Man doesn't break a sweat buying lingerie for his wife

"I had an older gentleman in here once," Fram said, laughing, "and he had cut all the tags out of his wife's lingerie. He hands me the tags and [they] have the brands, the sizes, everything!"

To me, this seemed like a perfectly sensible way to shop for a woman's undergarments, but I kept silent.

Next, Fram showed Gillman a red and black Valentine's Day bra from Felina with matching thong. It was a show-stopper, if you like that sort of thing. But it looked like it was made with Velcro or something, and Gillman nixed it immediately by saying: "It doesn't look comfortable."

This seemed as good a time as any to bring up the Miss Valvoline Factor.

"When do you know if lingerie is too ... much?" I asked Gillman and Fram. "You don't want to buy your wife something that looks like it belongs on a Miss Valvoline poster."

"I think you gotta know your wife," Gillman said.

"Once it becomes your wife and the mother of your kids, you kind of think of it differently than if it was your girlfriend," Fram said.

And yet ... there's always room for playfulness in a marriage, is there not? Conveniently, we had just arrived at a display that included chocolate body paint.

My feet began to sweat as I read the directions. (1. Light candles. 2. Open jar. 3. Offer paint brush. 4. Announce softly: "Dessert's on me.") But Gillman was immediately intrigued.

"Look," he said, "it's got this neat little brush. Oh, I love this! It's very -"

"Erotic," Fram said helpfully.

"Oh, yeah, this'll work," said Gillman.

A full hour after he first walked in the store, Ken Gillman was at the checkout counter, handing over his credit card.

He was going with the Cosabella chemise, the pink Nick & Nora PJs, the chocolate body-paint and a neat-looking book called "The Story of the Heart" by a local artist-and-writer team.

The bill came to $247.75. Gillman never blinked. Some guys, when they make up for a Super Bowl trip, they really make up for it.

I worried about this column spoiling the surprise for his wife on Valentine's Day. But he said that wouldn't be a problem, because his wife doesn't read the paper.

Ouch. And we had gotten along so well, too.