Contrary to my sarcastic personna, I am very much a flowers and chocolates kind of girl. Unfortunately, the people who have gotten the message are my parents. Every Valentine's Day from when I was old enough to eat chocolate until I went to college, my mom would greet my brother and I every Valentine's Day morning with a TV tray for each of us covered in pink icing cupcakes with red hots on top. We also got a card, chocolate and some sort of plushy teddy bear or rabbit or something. So as a result, my expectations for Valentine's gifts from everyone I dated later on in life were unreasonably high.
My first real boyfriend in college, whom I dated for about 2 years took me out to dinner and said he loved me for the first time for the first Valentine's Day, and then the second he made me an inedible but thoughtful dinner. After that I dated a string of musicians who "couldn't be bothered with a commercial holiday created by greeting card companies." Not that I expected gifts from them. I was the Sugar Mama in those relationships, and so I brushed it off as being a modern kind of gal who didn't need simple trinkets of affection to understand what was what.
I then dated a bit of a play from my dotcom job who happened to be on another date with someone else, by date I mean just having sex with, and so that Valentine's Day was spent in a less than romantic night alone watching old Cary Grant films wondering why I couldn't manage to land any romantic lads left in San Francisco -- who were still interested in girls.
After another run of bad musician boyfriends, I landed what I thought was a pretty decent guy. And he was. He actually did the flowers, and the candy -- even before Valentine's Day. After dating for almost a year, he booked a room at the kitschy Madonna Inn -- a place Elvis would have loved -- and we got the Valentine's Day room. Our relationship was passed the Honeymoon stage at this point, but I was still charmed by the fact that he would make such a romantic gesture. The next year, he'd already been seeing someone and was waiting for our two-year anniversary (a month after Valentine's Day) to break the news and break up with me. I was in denial, as much as a girl can be when she knows her life is about to turn upside down... so that Valentine's Day dinner was a bit of a bust to say the least.
Granted, I have been the single girl for many many many Valentine's Days. So today really isn't much of a shock to the system. I'm pretty happy with my life, my friends, career and so on. But when I think back at all the times I was in an a relationship and Valentine's Day was crap, I wonder to myself if it was those damned pink icing cupcakes that set my standards way too high, or if I've just been dating the wrong kind of guys all along?
This Valentine's Day, it's drinks with my best gal pal. And for that, I could care less if I see Cupid and his crooked arrows.