This is going to make me sound like a horrible person but one year my partner (now ex) sent me a dozen long-stemmed roses at my office on Valentine's Day and I hated it.
I hated the spectacle of the box arriving in front of my other co-workers, I hated opening it, I hated women around me cooing about it, I hated the guys guffawing about how "someone was going to get lucky tonight". (I mean, please, as if sex was something I'd parsimoniously dole out as part of some corny transaction involving a cliché!)
I also, for the record, hated the roses themselves - no scent, no imagination or sense of humour evident in the selection of them as a gift. I would have rathered an absurd limerick scrawled on the back of a napkin, or a goofy treasure hunt, or bottle of whiskey.
At the time, it gave me this weird sinking feeling that he had no idea who I was - that he would ever imagine that roses on Valentine's would be a way to make me happy or express something about our relationship.
"Yes, but listen to me, you stone cold bitch," people might say. "It's the THOUGHT THAT COUNTS." To that I say "What thought? What THOUGHT went into that?"
Oh, and also, he paid for the roses with my money. (I don't even want to get into that part.)
(images courtesy of Heartless Bitches International
I remember a Valentine's Day from Grade 4 when I was nine. I was pale, freckled and very blonde with a home-done haircut: bangs sharply sliced halfway up my forehead, the rest falling like two blunt straight curtains to my chin on either side of my face. (You can understand how I'd be helplessly dazzled by the wild sophistication of "feathering" only a year or two later -- something my hair limply refused -- as I stumbled into awkward pre-teen awareness of "fashion" and "style".)
My elementary school was a big old brick thing built in 1896 with 18 foot ceilings and hallways with cement floors that were enamelled in untold layers of maroon paint and varnish. The halls and classrooms smelled like furniture polish, old wood, wool sweaters and industrial lemon cleanser. Everything echoed and all the rooms were drafty.
So on V-day, a typical, freezing day in the dead of winter, we all diplomatically exchanged little paperboard Valentines with everyone else (you know, those little punch-out ones where you just sign your name). I was looking through my bag of the ones I'd received when I noticed that on the one from Eric R was written in pencil, in his own wobbly boy handwriting, "I like you".
Mind you, I had no idea what to DO with that information at the time and who knows how he read my bashful silence, my turning beet red, and my total lack of verbal response, but I was quite touched, and looking back it's one of my fondest Valentine's memories.
Oh, and check out this old classic
(even though you can't send the cards, they are still pretty great).