July 30
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.


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FEBRUARY 14, 2012 8:06AM

The Valentine Cheater

Rate: 21 Flag

There was a time when Valentine's Day was near the top of my list of favorite days.  I loved it all--the heart shaped sugar cookies with pink icing and sprinkles, shoe boxes decorated with red construction paper and white doilies,  candy hearts with pithy sayings on them, and, most of all, the crinkly little paper cups holding the individual pieces of chocolate that you could never tell what was inside until you took that first bite and discovered you had mistakingly picked another jelly filled one.  

I'd start thinking of Valentine's Day in the first week of January when the packages of valentine's cards began to show up on the shelves of the local dime store. By early February, I had made my choice of boxes and began the lengthy process of deciding which valentine was exactly right for which person in my class, almost always saving the biggest one for Paul Hoggatt who was a fast runner and also played the accordian--the height of romance to this 9 year old girl.

That was the year that Valentine's Day promised to be extra special.  Not only was I pretty sure that Paul was going to give  me the biggest valentine from his box,  but my Brownie troop was having a contest to see who could make the best valentine shoe box, and giving a heart shaped box of assorted chocolates as the prize.  It was a contest I was determined to win. 

I spent a lot of time and energy making sure my box was the best.  There were hand cut hearts and doilies on every inch and not a single glob of errant paste anywhere. I added some silver and gold stick on stars for some glitz and then, to top it off, wrote "My Special Valentine's Day Box" on all six sides in the cursive writing that none of my friends had mastered yet.  It all turned out so good that I voted for myself.

Unfortunately, voting for yourself wasn't allowed, a fact I was reminded of again when the troop leader mentioned that one particular box had been disqualified because of selfish voting.  Even though I wasn't specifically mentioned by name, my crying probably gave me away.  Suddenly, I was the Valentine Cheater.  

And let me warn you right here,  Cupid must hold long grudges against anyone who messes with Valentine's Day because mine have been nothing but a string of disappointments ever since. It's been like a curse.

From that day on, I haven't had a single boyfriend on Valentine's Day.  Before--yes.  After--sometimes.  But on--never.  On the few occassions when I came close, it was always someone new.  And, really, there's nothing to do with a new boyfriend around Valentine's Day other than to break up with them because otherwise the day is just too darn awkward. 

When I finally got married and took myself out of the dating pool, I made the mistake of not finding out how my husband liked to celebrate the day.  If I had, I might have learned that he liked to do big showy things like sending pairs of singing cupids to my office, where I was the only woman attorney amid a sea of very serious minded men.  "No, no no!" I wanted to yell.  "It's the little individual chocolates in the crinkly cups that I want! Or the candy hearts.  Or sugar cookies.  Maybe a little accordian music.  But not this!" 

After our divorce, Valentine's Day became just another yearly reminder that I was a single mother whose main love interests still bought all their clothes in the children's department.  I'd make the effort and draw hearts on their lunch bags and give them cute little red and pink presents, but the day itself always felt less like a celebration and more like those "Family Fun Days" at their grade schools where I always felt one member short of fun.

As I got older and didn't have lunch bags to decorate, I might have been able to ignore the day completely if the spiteful Cupid didn't continue to throw hearts and Hallmark commercials in my path every which way I turned. I've just about had it.  

Not that I bregrudge anyone else of the day.  There was a time when I liked it too. But when your one overriding memory of the day is being labeled the Valentine Cheater, and Cupid won't forgive you, it's a little hard to celebrate.

I think this year is going to be different though, because I've discovered a new best thing about Valentine's Day that Cupid doesn't control.  It's called February 15th--when all those little individual pieces of chocolate are half price at Fannie Mae.

It just might become one of my favorite days of the year.






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Funny post and rated. If more people had learned that "selfish voting" was a bad thing, the country might not be in the state it is today. Happy Valentine's Day. R
Ha! Chocolate is the best revenge. Stop by for a sample and whatthehell, Happy Valentine's (it's only a day).
I never knew about the heartache of V day until I started on OS. I made jokes about Valentine's day, once in awhile my husband and I would celebrate because we felt like it, but never felt that compelled. Cute post and story, enjoy your chocolate!
I like your idea of making the day after VD like Boxing Day in England. The day after Christmas, when people come calling. Something to look forward to.
I do identify with the single valentine situation. Had it many years.
But as I have just written, it's never too late for love.
Chocolate is the best cure....especially when half off.
This made me want to send you the biggest box I could find :)
Oooh, pass the cherry cordials please!
You can always bet on one thing... Cupid does not like cheaters, of any kind! Having said that, what does a little midget wearing diapers and carrying a bow have to say about anything?
I say go out and buy yourself the CD, Paul Hoggatt's all time Valentine Accordion hits. Oh yes, and a heart shaped box of individual pieces of chocolate to go along with it too.
Tremendous philosophy that really isn't cheating. Very nice story.
Very funny. And I would have voted for myself too! People get to vote for themselves in real elections - why not in a Valentine's election?
Great Post. VDay is a made up holiday that I think San Walton is still smiling over in his grave.
Thanks for reading and Happy Valentine's Day to all.
Gerald--Good point about the voting.
Jane--Love it.
Vivian--Chocolate is the right answer to a lot of things.
Rita--You've clearly lived a good life.
Lea--A Valentine's boxing day--I like it.
Miss Shauna--I'm accepting packages.
V. Corso--I keep the cherry cordials for myself.
Out on the Limb--I checked Amazon. He doesn't seem to have made a CD.
Mary--Not exactly a philosophy....more a love of chocolate.
Laura--Absolutely! Although I suppose there might never be a winner.
I was in a drugstore yesterday and noticed that the card aisle was uncommonly full. I stopped for a moment and studied the people, many of whom looked like unlikely participators in romance. The chocolate section, only heart-shaped boxes for the occasion, was quite ravaged with large empty sections. Some Unlikely Participator in Romance at the grocery store was buying a bouquet of red roses. None of this bothered me in the slightest...except that dieting brings out the chocolate lust in me... Wednesday is The Day, then?
Myriad--Wednesday is definitely the day.
Love it! Happy Valentine's Day, my fellow writer...thanks for your comment on my essay, too. Thrilled that it's resonating with so many women in particular today. As one of my friends said, "Self love is not selfish." Another is reminded to drink deeply from the fountain within instead of trying to fill her cup every-damn-where else. Amen!
You are like the Anti-Valentine Day Gal,
sort of analogous to the Anti - Christ, arent you?
I should say: the Anti-Cupid.
Well, i am with you foursquare.
When i was in a relationship,
once upon a time, the gutwrenching fear
of failure would begin around the end of January.
I never did really figure it out.
By the way, my rating put you up to "14" !
Take a bunch of tylenol pm's , eat some icecream,
and wake up tomorrow & hoard the chocolate!
Singing Cupids at the office! Wow. Just wow.
"I think this year is going to be different though, because I've discovered a new best thing about Valentine's Day that Cupid doesn't control. It's called February 15th--when all those little individual pieces of chocolate are half price at Fannie Mae."

Too funny!
Great idea....party on the 15th..and for all the broken hearted...we will serve cranberry martinis with strawberry ice cream. Yummy!
cupid uses life to exact punishment - the singing cupids - pride goeth before the fall
Kim--Thank you. I'll certainly be treating myself to chocolate.
James--I'll wear the Anti-Cupid button with pride. And, yeah, fear of failing dooms us all.
Joan--It took a long time to get back my street cred after the cupids.
Shelia--Glad you enjoyed it.
Ande--I'll be arriving at your house early.
Damon--Death by chocolate perchance?
Hey Feb 15, when this comment will now show - The Bud Light Institute did a feature on that. They produced a set of cards for forgetful hubbies that said "Let's make February 15 our own special Valentines Day". Amusing post JL, though I'm sorry about your decades long losing streak.
This is great! As a child I remember wishing and hoping that Robert was his name would put a special Valentine in my box...As I got older I always had boyfriends on the day who did the obligitory stuffed animal that I would lug from class to class...Then came my husband who did not believe in celebrating such stupid things so I got left out...I am with you, Feb 15th it is! This made me smile! Thanks for sharing...Rated!
Abra and mama--Thanks for commenting. I don't have much time to respond--it's time to find the nearest Fannie Mae.