For every devoted Valentine's Day fan, there are probably 247 people who detest it -- the hoopla, the pressure, the ick factor of a holiday all about the commodification of monogamy. Hating on Valentine's Day has become a near universal pastime.
But for some women, that dislike stems comes directly from the past, from surviving a Valentine's Day so cringeworthy no one could blame them from crawling under a rock on February 13th and refusing to emerge until at least the 16th. Here, we salute 15 brave women of the HuffPost Women Facebook community who are sharing their real-life Valentine's Day fails. Prepare to be horrified.
Mine is the age old tale of boy meets girl ... girl falls wildly in love with boy ... boy cheats on girl -- then he took me out for dinner on Valentine's Day eve to tell me about his torrid affair over a lovely meal and even lovelier bottle of wine, in a public, local restaurant to avoid the ensuing scene.
I'm such an idiot: I cried, he said all the right things and I went back to his place. We had wild sex, I slept over and gave him a gift and a card in the morning. I know. It was over within days, once I'd come to my senses.
Last Valentine's, my boyfriend and I went to a cabin in the Poconos for the weekend with some friends. The disaster started before we even got into the house: Three-and-a-half feet of snow and no snow shovel. After digging our way in, I learned the only heat source was a tiny fireplace in the living room. "This is fine," I thought. "I'm outdoorsy, and we have a cozy little fire. It's kind of romantic" -- but the romance stopped after the sun set and temperatures plummeted. Then it got worse. After a nice night of the boys playing guitar and cooking a delicious meal, we all settled into bed. I awoke to a bat swooping down on me and my boyfriend. I started screaming, he ran out of the room (big help). My terrified dog and I finally crawled out of the room underneath a blanket only to find my boyfriend getting stoned in the kitchen. We spent the rest of the night trying to get the bat out of the house as he sat in the corner with the munchies. We broke up a week later.
I was a junior in high school and had been casually dating a guy for a few weeks. We weren't serious and hadn't gone further than second base when Valentine's Day rolled around. I don't remember how the night started, but I do remember being in his parked car when he gave me a gift. I opened a bag stuffed with tissue paper to find edible underwear and a small vibrator that fit over your finger. I took the edible underwear to school the next day, and my girlfriends and I had a good laugh after discovering how awful they tasted.
I had given birth to my son 20 days earlier, but was determined to enjoy a romantic evening out, so I enlisted grandma to babysit, spritzed on some vanilla oil, curled my hair, and slipped into a silky little number I had picked out at a maternity shop two days before. Halfway to the restaurant, I realized that I missed my baby so much, I burst into tears. That made my partner laugh at me, which did not exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy, and it only got worse when we arrived at the restaurant. I heard a baby squeal and began visibly lactating, leaking right through my clothes.
We ended up being seated next to the kitchen, behind a coat rack (with linen napkins tucked into the front of my dress) as I wept through my meal. We skipped appetizers and ducked out before dessert so I could nurse. I was asleep by 9:00, and when I woke up at 11:30, grandma informed me my partner had gone to IHOP for french toast. He returned shortly after and hadn't brought me any. And that is when I knew the relationship was doomed.
I've got so many horror stories, my family jokes that I have the Valentine's curse. When I was 17, I went out to dinner with my first boyfriend, his brother, and brother's fiancé at an intimate Japanese restaurant. As I took the last bite of my dinner, I vomited right in my dinner plate. Mortifying does not begin to describe the experience. I actually ended up in the hospital for about a week, because I had a virus. But my boyfriend was more concerned I was going to be sick in his car than about how I was feeling.
Then sophomore year of college, on Valentine's Day morning, I finished my run on the treadmill and went to the cafeteria for breakfast. As I was walking down two flights of stairs I fainted, landed on my rear end, stood up and immediately fainted again from the pain. I slid all the way down the stairs and landed at the base. Turns out, I shattered my tailbone into more pieces than the doctor at the hospital had ever seen.
My junior year, I went to the campus dining hall and had prime rib for dinner. Within an hour I was violently ill and assumed I had food poisoning. The campus officers refused to call the ambulance for me because they assumed I had been drinking, which was definitely not the case. After several hours, an ambulance appeared to bring me to the hospital. This time I had appendicitis and my appendix was about to rupture. Once again, another delightful hospital stay!
On Valentine's Day, I found out my husband was having an affair with one of my close girlfriends. Her husband was the one who caught them and called to tell me as I was getting my hair done. Even better ... I had given her flowers earlier that day because she told me she was sad her husband wasn't going to do anything for her. My husband made sure she got a present, though, so there was that.
My worst Valentine's Day was with my first boyfriend. I spent such a long time making personalized Hershey's Kisses ribbons with all things I loved about him, I decorated the box they came in ... and when he showed up at my house, he had flowers he told me were picked out by his coworker. I found that to be not so thoughtful, but what really got me was when he told me, that night as we were fooling around, that he didn't like oral sex (giving it, not receiving it, of course) and didn't want to do it anymore. And he really never did again! Amazingly, I stayed with him for another seven months.
The closest I've come to having a boyfriend on Valentine's Day was February 13th ... when he broke up with me. So ridiculous. I was in my early 20s at the time. (And PS: I still hate Valentine's Day.)
My husband was being a moody jerk all afternoon, but he apologized and gave me flowers with a card that said, "Sorry I was suck a d*ck today." We went to a hibachi restaurant where the chef was tossing knives and spatulas and missed -- one flew into a stack of miso soup bowls next to me and grazed my neck. I had miso soup all over my clothes, in my martini, everywhere. And they didn't even comp my martini! Later, I got food poisoning. It was the worst V-day ever. We laugh about it now. Heck, we laughed about it then. It was just plain ridiculous.
My ex ditched me to go look for a new car, then tried to make it up to me by taking me to dinner. Too bad he took me to a Thai restaurant (he knew I don't like Thai food) ... with his parents ... who he made pay for us. (He's 30.) And he told me I was selfish for not wanting him to buy a new car. I left him at the restaurant and went and cried at my brother's.
The day before Valentine's Day, I was out shopping with some friends. I thought I would get something pretty to wear for my boyfriend for our date. Turns out, the girls I was with were shoplifting, and we were stopped by security. I got in trouble, too, and spent the night in jail. (I've never even had a ticket!) When I got out the next day, I thought my boyfriend and I would have a romantic Valentine's Day date and celebrate being together after that horrible day, but I didn't get a card. Not a note. No flowers. Nothing. You would assume that we are no longer together after that, but we are! Planning to get married soon as well. People suck sometimes, but we got past it.
Several years ago, I had planned a romantic weekend away with my boyfriend of three months. We were going to see friends out of town, have a fancy dinner, and as a surprise I had picked up concert tickets to see a band he loved. The weekend rolled around, and I was packing my bag and waiting for him to pick me up. I sat on top of my packed suitcase in the foyer calling him and texting him, but he never showed. I sat there, pathetically, for three hours -- and never spoke to him again after that.
My first Valentine's day with my now fiancé, I cooked chili in a crock pot because my college dorm didn't have a stove or an oven. But before we got dinner out, my boyfriend started to turn the color you turn when you're seasick. After half an hour or so of playing it off, he went home sick before dinner ever started and I spent the evening solo -- with ice cream.
Valentine's Day was fast approaching and I was telling the guy I was dating at the time how I didn't really care much for big romantic gestures -- I like to keep things simple. But he really wanted to know what I wanted, so I told him: I'm not a huge fan of chocolate, and I definitely hate the heart-shaped chocolate sampler that everyone seems to get. I asked him not to buy a Hallmark card, and instead make one himself that would be more personal (I have to note: he was a musician who wrote his own songs and can also draw really well), and that I liked the idea of a rose. That was it! When the big day arrived, he came to visit me at my dorm and presented me with his gifts: The biggest heart-shaped chocolate sampler, a Hallmark card and no flower. Absolutely everything I said I didn't want. Amazing. Maybe he was trying to do everything wrong so that I would end things?
My boyfriend and I had been dating for about three-and-a-half years and living together for almost three when things started to get a little too comfortable between us -- the fire had gone out and I really wanted to fix things. (Really, honestly, I wanted to get laid.) So for Valentine’s Day, I rented the best hotel room at the best hotel in a neighboring city, and even signed us up for a six-course meal. It was ridiculously expensive.
Once we were settled in the room, I decided the two of us taking a bubble bath was a sexy plan. Five minutes into sitting in the tub together, he suggested we turn on the TV. I agreed because I thought that making him happy was a good idea, but instead we ended up sitting in the tub for a solid hour doing nothing but watch "Family Guy" -- and he was basically asleep by the time we got out. The whole thing was painful, monetarily and to my pride.
These accounts have been edited and condensed.