"Oh, I didn't know you trained for a marathon every other year!"
Or..."You used to bake pies for a living?? Fantastic!!"
Or even, "You're a bar trivia host? That sounds like fun!"
(Uh…for example. But really, put your cell phones away until you turn in your answer. It's not fair to the others.)
There are other kinds of surprising details you learn about someone's life — things you learn after you decide you like them, mind you — that are considerably NOT fun.
Which is sad, because I normally love surprise parties.
Paul, this guy my friend Jackie hooked up with for about two months, decided to take the element of surprise to an infuriating level.
He and Jackie met at a summer music festival (hippies) where they clicked immediately and entertained a long-distance fling after discovering they lived just one state away from each other and it was easily drivable.
Why not? Jackie thought.
She was single, couldn't seem to meet anybody great where she lived and he was attractive, confident and worked with his hands (insert voice of Tim Allen HO HO HO!!!)
They met three times in two months after their initial meeting where they bonded over indie rock bands.
They went on a mountain hike/camping trip together where they snuggled in the same tent and counted the stars (no, really…swoon).
Another time, Jackie and Paul met for an all-day canoeing excursion and talked about their mutual love for the outdoors and adventure and how he wanted to build a cabin and go there every summer blah blah blah.
Jackie even went to Paul's house one weekend, a very cool house in the woods and they had a relaxing weekend laying on the couch drinking wine...naked.
When she returned back to her home state, she was super giddy about Paul, Paul the hot lumberjack— Paul Bunyon— who held her close in his big, strong arms.
She texted him cute things throughout the week as she always did, but she noticed he wasn't responding to her calls and texts.
They had ended on perfectly good terms, with a lingering goodbye, even plans to go to another music festival in the fall. He even said he'd pay her ticket to go with him.
Jackie knew that it was a silly dream to think that this long-distance relationship could work, but she liked him.
She even thought that it might be fun to move to the mountains for awhile.
But now, she found herself staring at her phone, frowning. What was going on?? It had been a week and nothing from him.
Did he get jammed under a log???
Was he off somewhere with no cell phone service?
TWO weeks after their last long weekend at his house, Jackie was concerned. And pissed. So she sent him a text message.
"Hey, I don't know what's going on with you but I notice that you're not responding or calling me back," she wrote.
That's when Paul replied...with a surprise.
"Yea, I'm busy with my wife," he wrote.
That was the whole text: "Busy with my wife."
No explanation, no additional information.
Jackie almost wrote back WHAT WIFE?? WHO IS THIS?? and then she almost threw her phone out the window.
WHERE WAS HIS WIFE WHEN SHE SPENT THE WHOLE WEEKEND AT HIS HOUSE???
Paul never ever mentioned a wife, or an ex-wife, or any "ex" in the hours they had spent together.
I guess he was too busy surprising her with the good details of his life, like how he knows how to build cabins and gig for flounder.
It was infuriating.
Two weeks ago, he was about to spend hundreds of dollars on her to go with him to a festival.
And today, he has a WIFE???
WORST surprise party ever.
I suddenly feel like throwing a cake in someone's face.