News & Politics

The Blogger Beat Special Edition: “You’re Fired—Have Some Chocolate” and Other Valentine’s Memories

Ah, Valentine’s Day—the romance, the candles, the chocolates, the . . . Rap-a-Grams? We cracked open the Blogger Beat vault and asked some of our virtual friends about their best and worst Valentine’s Days ever. Some of their stories are downright swoon-worthy; others are just plain awkward. Here’s what they had to say.

Have you had a great or terrible Valentine’s date? Tell us about it in the comments!

Andrea Rodgers of Ask Miss A:

“One of my best dates was a Valentine’s Day dinner several years ago. My boyfriend told me that I had to guess the second gift but that the first gift was a hint. He handed me a box from Hermès. I opened it to discover a beautiful scarf with a map of Paris. I didn’t want to be too presumptuous, so I asked if it had something to do with Paris. It did—my second gift was a trip to Paris!

“On the flip side, one Valentine’s Day was ruined when I got a letter in the mail saying that my divorce was final. It was the end of a long process and really hit home for me that Valentine’s Day.”

Patrick Gavin of FishbowlDC (and soon, Politico):
“I once sent a girlfriend a Rap-a-Gram (rappers rapping a hip-hop Valentine’s message) to her office, but the rappers—at the direction of a misguided front-desk attendant—delivered their performance to a colleague with the same first name. She ended up in tears, thinking it a nasty prank from an ex. As for my girlfriend, she told me I was lucky that the rappers went to the wrong person: ‘I would have dumped you right then and there for pulling that kind of crap on me.’ It was this attitude that would later explain why she became an ex.” 

Lemmonex of Culinary Couture:
“Having horrible taste in men means Valentine’s Day is usually a bit of a debacle. There was the year in college I helped a guy I was in love with pick out a gift for his undeserving girlfriend. Then there was the time my one true, serious boyfriend insisted on buying me flowers. (I hate flowers, and unlike most women, I’m not just saying that—but who was I to ruin his fun?) A few years back, I waited all day to hear from a guy I was dating. I finally got a text at 11 PM about a test he had just taken; the holiday was never mentioned. And once someone ordered me an ‘awesome’ gift that somehow got ‘lost’ in the mail.

“Now, clearly most of this is my problem—if you date doinks, you get doinkish behavior. It isn’t the guy’s fault he’s an idiot; it’s my fault for hitching my wagon to his dim star. Also, I understand that Valentine’s Day is a fabricated and wholly commercial holiday . . . in my head. In my heart, a part of me would like a small gesture that says, ‘Hey, thanks for shaving your legs and not being a total lunatic.’ A card? A call? An interpretive dance that enumerates all the ways in which I’m incredibly awesome? I’m woman enough to admit that I’m a victim of social conditioning.

“The same year the guy texted about his exam and not about what a fabulous person I am, I had plans to get pizza and watch a movie with my beloved roommate. She ordered the pizza on my way home, and when I walked in the door, it was sitting on the table. She had a huge grin on her face as she hovered over the box; I knew she had something up her sleeve. The thing was, my roommate, unlike me, is a smart girl. She recognizes these things called ‘patterns,’ ‘emotional unavailability,’ and ‘lack of cajones.’ She knew TestBoy wasn’t going to call and had made a move to preemptively cheer me up. I glanced at her, opened the pizza box with some caution, and found myself staring at a heart-shaped pie. We spent the night laughing, drinking wine, and watching horribly girly movies. We talked about what a jerk TestBoy was, but I still continued to see him for four more months before I wised up. It was that Valentine’s Day, though, that I finally realized that someone knew my heart and would never let me down, even if all the other boys did. Love can be found in some crazy places . . . even in a pizza box.”

Meg Zatko of Dekan DC:
“I don’t really have a best or worst Valentine’s Day story, mostly because I never seem to celebrate it. But last year my roommate in Italy was going out of town for the weekend, and when I came home I found a bag of Lush bath products on my bed. Having the apartment to myself for a weekend was a treat, so I took a long bath with my new products, drank a bottle of wine, watched CSI (it was all I watched in Italy), and was in bed by 10 PM. It was really, really nice!”

Ben Harris of 14th & You:
“Years ago, I was working for an upstart technology company in Columbus, Ohio. The company was like many tech-based entities in existence at the time of the dot-com crash: underfunded and struggling for survival. Still, it was my first job out of college, and while it hadn’t exactly been my dream to sell consulting services to companies with futuristic-sounding names such as Zor-Tech, it was a steady paycheck. At least it was until my boss pulled me and one of my colleagues into his office on a dreary, rainy Valentine’s Day morning and gave us the news. In a manner of speaking.

“ ‘How are you?’ he asked us in an overly excited and jovial tone of voice that could only mean that bad news was forthcoming. Our boss liked to think of himself as a good people-person manager type, but bad news from him was always delivered in the same staccato-style voice accompanied by a virtually inhuman grin—the same grin we were now getting.

“Pleasantries aside, he went on with his spiel, using phrases such as ‘difficult decision’ and ‘not financially solvent.’ I wasn’t really paying attention, because by that point I was thinking how I was about to experience something that others would go on to tell me would make for ‘tuition in the school of life’—getting fired. On Valentine’s Day, no less.

“Our boss turned out not to be one of those kindly executioners who end things quickly and cleanly but rather one seemingly intent on dragging out the proceedings as long as possible. For what seemed like an eternity, we sat there listening to him, knowing what was coming but powerless to do anything about it.

“Finally, the ax came down and we learned that our positions were being ‘eliminated,’ a term which seemed to us to be unnecessarily violent. Lest we be too glum, however, our boss informed us that one more surprise was in store. ‘Hold on, I have something for you,’ he said as we rose to leave the room. From his desk he pulled out two small chocolate hearts. ‘It’s Valentine’s Day,’ he said, ‘so perhaps you’d like these.’ We stared blankly at him for a few seconds, took the chocolate hearts, and mumbled something incoherent as we left the room.

“As it turned out, I had no Valentine’s date that night, which is probably just as well. There was no need to burden another person with this story. I drove home through the rain, put a frozen dinner in the microwave, and turned on the TV. And I ate the chocolate. It was Valentine’s Day, after all.”

Jenny of Capitol Hill Barbie:
“I’ve always carried a special place in my heart for Valentine’s Day; I just hate it. Boyfriend, no boyfriend, engaged, living apart—it doesn’t matter. I’ve always tried to avoid going out for dinner that night because I loathe special menus featuring alleged aphrodisiacs. The first year that we were living together, my husband and I had planned on making dinner at home on Valentine’s night. Since he’s a surgical resident, he didn’t end up getting out of the hospital until 9 PM, at which point I was not in the mood to cook. So we came up with the brilliant plan of going to Mark’s Duck House in Falls Church. We were pleased with ourselves, thinking that no one else would want to go for Chinese at this hour on this night.

“Wrong. The place was packed, and we got the absolute worst server ever. It was epic. Drinks came out after food was served, we got the wrong things, we couldn’t get the waitress’s attention, and to top it all off, the check added up to about $20 more than the dinner cost. We actually thought at one point that there was a hidden camera. Once we finally paid and got out of there, we were exhausted, cranky, and vowed never to go out for dinner again on February 14. Now I always request that my husband take overnight call on Valentine’s Day to avoid making the same mistake again.”

Share your tales of love and woe in the comments!