Pour yourself a cup of coffee and, if it’s after noon in your country, add a shot of your favorite adult beverage because it’s time for a pity party.
As promised, I’ve compiled my worst Valentine’s Day stories ever for your viewing pleasure this weekend. Today I present the first of my top three.
Valentine’s Day 2003: I was seventeen and reaching the six month mark with my first boyfriend. As such, I was excited as only a seventeen-year-old can be and my excitement was further exacerbated by the fact that ours was a long distance relationship. Not only was it Valentine’s Day but we hadn’t seen each other since Christmas. The stakes were high, and the potential for disappoint even higher.
Even though we’d met that previous summer and spent a majority of our free time exchanging sappy emails, we’d only logged a matter of days in each other’s presence. And because we had yet to declare ourselves an official couple, I knew better than to expect anything particularly grandiose on Valentine’s Day.
Of course, knowing not to expect anything is different from accepting the fact that your boyfriend’s a seventeen year old male and therefore not as romantically inclined as you are. And so I packed three days’ worth of the cutest outfits I could find, grabbed my passport and headed up to Montreal with my small-but-thoughtful gift in tow.
I may or may not have included a handwritten card made from pink construction paper and said card may or may not have included a handmade heart framed in purple and red curlicues.
(This reminds me: if I ever have a daughter, I am so going to warn her to keep her calligraphic talents to herself—I mean seriously, what seventeen year old male wants pink stationary cluttering up his bedroom?)
As for my gift? By which I mean my gift to him? It was, to my seventeen-year-old-mind, thoughtful yet not over the top: a small sketchpad and a little package of charcoal sticks. He liked to draw and I thought I ought to encourage him.
As for his gift to me? There wasn’t one. “I’m sorry,” he apologized as I pressed the beribboned sketchpad into his hands, “I didn’t get you anything.”
Oddly enough, I wasn’t all that disappointed. It was one of those rare times when I gave a gift without actually expecting something in return and he was so unconventional that I hadn’t expected him to even realize that my visit coincided with Valentine’s Day. After the requisite drama queen meltdown 24 hours before my departure (which included, as it always did, an afternoon spent crying on the couch in his parents’ living room, numerous cups of tea and a great many pages of angst-ridden poetry), I invited him to my senior prom.
He agreed and before I knew it, I was off to college. It was there that I began to learn how truly disappointing Valentine’s could be.