Please note: This blog entry has been updated for 2012!
No date strikes fear into the hearts of single people everywhere so much as the dreaded February 14th.
Yes, we all want someone to smooch under the mistletoe at Christmas time and yes, we all want to kiss someone at midnight on New Year's. It's true that 4th of July fireworks are far more magical when you watch them with someone you love and even Thanksgiving turkey tastes better when you have a partner to be thankful for. Amazingly, I have never been single on V-Day and yet, they have always sucked. You see, I have had 19 crappy Valentine's Days in a row!
My daddy was always my Valentine. He'd bring home a red, heart-shaped box of chocolates for me and I was absolutely thrilled. Yet from the time I turned 11 and he stopped being the only man in my life, it has been one disappointment after another.
*Please note: Some names have been changed to protect the guilty - but not all!*
1992: I have had a crush on Stevie since the 2nd grade. He gives me a Valentine which I believe means he likes me. I stare dreamily off into space all during lunch, making doe eyes at him on the playground. I find out that afternoon that his mom made him give me one. He still thinks I'm a dweeb. Am heartbroken.
1993: Gary passes me a cute note in English class. He smiles at me in the hallway. He kisses me on the cheek (my first kiss!!!) in the stairwell by the cafeteria. I'm in love. We're totally boyfriend / girlfriend. After school, I hear him laughing with some other boys about how he'd never go out with me. I spend the entire weekend in bed with the Babysitters Club books and a hot cup of tea.
1994: It is a Friday afternoon. Chris asks me to be his girlfriend. I am on Cloud 9 for three whole days. I return to school on Monday and discover that he was set up to ask me out as a practical joke. Am not amused.
1995: Have a crush on a very cute boy named Knox. He is the best looking person I've ever met in my young life. During science, the heart shaped lollipop fundraiser people come around to our class to deliver goodies. I anxiously await my delivery as every single girl in our class gets a lollipop from him. Except me. I spend the rest of the day crying in the bathroom.
1996: I am in a new school and have a proper boyfriend. Liam and I have been dating for a few months and he brings me flowers for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, he dropped them in the slush at the bus stop that morning and they got a little run over. They're muddy and droopy and very sad looking. He gives them to me anyway. I carry the most pathetic bunch of daisies anyone has ever seen, figuring the crappy flowers are better than no flowers at all.
1997: This year will be different. Anthony and I have been dating for months and his sister is away at a cheerleading competition, leaving his aunt short one bridesmaid for her V-Day wedding. She throws me into his sister's dress which is a hideous shimmery mauve. Anthony and I get to walk up the aisle together, arm in arm. We dance and eat and drink Sambuca out of chocolate cups. I say "I Love You" to him for the first time. He throws up.
1998: Senior year of high school and I am head over heels for a boy who lives in Massachusetts. It's hard being so far apart from Chad but we write to each other several times a week and call when our parents let us use their long distance plans. *Please note: this is before email, cell phones, and texting. We did things the old-fashioned way - we wrote letters!* I've sent up a package of lovey-dovey items to him for Valentine's Day: chocolates, candy, Hallmark cards to last a week, love letters with scrawly handwriting and hearts dotting the i's. I even scented the paper with my perfume he loves so much. I check the mail religiously all weekend. Nothing comes.
1999: College is going to be different. I've had a boyfriend for six months and we are very serious about each other. This is my first long-term relationship, as everyone before him petered out at around three months. David scatters rose petals on twin bed in my college dorm room. He borrows my roommate's grandmother's ring, gets down on one knee, and asks me to marry him. I am shocked. I don't know what to say. I'm seventeen years old - that's a good age to get married, right? But before I can answer, he starts laughing and blurts out "Just Kidding!" I slap a man across the face for the first time in my life.
2000: David and I are still dating and now it's been a year and a half. I took the winter semester off from school and decide to surprise my sweet boyfriend by driving the two hours upstate to see him for the holiday weekend. The surprise was on me when I found him in bed with my roommate and another girl. Yuck.
2001: I haven't had a boyfriend since David and I broke up because men suck and I cannot bring myself to look any of them in the eye. Yet I tentatively started dating a friend from work and things are going well. We are supposed to go out for V-Day dinner and I meet him at his place. The closet is open and I see several women's outfits which baffles me. I ask if they are his mother's or his sister's and he says "No, they're mine. Just a hobby." Cross dressing. Did not see that coming.
2002: It's been six months since I met John in England. We couldn't fathom breaking up so since I got back to New York before Christmas, we've been doing the long distance thing. I keep a sharp eye out for Air Mail envelopes in the post as he writes to me as often as he can. Phone calls to England racked up hundreds of dollars in bills last month so I'm down to the bare minimum talking time. He sends a Valentine's card which is really sweet. Unfortunately with the delays of overseas delivery, I don't get it until February 22nd. This sucks.
2003: John and I are engaged and getting married this year! I'm so excited, I can hardly breathe. I know that my fiance will do something amazing for our first engaged V-Day together! I just know he will. Any...minute...now... Ok, well he kinda forgot. I guess there's always next year.
2004: Guess who forgot again? Yup, that would be my husband.
2005: I take the day off of work to stay home and make him a special Valentine's Day dinner. I clean the whole house, shower, dry my hair, dress up really pretty, put on lots of make up, set the table with candles and pour delicious wine. He does not walk in at 5:00 as planned. Or 6:00. Or 7:00. He took on extra hours and comes home exhausted and a little drunk at 1:00 am. I lock the bedroom door and make him sleep on the couch.
2006: This husband thing is supposed to be a guaranteed gift for Valentine's Day. Married people aren't supposed to scramble around, wondering if they're going to have a date or not, if they'll get a gift or not. I put a lot of thought into his present this year. He bought me a video game. I asked him to spend less time playing on the PlayStation. His argument was that if I had a game I liked, we could play together. Not exactly the romantic evening I had in mind, asshole!
2007: There is a terrible ice storm with obscene amounts of snowfall and blizzard conditions. I have to go to work but they send me home halfway through the day. I return in the hopes of having a lovely afternoon with my husband and a romantic Valentine's evening. He hasn't made any plans. With the weather this bad, we can't really go out to a restaurant. We trudge to the supermarket and buy some food. I cook dinner and we eat in silence in front of the television. I cry myself to sleep.
2008: My husband moved out four months ago. A friend I'm sort of seeing asks me to visit New Orleans with him for a few days so I hop on a plane and go. We have a great time and I almost forget about the impending doom of V-Day. Yet one dinner at Emeril's Delmonico makes me sick. There is cayenne pepper in the macadamia nut cookie during dessert. I vomit for hours that night and the entire plane ride back to New York the next day. I really hate this holiday.
2009: I have a migraine that lasts for five months. On the plus side, I don't remember anything about Valentine's Day!
2010: Amazingly, not the worst V-Day ever. Had dinner with a date down in Little Italy and then enjoyed the late night opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including drinks and jazz music. Felt very cultured and totally away from the sickening forced romance of the Hallmark holiday. We just acted like normal people, like it was any other day of the week. First time in 18 years I haven't wanted to kill someone. Progress, I say!!!
2011: I've decided to face this holiday with as much grace and charm as I can muster. I've been busy making chocolates to distribute to my single girlfriends everywhere. I plan on hitting the gym in the afternoon (which should be fairly empty) and going to improv rehearsal at night, then the ladies and I will grab drinks and snacks at the most unromantic lounge we can find in midtown. If nothing else, I know my fudge won't let me down!
2012: Kit & I broke up five months ago and yet, it feels like yesterday. We would have been together for eleven months, looking forward to our first V-Day together, and instead I am sitting in Starbucks alone, updating this blog about how much my Valentine's have sucked every year.
ON THE PLUS SIDE: I threw an I Hate Valentine's Day Party on Friday night which was completely awesome. We hung out at the bar, went bowling, and decorated huge heart shaped balloons with our Anti-Love sayings and cartoon figures. There were red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate chip cherry brownies. Last night, I hosted a Passion Party (totally different occasion - blog to follow!) and it was utter bliss. Getting together with the girls, both single and attached, playing games, drinking pink champagne, eating double dunked chocolate cake bites, and laughing so hard our bellies hurt...I needed that.
This morning, I woke up to cat vomit on my blankets, the floor, and my clean clothes pile which roped me right back into reality.
An hour later though, I had hot pink roses from my sister, a text from my brother, facebook messages from a ton of friends, and a Hallmark card that made me laugh til I cried from my mom.
On the kitchen table sat a stuffed dog with his arms stretched open wide. On his tummy was stitched I LOVE YOU THIS BIG. Next to the puppy was a heart shaped box of chocolates from my dad, the kind he got me every year until I was ten (after which it was all downhill!) Dearest Kimberly, You are the light in my life. I will always be your Valentine. And I love you, Daddy
I do not have a boyfriend this year. I am not out on a dinner date wearing a new dress at a fancy restaurant. I am not curled up by the fireplace at a Bed & Breakfast with my handsome man, a plate full of strawberries and jazz music on the radio. I am not in love with one particular partner right now. But I am not alone. I am not lonely. I am not miserable. I am not giving up on love - today or any day. I believe that love finds us when we are good and ready for it and the right partner could be just around the corner, not just on Valentine's Day but any day.
Tonight, I plan on having a nice meal with my parents, curling up with my Netflix and my Whitman Sampler, and appreciating my single status instead of cursing it. I will continue to be the champion of romance on random Tuesdays, the cheerleader for love in times of trial, and the everlasting believer in Happily Ever After.