Do you love Happy Endings?

I write romance. And it’s a given that romances need to end with the couple looking forward to a happy-ever-after ending. You’ll see it shortened to HEA on a lot of webpages and loops. But you’ll also hear it referred to as a happy ending. Especially on shows like Once Upon A Time.


So when I went down to New Orleans for the RT Convention back in May, I wandered around the French Quarter and was excited to find a T-shirt proclaiming “I <3 Happy Endings” (that’s a photo of the actual shirt below) I picked it up and showed it to my friends, saying, “Isn’t this perfect for the conference?”


They nodded and said “Yes it is.” So I bought two shirts, intending to keep one for myself and give one away in a contest.

That night I’d arranged to meet some friends down at the bar so I hurried back to my room, switched my shirt out for the T-shirt and proudly hurried downstairs. I met up with my friends, and about an hour after we’d been sitting talking, one of them giggled (ever heard the minions’ giggle? That’s what I have as my ringtone for her when she texts me, because she sounds just like that when she laughs.)  She then proceeded to tell me that apparently Happy Endings has another meaning. Involving a…service some not-really-masseuses provide for their customer instead of massages.


O. M. G.

Apparently everyone else at the table knew of the alternate meaning. Except me.

I’m a romance writer, an erotic romance writer. How had I never heard of that expression meaning anything else except a romance happy-ever-after ending? It was a face/palm and head/desk moment all rolled into one. When reminded of that night, Nikki still giggles and says “I still remember your face!” Because I’m pretty sure I did that stereotypical jaw-drop.

Still not sure if they were trying to pull my leg, I texted my husband. “Do you know what a Happy Ending is?”

He replied “Yup. And if you’ve having one or giving one, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.” Or words to that effect. Now before you get worried that he’s ticked off with me or suspicious, DH has got the driest sense of humor  to him. He’s really quiet and introverted but when he does speak, and he makes a joke, it’s doubly funny. I’ve been with him on trips when he’s met business people for the first time, or where they’ve only talked with him over the phone and then they get to know him in person, they’ll “get” his sense of humor. Seriously, he cracks me up all the time.

Except I didn’t find it particularly funny that night. (I do now. Sort of.) I ended up spending the rest of the night with my sweater pulled over the graphic. Later that night I checked with Amy, asking her if she knew of the darker meaning of Happy Endings. Her eyes widened and her mouth formed a silent Oh before she nodded and slowly admitted, (again, I’m paraphrasing) “I’m so sorry. I didn’t think about it at the store though or I would have warned you.” Shannon had the same reaction. (I love her enough that I named a character in my book for her–no worries.)

But me? Nope. I had no idea that it meant … “that”.

Now I understand why my husband snorted whenever the characters on Once Upon A Time talk about finding their Happy Ending. And it means now I can’t watch it without giggling like a minion every time I hear it. When I’m not hunching down in my chair, wishing I’d known before I worn it. (and I still hunt pictures of the RT bar to see if anyone snapped of pic of me wearing it.)

I still have the shirts, and after a few months I allowed myself to wear one as a night shirt. But I’m never ever wearing it out of the house again.

And it’s become fodder for a book. Yes, it’s one of the few times where I have actually written myself into a story. If you’ve read my latest story, Feeding the Flames, I’m Mrs. Buckland, the original owner of the shirt Shannon wears in one of the early scenes. I have to admit, I don’t like being a character in my own books.

As for the extra shirt? Maybe I’ll have a contest and give it away one day.