I wonder if there are any adults over 50 who still like Valentine's Day. For me, it has always been a day filled with pain, disappointment or pressure. As a child, I never got as many of those punch-out Valentine cards (remember them?) as the very popular girls. As a married woman, my husband either thought it was a stupid Hallmark holiday and tried to ignore it or made a reservation so late in the game that we were totally ripped off.
But the worst feeling is when you are divorced. My divorce happened in the beginning of March, so during the last February of our marriage, we were just in the process of ending the marriage and pretending to be civil. The pressure was intense. At dinner in a romantic restaurant in a secluded inn, he thanked me for making him the man that he had become as he moved on. Great -- lucky me!
The next Valentine's Day, I was alone. I looked at the adorable cards at the car wash and wished that I had someone to send them to. I tortured myself with images of happy couples walking arm-in-arm and enjoying each other. My "aloneness" was magnified on this day for lovers, and I dove under my blankets to hide.
But even worse was the next Valentine's Day. I had met Harry on an internet dating site and had only been seeing him for four weeks when it was clear that we would be celebrating the event together. It was much too early to call it a relationship, although we did like each other, and the day could not be ignored. Instead of just addressing the problem and deciding to avoid the holiday altogether, Harry decided to make plans that would thrill me. Of course, he did not know me well enough to know my likes or dislikes, so the night was really about him.
He told me that we would be having a romantic dinner and that he would pick me up at 7:00. I did the usual "girly" things, like getting a mani-pedi, a blow dry and obsessing over the perfect outfit. He showed up at my door on time in a robe and slippers, carrying a bottle of champagne and chocolate strawberries, and announced the he was there for dinner and romance. "Romance" was code for "sex," which had not yet been part of our relationship.
I was appalled. My first thought was that all of my preparation had gone to waste. My next thought was outrage at his assumption that this surprise arrangement would be ok with me. I was not ready for an intimate relationship with him, and just because it was Valentine's Day did not mean that I had to perform.
I ended the date, and by the way, a robe and slippers are not particularly sexy.