In honor of that tradition, here’s a sad, funny story about one of my BFF’s.
Every year, the day after Valentine’s Day, she calls me and we compare notes – no romantic detail is too small to share and no male faux pas escapes our (often scathing) dissection.
After twenty years, we’ve developed our own shorthand for these conversations. Rather than a simple scale of one to five (five being the worst), we have:
Great, Good, Not So Great, Ugly and Get Off Me.
Our question when the experience is not sounding so romantic: “Was it Not So Great?”
Our question when it is sounding like a nightmare: “Was it worse than Get Off Me?”
This is the code name for the worst Valentine’s Day either of us has ever heard of. Unfortunately, my gal pal had to endure it one harrowing February 14th some years back.
In the interest of protecting the not-so-innocent, we’re going to call her “Hopeful” and him “Clueless”…
It was the year 2003 and Hopeful was having the best Valentine’s Day ever.
She’d been dating a man named Clueless for about a year and a half and she, the perennial Single Girl, was enjoying a slow slide toward The Big Love.
Sometimes her man was a little stodgy but he was funny, handsome, dependable and, most amazing of all, had none of the “Baby Mama Drama” she’d endured with her previous two boyfriends.
She was becoming convinced that this guy was THE ONE.
Clueless told her, days in advance, to expect a huge Valentine’s Day surprise. She had only two things on her agenda for that entire Friday: go to work and then go to his house to be spoiled that night and through the next day.
He had the day off and told her he wanted to give her a nice intimate evening at home. He stressed the word “intimate” and Hopeful was over the moon with excitement.
Before leaving work, she did everything she could to ensure a speedy trip home. It was raining, which turned Southern California’s freeways into a gridlock of enraged motorists, so she checked the traffic on the Internet and mapped out her route.
She freshened her makeup, giving herself an extra spritz of his favorite perfume and removed her undies, just in case Clueless wanted to ravage her the moment she arrived.
Hopeful exited the freeway with her adrenaline pumping.
The fluttering in her stomach increased once she arrived in his driveway and hefted her overnight bag from the trunk. She wondered how long it would take for her to get Clueless naked.
When he opened the door, Hopeful’s heart did a back flip when she saw that Clueless was in his robe and half-naked already! As she crossed the thresshold, she saw that the room glowed red behind him from a Valentine’s bulb and there were rose petals scattered across every available surface.
The scents coming from the kitchen were amazing; the smile on her lover’s face was mouth-watering.
He took her overnight bag and handed her a glass of wine; she watched the red lights dance against her glass. After ushering her to a table set with a Valentine’s Day theme of white linen napkins and deep red plates, he lit white tapers a waft of vanilla whispered through the air.
Hopeful’s heart melted like marshmallows in hot chocolate.
Clueless watched Food TV faithfully and he chatted throughout the meal about each recipe he served and where he’d found it.
She sipped her wine while she ate, and thought about jumping his bones.
When Clueless pushed back from the table, she assumed he was going to bring out dessert. He’d made her favorite, caramel cheesecake. Instead, he detoured to the couch about twenty feet away.
Hopeless began vibrating with excitement…who needed cheesecake?
After taking their plates to the sink, she filled both their wine glasses and went to join him on the couch. As she drew close, she heard his light snoring.
He was sleeping?? Hopeful worried for a moment over the idea that having dinner with her put her man to sleep.
Determined to thank him for being so thoughtful, she hitched up her boobs and set the wine on the coffee table. As she stood looking down at his peaceful face, she smiled. He’d worn himself out trying to give her a great day. How sweet was that?
Hopeful perched on the edge of the couch, anticipating the next step (The Bedroom!). Sliding her hand up her honey’s arm, she leaned over him to kiss the side of his neck where he liked it best.
“Get off me,” Clueless said.
She reared back, almost falling off the couch. “Are you serious?”
“Yes, stop playing.” He yanked the edge of his robe from under her leg.
Maybe he was trying to be coy, Hopeful thought, and kept her tone playful. “Aren’t I even going to get one little kiss?”
“No. I’m tired. Stop.” His tone wasn’t remotely playful.
“But. . . it’s Valentine’s Day.” She tried hard to keep the whine out of her tone.
“I cooked you dinner!”
Hopeful’s teeth snapped together like a mousetrap. Glancing down at her hand, still on his shoulder, she saw it was bunched into a fist around the white terry cloth of his robe. The glow from the special Valentine lights looked eerily like blood against the material.
She was imagining the satisfaction of smashing the bulb against his skull when he said, “Seriously, you need to stop.” Clueless shrugged her hand off his shoulder and rolled over to face the back of the couch.
Hopeless jumped up and glared down at him.
Clueless began snoring again.
She wanted to kick him, to just drill her sexy spiked heel right up his. . . Hopeful spun around and hurried out of the room, before she did him any bodily damage.
She paced in the dining room, in circles around the table, engaged in an internal tirade about how dogs were better than men. At least they kissed you every time you spoke to them.
She’d gone years at a time without a man. What were they good for anyway? Sex and large insect disposal. She wasn’t even getting any sex! And it was VALENTINE’S DAY.
Wild jackals were better than men.
The snoring from the couch grew louder.
Hopeful paced faster, through the dining room, up and down the hall, avoiding the kitchen and its butcher block of knives.
Her pacing took her by the door to his bedroom. It was like a car crash; she couldn’t not look. Rose petals were strewn across the white duvet. There were no Valentine light bulbs here but she was seeing red.
Moving purposefully to the kitchen, Hopeful opened the refrigerator and took out the caramel cheesecake.
She arranged it on his best platter – the one she’d bought for their first anniversary – covering the whole thing with foil.
Holding the platter in one hand, she moved into the living room and picked up her overnight bag. With one last glance at the couch she sailed out the door, cheesecake and all.
The sound of his snoring trailed behind her like a dirty rag.
The next day he called her and asked why she’d left. She broke up with him.
Immediately afterward, she called me to share this life-altering V-Day dish. All I could say as she told me her sad tale was, “He actually said, ‘Get off me?’”
I hope to God your Valentine’s Day goes better than the debacle I described above. Regardless, the comments section is open for ANY Valentine’s secrets, plans or horror stories you’d like to share. Enquiring minds love to know these things here at More Cowbell!