I was a late bloomer, and didn't date much as a teenager. Finally at the beginning of my senior year I met a fellow and began seeing him on a fairly regular basis. He was nice enough, but he seemed to be getting serious way too fast. I tried not to encourage him, but I did like having a boyfriend.
As Christmas approached I was afraid he was going to give me an engagement ring for a present. He kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas. I’d always say, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” - the first line from a song that was popular at the time. I hoped fervently that this would convey to him that I wanted something other than a ring.
Two days before Christmas he brought over my present - a smallish square cardboard box wrapped in Christmas paper and tied brightly with a red ribbon. He put it under the tree and told me not to touch it, push on it, or try to figure out what it was. He made me promise that I wouldn’t open it until Christmas morning. Of course the minute he left the house I grabbed that box and started kneading it. I swore to God I could feel a ring box inside. I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. If it was, in fact, a ring, I knew I would have to accept it because I wasn’t brave enough to tell him I didn’t want it.
On Christmas Eve after he had gone home and I had gone to bed, I lay there thinking about that box. Unable to bear any longer the anxiety of not knowing for sure what my fate was, I crept out into the living room in the dark, snatched that box from under the tree and ran into the bathroom, sure he wouldn’t be spying on me from outside while I was in that room. I tore off the wrapping paper, pried open the box, pulled out all the paper stuffing around what I hoped was not a ring but seemed that it probably was going to be – and lo, there in a ring box were two false teeth, taken from a set of Halloween Dracula teeth.
Relief from all that anxiety swept me up and I began laughing hysterically. Everyone in the house heard me. One by one they tromped into the bathroom to see what was going on. I showed them the present, told them how worried I had been, and made them promise they wouldn’t tell my boyfriend that I had opened my present early. They kept my secret.
Dick and I continued to be a twosome throughout our senior year - and I remained ringless. For our senior prom and for a gift, he gave me the present above. I was sure by this time it wasn't a ring, and sure enough, it was a practical gift, for which I was very grateful. We grew apart as I headed off to college, but not a Christmas goes by that I don't hear that song played occasionally and I think fondly - and a little giddily - about that awful time when I though I was going to be engaged in spite of myself.