Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Ever since elementary school ended and the golden days of egalitarian, teacher-enforced Valentine's Day school parties drew to a close, I have not had much luck with Valentine's Days. Probably the worst was the one when, after I had spent hours preparing a special V-day treasure hunt for him, my Valentine came home late from work and promptly locked himself in his room. When he emerged nearly an hour later, he threw a box of candy hearts and a bouquet of sickly flower buds (they never did bloom) on my bed before passing out in a drunken stupor. Upon awakening, he informed me that he had driven my car up onto the curb and blown out the tire.

Most of my other Valentine's Days, I was single, and celebrated by indulging in varying degrees of bitterness.

This year marks the very first that I had the opportunity to celebrate Valentine's Day in the traditional manner – you know, by going out on a real date with my real significant other – and I aimed to make the most of it. No one was going to stand in my way!

When my procrastinating boyfriend failed to secure reservations for the restaurant he's been promising to take me to since our few-month anniversary, he transferred the restaurant selection to me (fair enough, since I'm such a picky eater) and suggested that if it was too much hassle, we might just make lasagna and stay in. I let him have it.

And by that, I mean I said "darn it."

You might think I'm being a little Type-A about it all, but I've been waiting 28 years for this, and it's my special day! I will have a restaurant! I will wear a pink dress! I will show off my relationship status for the whole world to see! These were the firm pronouncements that I made in my head.

Of course, my special day was not without its share of bumps. Since my plans were to head to dinner immediately after work without heading home in the interval, several challenges arose.
  • I chose to shower in the morning rather than at night so I could blow-dry my hair. Unfortunately, my housemate also changed his shower schedule, so I got a late start while waiting for him.
  • In the rush to get out the door, I forgot my earrings and perfume, which were going to be essential parts of my personal decor. I did, however, remember the dress, the shoes, and the makeup, which I consider even more essential elements of my decor, and my boyfriend actually complimented me at dinner, which he never does.
  • After the sudden realization that the bus was coming in two minutes, I ran to the stop at top speed...and made it, but not without a respiratory price: I spent the rest of the morning trying to clear the resultant scratchy throat.
And then there were the gustatory woes.
  • When I pulled my lunch out of the refrigerator, I found my little container of chick pea salad in my lunch bag, empty! At first I thought it might have been a packing error, but when I got home, it was clear that it had not been, and someone had eaten my lunch! I thought I could trust my office mates, but apparently we have one of those mythical lunch thieves that I never believed existed. My faith in humanity has taken something of a blow. Not to mention, I had nothing for lunch but half a cucumber, so was hypoglycemic and none too genial when we ran into traffic on the way to dinner.
  • The restaurant that I had picked out had a price fixe Valentine's Day dinner. I figure "fixe" must be some synonym for "exorbitant," because I was appalled by the sum. When I chose the place, I had mistakenly believed their regular menu would be available. It was not, and I was obliged to eat a 60-dollar meal that was less appetizing than, say, a 6-dollar burrito. On the plus side, the meal came with "a rose for the ladies," and since my gift-challenged boyfriend (I could write a whole entry on that topic alone) certainly wasn't giving me one, I had to take what I could get.
Sigh. It looks like, even though my hopes were high for things to be different, I have nonetheless kept my tradition of the Bitter Valentine Blog. Looks like great expectations lead to great disappointments, so next year, I'll return to the regular old low-maintenance me. Or maybe I'll hold out for dinner and a present.