Valentine’s Day: A Brief History of Disaster

One of the benefits of being a writer is that you wind up looking at your own culture through the eyes of your characters, and you start to see the things that are… well, a little bit weird. Valentine’s Day is… well, let’s be honest… about as weird as they come. It’s a holiday dedicated to romantic love which adults celebrate with booze and lingerie, and which is simultaneously celebrated by grade school children. This, despite very clear cultural taboos against combining romantic love of any kind with children.

Humans are weird.

Valentine’s Day has never been my holiday of choice. As an adult, it’s hard to celebrate, if I’m single, and it always gets me in trouble, if I’m not.  And as a child, mostly, I remember the general stress of finding just the right card to say “The school rules say I have to get you a card, so here.”

Actually… if I could find a card that says “The rules of dating say I have to get you a card… so here,” that would still be appreciated.

So, in honor of a weird holiday, weirdly celebrated, an overview:

  • Second Grade: First Valentine’s Day, and BEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER: I came down with chickenpox and missed school. Missed the party. Missed the handing out of cards. When I got back, the teacher handed me an enormous bag of candy and cards from my classmates. Also, by then, most of them had already eaten their candy, so whatever I brought was really, really cool.
  • Fifth Grade: First real valentine from a real boy. It opened and closed, and had an envelope and everything. Also two sticks of gum taped very neatly inside the card. Admittedly, he was the kind of boy who got thrown out of movie theaters, and who was later seen bungee jumping his(?) bicycle off a railroad bridge, but he was a boy, and that counts, and I win.
  • Seventh Grade: First invitation to actual dance. He was a geeky friend of mine. (Yes, I do have a few friends who aren’t geeky. Not close friends, but still.) This one had all the makings of a teen movie, except that 1.) I wasn’t allowed to date until I was thirty-two, and 2.) He asked in front of a classmate who looked at him and asked “Why the hell would she want to go out with you?” Boy sinks into the ground. I assume they let him up for air and meals, but maybe they just make him eat earth worms.
  • High School: Let’s be honest… guys loved me for my mind. Yes, I know that’s supposed to be a good thing, but do you have any idea how annoying it is in real life? Most of the phone calls to my house begin with the phrase: “Hey, what did you get for problem 43?”
  • College: Oh, great. We’re moving into that phase where “Marry me and have my babies” is not just an option, it’s encouraged. Me: I got you a Hallmark Card. Him: Marry me and have my babies. Me: It’s a funny card.

So, even though there’s nowhere left to go but up, I’ll be spending this Valentine’s Day locked in a convent, with ballistic missiles aimed at the local florist. One inch closer to those carnations, and it’s mutually assured destruction, baby.

Don’t think I’m serious? The last one actually mentioned his and hers matching cemetery plots. However old you have to be for that to be romantic, I’m not there, yet. Not even close.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the brave souls who are willing to risk it. To everybody else… see you when we all crawl out of our bunkers after Armageddon.


Valentines muse party logo
Who did you bring to the party?
I brought one of my characters from the novel I’m posting here on Reprobate Typewriter. He’s the Captain of the Upright Guard, and a hero of the Wars Against the Penitent Planets.
Is he/she your Valentine or anti-Valentine?
I had to drag him out from under a prostitute to get him here, today. He’s my anti-Valentine.
Which one of you is the more romantic person?
Under better circumstances, I think he would be. He’s incredibly loyal to his friends, and to the men he fought with, so I could see him being completely devoted to the right woman, but as it is, he’s much more consumed by the goal of atoning for his sins than making an effort to win a woman he knows he doesn’t deserve.
What gift are you giving to your (anti) Valentine?
I’m giving him the opportunity to retire to a prison planet with a woman who can’t stand him and spend the rest of his life making cheese. Don’t laugh. It’s what he wanted. No. REALLY. He asked for it. He…
Are you guys wearing red or pink (or black…)? 
I’m wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Being a writer, I cannot find my shoes, and I don’t particularly care.
The Captain, is freshly waxed and in full, dress uniform. Burgundy, of course. I’ve never seen him wear anything else, since he left the Penitent Planets after the wars.
Did you bring any Valentine’s Day treats? 
I brought chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven.
The Captain brought a bottle of Lepterian Absinthe. He does not intend to share.
Name a song for our Love Playlist or Anti-Love Playlist (or both)!
The Captain brought Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima for the playlists. You can decide which one it belongs on:
Got a great anti/Valentine party game? 
Two truths and a lie. The Captain always wins at that. No one ever believes the truths.
Feeling the love or just feeling nauseous?
I’m already in trouble for bringing him out here in the first place. Obviously, the Captain will follow orders, but he won’t enjoy it. How will you have fun at the party? Probably by leaving him to his misery, and go hang out with the other writers whose characters and muses are sulking.
Has your muse been a good Valentine? My muse has been great, this year. I’m working on a revision and I’m making great progress!
*Jordan’s Bonus Question (feel free to ignore him…): Did you bring me & Sarah a musiversary gift? (Because we’ve put up with each other for five years and I think we deserve something.)
Why, yes. As a matter of fact, I brought you this box of muse candy.