me go to bed' camp.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, is quite firmly in the grand romantic gesture camp and inevitably is upset when I rebuff these advances because I'm tired and really really really just want to chill out and fall asleep. Perhaps I come across as ungrateful but I'm the kind of person who just is nowhere near in the mood after long journeys. If the two of you happen to be in these different camps, remember that welcoming her home is about what she wants, not what you imagine a perfect homecoming to be.

Ideally, what she wants and what you do for her will coincide. At the very least, ask her what she wants so that she can give you a vague idea and then you can plan quirky and fun things accordingly!
posted by lumiere at 6:38 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

how about little love notes saying things like "i love you" "i missed you" "i'm glad your home" etc hidden around the house in different places. taped on the backside of the milk container in the fridge, inside the medicine cabinet, inside a shoe, etc etc. the idea being that over the next couple of days or week or so, she finds them randomly.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:20 AM on July 19, 2010

i know you're not staying together but if she's going to stay at your place for the night within the first few days (or vice versa) then a nice bubble bath and a massage would probably go down very well.

Does she have anything that she considers true decadence? A particular chocolate, drink or dessert? If so, then a bit of that might make her feel a healthy bit of guilty pleasure (associated with you now = bonus).

Good job, by the way.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 7:29 AM on July 19, 2010

and to add to my picnic idea above, get a satin sheet in her favourite colour to spread on the grass/sofa/bed while you eat. It will feel very decadent, and then you let her keep the sheet for her bed as a reminder of the fun time you had.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:34 PM on July 19, 2010

I think the OP is more focused on things a little quirkier, or adventurous. Is she/you younger?

Doesn't sound like the champagne and silk sheets scenario.

I do agree that you can't try to do too much when she is first home -- she will be tired/cranky/overwhelmed.

I once made origami flowers in a little box for my girlfriend . Crumbled up around them were slips of colored paper with her favorite lyrics on them.
posted by antipode12 at 9:05 PM on July 19, 2010

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