When I think of a Valentine, I think of a nice dinner, wine, maybe even a box of chocolates. And, when I put it that way, I can quickly tell you that I’ve never had a Valentine.
But when I stop being so goddamn bitter, I know that’s not the entire truth.
As a child, Valentine’s Day was a great excuse to host a classroom party that involved “mailboxes” crafted from white paper bags, Valentine-card collections that came in sets of 24, and sugar cookies with pink icing.
Now, that’s a party.
At one of these parties, I received my first special Valentine from a boy named Dustin. It was a small, white teddy bear, decorated with shiny red hearts on his paws. I was embarrassed.
In the years following—call it Karma—I didn’t get any special Valentines.
Exactly four years ago, I had a serious boyfriend for the first time during Valentine’s Day. The holiday coincided with Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans, where he lived. I hoped that we could order a (heart-shaped) pizza, get some beer, and see the parades that weekend.
The thought of getting some solid hours with my man was better than any fancy dinner I could dream up. I packed an overnight bag and I baked a batch of red velvet cupcakes to bring along.
But he never called.
And so, I sat on my living room floor that Friday night, watching the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics. I shoved one cupcake down my throat at a time, feeling the cream cheese frosting on my tongue, as tears rolled down my cheeks.
Actual Valentine’s Day that year fell on a Sunday. On that day, I found myself in the mechanic section of Walmart, buying new tires for my Explorer. As I waited, I watched men pass me, carrying red gift bags.
“I don’t know why I did that to you,” my boyfriend told me later.
The following year, we were still together. After the previous disaster, I didn’t even want to mention Valentine’s Day. But that night, we sat side by side on the back steps of his home.
We drank red wine from an oversized bottle until I thought it was a good idea to try and climb the privacy fence in order to check out his neighbor’s sugar kettle. I wasn’t successful.
When I woke up next to my then-boyfriend (my then-love), I remembered something that I had in my purse: chocolate covered fortune cookies. I retrieved them, and we ate them in bed before he made us a proper breakfast of cinnamon raisin toast—a favorite.
It was, and still remains to be, a set of hours I hold dear.
The following year, I only had one man in my life: John Mayer. He was oh-so-kind-and sent me a vase of beautiful flowers right to my office.
And last year, my mom sent me flowers, along with all kinds of chocolate goodies. I treated myself to the heart-shaped pizza that I never got. I also took myself to go see a movie.
All of those decisions were great, except for the one I made when I texted D—the text message that started our entire (horrible) relationship.
It’s really hard for me to understand that it’s been a year since all of that began. But at the same time, I can’t help but really think about the headspace I was in a year ago.
What a difference it is.
And this Valentine’s Day? While I do not have a traditional Valentine in my life, I know there is love.
And for the first time, at least in a long time, I feel like things are good.
The shitty thing about being single on Valentine’s Day, is that you’re supposed to have an opinion about Valentine’s Day.
So here’s mine: Screw. You.
I’m reminded every day that I’m single, you know, when I wakeup alone, when my phone never gets any text messages, and when I realize that I’m not annoyed 24/7—yep, I’m single!
I actually enjoy being single, especially lately, however this holiday that is so exclusive, makes me feel like I’m without.
And so, that survival guide…
- Avoid scenes like this:
Oh, did I just make it worse? It’s never fun to do your regular grocery shopping and find yourself lost in what I like to call, “The Aisle of Red.” Maybe it doesn’t bother you, but unless you’re planning on buying yourself a pound of heart-shaped chocolates, I suggest you order takeout until February 15.
- Steer clear of all things red. Either you’re in or you’re out when it comes to Valentine’s Day. So, either avoid everything associated with the holiday…
- Or…get obsessed with it. If you can handle sitting amongst the couples this Friday, whether it’s at a restaurant or a movie, go for it. Throw on a hot pink shirt and go out like you mean it. Or stay inside and sleep until this awful holiday is past us.
- Do you. Ultimately, I try not to say things like “Do You,” because aren’t we always doing that? But, I’ve found that on a day like February 14th, it’s best to do whatever you want. Want to wear all black with your middle finger up? Do you. Want to bake pink cupcakes for your coworkers and wear an entirely red outfit? Do you.
Last year was the first year I really abided by that last rule. I ordered myself a pizza, lit my digital fireplace, had some wine, and relaxed. And it was definitely the best Valentine’s Day I’d had in awhile.
So, take this Valentine’s Day as a chance to remind yourself just how awesome you are—you don’t need to be in a relationship to recognize that fact. Besides, if you WERE in a relationship, you’d probably get something dumb, like:
For what it’s worth, happy Valentine’s Day!
I was in first grade, and a boy in my class, named Dustin, gave me a small, white teddy bear with a red bow tied around his neck. At 6 years old, this was a lavish gift among the ritual of passing out store-bought cards with flat suckers.
I was embarrassed. I didn’t know what it meant. I certainly didn’t want Dustin to be my boyfriend (whatever that means in first grade).
I can remember Valentine’s Days at school in the years after, carefully choosing cards for each classmate, making sure none of them were too flirty. Didn’t want to risk someone thinking the pre-made cards were from my heart.
As I got older, Valentine’s Day had some weight to it.
In college, I told my fellow students to take Valentine’s Day like a man, in the inches of my weekly relationship column:
“It is the lonesome man who looks above this dreaded day and treats it just like any other. He doesn’t wear black, cry, eat chocolate or hate himself.”
I tried to take my own advice, and joined some girlfriends at a martini bar. I remember wearing a silky shirt that was printed with green and blue hearts.
That night, I watched as the bartender poured a long row of Patron shots. Little did I know that the very bartender would be in my life years later, and we too, would share a few Valentine’s Days.
But before that could happen, I was on the tail of a bad relationship. It was a constant back and forth that wasn’t healthy. When Valentine’s Day rolled around, I got stood up, and finally I was free.
And then, I fell in love with that bartender. While there were good times, the bad weighed heavier. For Valentine’s Day, all I wanted was to see him. I fantasized about it—I wanted to order one of those “Heart Baker” pizzas from Papa Murphy’s, sip on beer, and sit with my guy.
But he didn’t want that.
Instead of pizza and beer, I sat alone that night, eating the red velvet cupcakes I baked for him.
It wasn’t one of my prouder moments.
Truthfully, I’ve never tried to put too much pressure on February 14. I know it’s a bit of a silly holiday; I want a relationship where we constantly show our love for each other, not just one day.
But terrible Heart’s Days aside, this year I really wanted to give myself a break. My stock on bad dates is currently up, and I needed a little cheering up. So I looked back on the 2-14s of my past.
I never did get that pizza.
So, I drove across the street to Papa Murphy’s, marched in a told the gentleman I wanted “the heart pizza.” A mere $6.30 later, I drove home with a fresh pepperoni pizza, shaped like a heart.
Because I deserve it…along with a bottle of wine.
My journey to the heart (pizza) hasn’t been an easy one, and it’s certainly not over, but every now and then I need a reminder that the journey (and the pizza) is all mine.
I was excited this morning when I heard a sweet story on the news: the story of Mrs. Bieber.
Mrs. Bieber, or Avalanna, is a 6-year-old who is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. She is a huge Justin Bieber fan, so much so, she had a fake wedding to him. When the Biebs heard this, he surprised her yesterday with autographs and kisses!