Friday, February 14, 2014

Singles Awareness Day

(Reprinted from Meridian Magazine, February 2012)

You didn't think I was going to let February 14 go by without acknowledging the most dreaded day of all singles, did you? Never fear, my single friends, I am here to commiserate with you! I will share my worst experience with you, but in return, I expect to hear your awful stories in the comments below.
I will never forget my worst Valentine's Day ever, but to say that indicates that somewhere along the way I have had a good Valentine's Day. The truth is, even on the years where I had a boyfriend on February 14, I've never had a good, romantic, worthy of recording it in my journal, or even just calling my best friend, kind of day. I've had pretty much nothing but really lousy Valentine's Days. (Unless you count the year I was going through fire-fighting school and I got to rappel down the side of a burning building, getting the best time in my class, as a good day.)
No, I've had some pretty rotten V-days. I'm one of those singles who would prefer to just sleep through the day, never being forced to see all of the people wearing pink and red, carrying flowers and balloons in the hallways at work, while giving cheery answers to questions like, “So do you have any fun Valentine's plans?” No, I plan to be at home watching NCIS and hanging out with my dog, just like I do on most Tuesday nights. The only thing different is this week I won't get to eat Indian take-out while watching TV, because I have to avoid all restaurants at all costs, so as to not be seen alone in my alone-ness. Which is stupid, quite frankly, because, I'm alone in my alone-ness all the time! I go into restaurants and eat alone pretty regularly. But no, once a year, all those gross lovey-dovey people have to go and ruin it for me, and I'm stuck at home eating Lean Cuisine instead.
But back to the worst Valentine's Day ever. I tell you this story at great risk to myself. I have no idea if the man involved will ever read this. I'm going to assume that he doesn't, since he's never told me so (but then, we haven't talked in 16 years, so I don't know that he would. And he probably won't now either). If you just happen to be that man, I hope you too can see the humor in this story now!
I was just barely nineteen at the time. One of those BYU stories of the girl that got engaged just six months out of high school to a guy she had only known a matter of weeks. But of course, not really engaged, just verbally engaged without a ring. Nonetheless, the point is, I had a significant other on Valentine's Day. I had expectations. I had dreams. I had very big plans. After all, we were just recently and verbally agreed to be married! I was owed a diamond! Me and my nineteen years of wisdom knew exactly how this day would play out, and it would end in a hugely, overly romantic love story to tell our grandchildren someday!
Obviously, that didn't happen.
What did happen is he had an exam that day. And I, being a college student with big wedding plans, had taken a temp job working in the BYU on-campus florist. (Exactly why does a university need an on-campus florist, by the way? If not only to further encourage silly college romances?) It was working at my temp job that day that I discovered just how wretched allergies can be, and that I am horribly allergic to many types of flowers. After eight straight hours of flower arranging, and being surrounded by all those (painful) pretty smells, I was in complete misery. However, let's keep it to the obvious facts here. I was also an overly romantic and sentimental mostly verbally engaged nineteen year old in a flower shop on Valentines Day. Do you see where I am going here? I may have actually woken up that morning still a somewhat reasonable person. By the end of my shift making other people's romantic gifts, I was expecting a 12 piece string orchestra, dozens and dozens of roses, a steak dinner, and more than one diamond ring. Wouldn't you?
I spent most of the money I earned that day right there in the florist buying him a gift and having it delivered. It was a teddy bear, a balloon, and some roses that I personally picked out and arranged. Because what red-blooded, American male college student doesn't want a teddy bear, balloon, and roses?
After work I went to my room and primped. For what? I didn't know. I just knew it was Valentine's Day and obviously the man who was verbally committed to giving me a diamond ring was going to be doing something grand. I waited and waited. And my allergies and sinus infection grew worse and worse, not helped by the two dozen roses my roommate had received taking up real estate in our tiny room. Finally my phone rang saying I had a delivery at the front desk. Expecting nothing less than a limousine and other fantastic gestures I ran downstairs.
And picked up another dozen roses some guy had sent my roommate.
I returned to my room, checked my messages to make sure I hadn't missed my beloved's call (I hadn't), and resumed my flights of fancy.
The phone rang again.
I ran back to the front desk.
Where I found the teddy bear, roses, and balloon I had sent my significant other waiting for me. The delivery guy had sent it to the wrong person. Oh and the receipt was still attached. I took the receipt off and had them call the right person. And returned to my room.
I kid you not, I walked in the door and the phone rang again.
Back to the front desk.
Another dozen roses for my roommate.
Where was my roommate you might ask? Out on a date with her boyfriend, who was not the bequeathor of the now four dozen roses in my tiny little dorm room. Also, I was starting to resent my roommate just a little bit. Yes, I had that kind of roommate who just got dozens of roses randomly sent to her by men she barely knew. And yet, I still loved her anyway.
For several more hours I sat there patiently in my room, my head throbbing with a sinus infection, blowing my nose, getting sicker by the minute. It was 10pm before he called.I almost didn't answer it because I was convinced it was going to be the front desk calling with an entire rose garden for my roommate.But it was my mostly betrothed, so I went down to see him, Kleenex and all.
He thanked me for my cute little gift, and told me all about his big exam, and how it had taken all day. He finally noticed I was sick and offered me back the teddy bear I had given him. “The bear? The stupid little bear? I don't want the bear! Just give me my stinking engagement ring!!!” was sloshing with rage through my very congested head.
Did I mention we were in a classroom? We were two car-less college students without a lot of options. A lot of our “dates” were just sitting in empty classrooms or study rooms talking.
So there we were- me with the worst sinus infection in history bubbling out of my nose, and him with that dumb bear I gave him. He finally reaches into his backpack and tells me to close my eyes and put out my hands. I only put out my left hand, palm down. He turned my hand over and put a plastic take out container in it before I opened my eyes.
A frosted sugar cookie.
But not just any frosted sugar cookie. A broken frosted sugar cookie with “Be Mine” iced onto it.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was expecting an engagement ring, and I got a broken cookie.
Did I mention I hate sugar cookies?
He explained it got smashed in his backpack, and the frosting smeared a little bit. Yes, yes, I could see that.
And that, my friends, is the only time, ever, in nearly 20 years of dating, that a significant other has given me something on Valentine's Day. Sure, I've had other boyfriends on that date, but none of them have ever given me something or done anything nice for me on that day.
I've learned my lesson about getting my hopes up, or thinking men are ever on the same page as women when it comes to romantic expectations. But more importantly, I still have hopes. I still think that maybe someday I'm going to have a good February 14. Maybe even have a date on Valentine's Day- wouldn't that be amazing? I still think that in spite of twenty years of not meeting Mr. Right that one day it will finally happen. I won't be waking up on Valentine's Day thinking the floral delivery truck is going to be in my driveway with roses from a mysterious admirer. But I do think that maybe someday I will meet a guy who will give me a rose or dozen. (In 20 years of dating, it has only happened once.) I'm not ready to give up yet.
But until then, I'm avoiding all restaurants and public places on the day I am convinced was designed to make single women feel bad about themselves.
Are you with me? Share your “Singles Awareness Day” stories with me!

ALL of my books are FREE on Amazon Kindle Feb 13-17, 2014! Don't miss your chance to download them today!

You Heard It Here First (book 1 in the Haley and Cam Series)

This Just In! (book 2 in the Haley and Cam Series)

The Agency: a biographical workplace novella

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