So says my heterosexual life partner Jen. It’s also for kids. So guilt-ridden divorced folks have one more reason to shower their children with monetary tokens of love. Just kidding. Sort of.

Thinking about Valentine’s Day makes me retch. It’s really so ridiculous, and it has zero religious connotations, so it’s not even legit. I’m not going to go into the actual story of St. Valentine, cuz you’re super-savvy and have access to Google. You can look it up.

What I am going to do here is look back fondly upon the Valentines of the nineties. I’ve changed names and obscured actual places to protect the guilty.

First there was Edgar. Edgar I met in the mountains of California–he was a chef and a very good one at that. Edgar was a little bigger than I liked my men, but he loved me and cared about in a way no one ever had. But when we were out together we acted like an old couple–so content in their lives, so, well, settled. I was too young, stupid, and immature for a relationship like this one, so I dumped him.

Before I finally let him go, I tortured him. One year Edgar didn’t get me anything for Valentine’s Day and I ripped him a new one. His response was, “But I didn’t think–” and I cut him off there–“That’s the problem Edgar, you didn’t think!”  The next day Edgar showed up with jewelry and flowers to abate my anger. (I still wear the silver band.)

What a bitch I was. But then again, I was only 23. Aren’t you supposed to be bitchy? Through the wonders of Facebook, I have found out that Edgar is married with kids. Lucky her. He is a good man.

Stan followed Edgar. Stan was everything Edgar wasn’t: dashing, anti-establishment, athletic, ruggedly good looking, and a semi-pro mountain biker. I met Stan because he rented me my skate skis. (We’re still in the same California mountains.) One day he suggested we go out skiing together and from then on we were a couple. We were both training for a 30km nordic ski race. Out of over 700 participants, he finished fourteenth. I finished two hundred and eighty-second. Those were the days.

Then, sick of the lack of culture and intellectual curiousity, I bolted and left for Colorado, where I have been ever since. For some inexplicable reason, Stan followed me here. He even built me a bike, fashioned out of bits and pieces of bike laying about the shop floor. Once the two of us were in Colorado, we proceeded to have six blissful weeks together until I realized I was his cook and agent but certainly not someone he could or ever would emotionally invest in. We even met each other’s families. Then we broke up. For Valentine’s Day, Stan broke up with me. In response, I kicked him where it hurt.  A week later we were back together. Yeah, it was like that.

Two years ago I sold that bike–a beautiful 13-inch purple Cannondale 300. I miss that steed.

Reeling from my first instance of playing house, I soon fell victim again to another dashing, anti-establishment guy, this time someone I worked with. I like my men outside the box, which I why I couldn’t get excited about Edgar and which is why I was so excited about Stan. And now Larry.

Larry made Stan look like Prince Charming. Larry was manipulative, self-centered, and egomanical. But if you think he’s bad, why kind of girl dates a guy like that? A girl who’se twenty-six and has no idea what she’s doing. Against my better judgment, Larry and I moved in together after about six months. Little did I know he was still having regular rendez-vous out of state with a past lover, all of which he was able to justify. As I watched my self-esteem slowly drift away, my resolve to leave Larry (some day! I told myself) strengthened. I just didn’t know how or when. I just knew it would, and I did. Larry came home from work one night and I had moved out. Just like that.

For Valentine’s Day, Larry bought me two dozen roses and cooked me a surf and turf dinner. When I tried to brag about it to my girlfriends, they looked down at the floor. Their lack of look seemed to say, “Who cares if your guy does amazing things for you on Valentine’s Day? He’s jerk every other day of the year.” True dat.

For the past twenty years or so, I have been in the restaurant biz–as a hostess, server, bartender, and busser. Hence I have worked enough Valentine’s Days to kill a horse. They are fun social experiments–you can watch the new couples (they can’t keep their eyes and hands off each other), the couples about to break up (he’s doing everything he can to please her–she’s still acting like a bitch), and the couples who realize, somewhere between the overpriced lobster ravioli and the Death by Chocolate, that Valentine’s Day is simply not all it’s cracked up to be.

No shit.

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