To be fair, I can’t be all Sap and no Substance. Grim Valentiners, I feel your pain. Dad sending a card every year was sweet, but there were one ore two holidays where chocolate could not mitigate the sheer… “ass-holeyness” (is that too far a stretch to create a noun?) of my then-current boyfriend.
Blissfully, most of those memories have dimmed, but Allen… ah, Allen was Special. Out of some sense of ethics I am changing his name, but I do believe that, if I had written about him at the time, revealing his identity would have been a public service. This was man who needed a warning label.
“Valentine’s Day is just a Hallmark holiday to sell us crap” was Allen’s attitude. I didn’t share the sentiment, but I was grateful for his honesty - it allowed me to set my expectations appropriately low. So knowing his views made it particularly thrilling to find him in his room a few days before Valentine’s wrapping foil-covered chocolate hearts, a small white teddy bear, and other tokens of love into a box.
Overjoyed by his change of heart, I told him I felt bad about spoiling the surprise.
“Huh? Oh. This isn’t for you. It’s for Becky, overseas. Yeah, if she were here right now, we’d probably be dating.”
It’s difficult to say which particular thing should have made me kill him: his Grinchly attitude toward the holiday, the care package to another girl while giving me not so much as a sticky-note, or the statement that I was merely second-string filler, a place holder. I’d like to write about how I said something cuttingly witty and left, never to see the rat again – except that’s not what happened. I stayed with him, to “work things out,” and while I was doing that, Allen slept with another girl, dumped her, took back up with her and added a third. And I stuck around. For another year (which proved to be the nadir of my romantic possibilities).
And right now you seriously need to be thinking, “Uh, Marianne? How could you be so dumb?”
Actually, I was an absolute idiot until I was 23 – the dead end relationship to end them all – but hey! I can’t complain; I got a 475 page novel out of that summer. Therapy, self-analysis, childhood experiences, trauma recovery, blah blah blah. I get it now. At the time, I didn’t.
So if you really hate Valentine’s Day… Maybe you should use the day as an opportunity to “get it.” Give yourself a Valentine before you waste time waiting for someone else; you’re worth the chocolate - and the self-respect.