I spent my whole life wanting a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. In high school, I listened as name after name was called over the loudspeaker during fifth period announcements, and I wistfully watched girl after girl come out of the office with flowers, balloons, teddy bears and other delivered trinkets of affection. In college, I saw my friends come back from the dorm’s front desk with similar deliveries.
I imagined that one day, my love life would finally pan out that I would finally be dating a guy on this special day. I wanted to feel as special as those girls must have felt, but I’ve always known that it doesn’t take a gift to know, it IS the thought that counts.
But there were no thoughts of me on My Worst Valentine’s Day Ever, which also happened to be my first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend. It took until I was 22 for that love-life cycle to finally come around. I was dating R, and those of you who have read about him before (perhaps here or here or here) know that you’re in for another installment of “Why the Hell Didn’t She Dump This Guy Earlier?”
February 14, 1995: I was a grad student at Winthrop University, attempting to get my master’s in English (which I never really accomplished). I had hardly any friends. All I really had close by was R. Yeah.
For the special day, I bought him a charm to go on the gold chain I bought him for Christmas. Get ready for this: It was one of those gold charms that splits in two so that you and your hunny bunny can feel connected.
Go ahead and go throw up if you need to. I’ll be here when you get back.
Okay, feel better? Anyway, I had that charm for him, and on Valentine’s Day I got a phone call from R. I had hoped for a surprise visit since he lived only a half-hour away or maybe a card in the mail, but a phone call was okay. I assumed he would give me my present that weekend.
During the phone call, he proceeds to tell me about the incredible dinner he had. His family had grilled steaks for supper and had baked potatoes and rolls and dessert.
I had eaten ramen noodles for supper.
But you know, I was willing to look past his inconsideration because I knew the weekend would be better.
And I was wrong. I went to his house (which was really his parents’ house) that Friday night, and he had no gift for me. Nothing. Nada. When asked why, he said, “I guess it just snuck up on me.”
Snuck up on you? What is it, a ghost? It’s not like Easter or Ash Wednesday or Fat Tuesday where you have to have a planetary lineup to calculate what day those holidays fall on.Valentine’s Day is the SAME DAY EVERY YEAR!
And yet, that wasn’t the worst of it. I walk into the living room, and there sat a vase with a beautiful red rose in it. In the back of my mind, I thought, Aw, maybe he was just kidding with me. So I asked whose rose that was. R said it was his mother’s. I’m thinking his father gave it to her, but I sneak a peek at the card. IT WAS FROM R!
Snuck up on him my ass!
So then we went out to dinner — with his parents.
And that’s not all: A week later, he had lost his half of the gold charm.
You would think that all of these incidents put together would create a red flag the size of Texas complete with sirens and flashing strobe lights. Alas, that didn’t happen. Isn’t it pathetic what love will blind you from?