The Great Rose Petal Debacle

On our first date, there was, amongst other things, mention of a wedding. It was for an old friend of his from high school and would be held on the day after Christmas in New York. Since there are few greater joys in life than having an excuse to buy a new hat, I started dropping hints.

And then there we are a few weeks later, strolling together in Ten Thousand Villages on Walnut Street to pick out a wedding gift and I have a gorgeous new blush colored cloche from Macy’s waiting for me in my closet.


It is 6:00pm on the day after Christmas now; the ceremony is over, the “L” word has been spoken for the first between us, we’ve adopted official terms and he’s introducing me to his old classmates as his “girlfriend.” There is music playing, wine being poured and roses everywhere you look: in the centerpieces, in the bouquets and scattered— in petal form— across the escort card table in the lobby.

It is then that I have what I consider to be a brilliant idea.

“We should steal some of the rose petals,” I whisper to my newly minted boyfriend. “Bring them up to our hotel room, you know? Put them on the bed? It will be romantic.”

And because he is a romantic himself, and has (to my disaster-proceeding delight) a habit of going along with my schemes, he agrees and starts pocketing a handful of rose petals whenever anyone isn’t looking.

By the end of wedding, we have dozens. And, being a florist’s daughter, I know that they’re not going to do anything with the centerpieces after the reception so as the waiters collect our glasses, I pull out a stem or two that no one will notice.

We head up to the room and empty our pockets. The bed, in all of its beautiful white linen glory, is now covered in a sea of red rose petals.

I would like to say, in my defense, that this is a perfectly normal thing to do, as evidenced in just about every romantic comedy ever made. Also? If you look up the websites of fancy hotels? And click through to their honeymoon suites? You’ll find exactly the same little scene that we’ve just set up. They encourage it. And even charge you extra for it. But we, brilliant spendthrifts that we are, have done it ourselves.


What they don’t tell you in the movies, or on the websites, is that red rose petals and white linens do not mix.

Oh no.

They stain.

And within half an hour of our return to the room, it looks as though three, possibly four, innocent victims have been bludgeoned to death on our bed.

I recoil in horror and shriek, “Oh my God! What if they charge your credit card for this???”

I have no idea what sort of security deposit a fancy hotel like this charges, but I can’t imagine it’s going to be small so I whip out my phone and start googling.

Some folks are saying hydrogen peroxide. Others are saying dish detergent. Bleach. Boiling water. Soak it in a bathtub for 24 hours.

I do a quick tally and decide that a combination of hydrogen peroxide and dish detergent seems like our best bet, but now we have to find a 24 hour drug store, and now we have to sneak our cleaning supplies back into the hotel, and don’t you know the entire bridal party has chosen this precise moment to step out of the lobby for a smoke?

“They’re going to see us,” he hisses.

“Just tell them we were getting snacks,” I reply.

“But there were snacks in the goodie bag.”

“Tell them condoms then.”

“I’m not telling them that.

“Fine. Just act normal and keep walking.  Don’t you know that most people are too self absorbed to notice what other people are doing?”

So we walk. We wave hello and hurry through the lobby and up the steps. No one stops us or asks us what’s in the bag.

Back in our room, we pull the duvet off the bed, get down on our hands and knees and start to scrub. We take turns mixing up the concoction in a glass from the minibar (one part hydrogen peroxide, one part Dawn, citrus scent) and convincing ourselves that someday we’ll laugh about this… someday.

And then, as if by the magic, the rose petal stains start to disappear. The duvet looks a bit yellow thanks to all the detergent but we figure that “urine” stains will look better in the eyes of the housekeeping staff than “blood” stains (and that both will look way better than the truth).

Next time?

Fake rose petals.

Fake rose petals…

8 Responses to “The Great Rose Petal Debacle”

  1. Doug

    Hats off to you for a fine exposé. Well, I guess it’s not actually an “exposé” but I have to try out the accent character map once in a while, and I still haven’t found a good recipe for cooking with rose petals. I’ve heard they’re eatable or at least “rose water” is. I wonder if Daffodils would have gone better with the yellow detergent — I wonder why Daffodils aren’t romantic. I guess someone could go to a secret valley nestled between unknown mountains and start a new culture where daffodils are required as a sacrament. Well, I guess detergent is cheaper.

  2. liveclarelesley

    I have NEVER thought about the red just getting everywhere. My roommate thought there was some horrific news I was reading, because I kept gasping while reading this! Thank you for sharing! I needed the laugh and the horror!
    We’re having a blog party this weekend if you would like to share!


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