Ahh Valentine’s Day… What a stupid holiday. (And before you start judging, I have had a Valentine every year on Valentine’s Day since I was 15- you know, since I have been all grown up and mature and shit.) Valentine’s Day sucks. I am not going to give you the standard, PC (I am not so PC, perhaps you have noticed?) of ‘people should love each other every day’ and ‘I don’t want flowers because Hallmarks says I should have them, I should get flowers just because’ or even ‘I don’t need a special day to tell my partner how much I love them because every day is Valentine’s Day at our house’ (I just threw up at this one.) I hate Valentine’s Day because the bar is too high- no matter what, you are going to lose. Someone is going to have a better day than you. Did you get a dozen roses? Suzy got two dozen. Did you go out to dinner at nice restaurant? Katie went to a nicer restaurant and the chef created a special menu just for her and her Valentine. Did you get engaged? Jen got a bigger diamond and a more elaborate proposal. I mean, really, why even bother?
I went to Nerinx Hall, an all girls Catholic high school. (Yes, we wore uniform plaid skirts. Yes, all the stereotypes are true- except for the one that we all danced around like Britney Spears in ‘Baby One More Time’. The Nerinx girls were much bigger fans of Mary Katherine Gallagher’s lunge with spirit fingers as a signature move). Valentine’s Day was something out of a Lifetime movie. Seriously, you would have to see it to believe it. Valentine’s Day became a study in the ‘have’s’ vs. the ‘have not’s’… a political ad could have been shot to graphically demonstrate whatever tax hike/tax cut was the flavor du jour. To accommodate the impending flower deliveries, several large tables from the cafeteria (the Nerinx girls called it the ‘cafe’) were moved to the front hallway/entrance of the school. The tables made that hallway look like a make shift dead rock star grave- minus the candles- but including the stuffed animals. As flowers were delivered during the day, the lucky recipient was announced over the PA system and told to come to the front office- it was the only time one wanted to go to the front office, and we wanted it oh so badly! (I had the same boyfriend all four years at Nerinx. And he never got it right. He was always too cheap to send actual roses from a florist. The first year, I did get roses. He hand delivered during his lunch break. Sounds sweet, except that he misspelled my name and so no one knew whose flowers they were for almost the entire day. On subsequent years, he visited the hospital gift shop next to his house for some lovely carnations -dropped off at the front office; he knew the drill by then-because “they don’t jack up the price on Valentine’s day”. Can you believe I let him slip away to marry my ex best friend/college roommate?!) The girls who received flowers (especially those who were surprised and had not expressly ordered their boyfriends to send flowers) were thrilled, and those who didn’t, well, weren’t. Every year I was there, and every year my youngest sister Laura was there the I Hate Boys Club was established. I was so glad the tradition had continued during her time at Nerinx, and I sincerely hope that it was alive and well this year. Members were easily spotted by their paper signs (I Hate Boys), had a really bad attitude, and went through the lunch line more than once for ice cream sandwiches and candy bars. Can’t you feel the love?
In college, I also had a boyfriend every year. And yet, this did not change my attitude about Valentine’s Day (possibly because he was such a jerk). My bestie at the time (see ex best friend, married ex boyfriend) didn’t have a boyfriend sophomore year. We decided to launch a full out attack on all the ‘loving happiness’ around us… by making t shirts. (We were sorority girls. We made t shirts for everything. We almost made a sheet sign and hung it from the sorority house, but decided that would be overkill. Such mature examples of self control we were.) The shirts proclaimed “Happy Fucking V-day” and had a red heart with a large black X through it. (I searched everywhere for the picture, and sadly, I cannot find it… My words here are not conveying the genius of the shirt.) We thought about licensing, but really, we weren’t in it for the money. And possibly, (probably) no one would have found them quite as funny as we did.
When I started dating my husband, my feelings surrounding Valentine’s Day were clear:- I-hate-it-it’s-stupid- whatever-and-please-for-goodness-sake-do-not waste-your-money-and-buy-me-some-overpriced-thing-just-because-you-are-supposed-to. Inevitably, the dreaded day rolls around, and true to my wishes he didn’t get me anything….not even a card. Around nine o’clock that night, I casually mentioned (loudly demanded) to know where my card was. He went ashen, then red. He told me he didn’t have a card for me; that I had said not to get me anything. He told me that I was changing the rules which was unfair; and how could he have possibly known the rules were going to change SO he wasn’t going to feel badly. I calmly explained (yeah right) that a card was in fact, NOTHING. We agreed to disagree… and the following year I got a funny card, a sweet card, and a card from the cat.
This year, Valentine’s Day came and went. My husband was on a trip on Valentine’s Day, so we couldn’t spend it together. (I’m sure it broke his heart almost as much as it did mine. However, I was able to bravely carry on. I assume he did too as I did not receive any hysterical, sobbing calls from him.) He totally came through for me though, and I had a card under my pillow waiting for me. So, my Valentine’s Day was great… I am sure yours was better.