I don’t have any good Valentine’s Day stories, and the one Valentine’s Day that I actually spent in the company of a girlfriend ended with us hissing at each other at a restaurant, her throwing the roses I’d bought her into a trash can, ominous glaring, and an eventual, tear-filled reconciliation that wound late into the night. We still broke up four months later.
Depressed, angry, and alone, I once spent a Valentine’s Day evening in a dark theater watching Brotherhood of the Wolf. The reviews and trailer made it look bloody, action-packed, and completely stupid, which I thought would be a good antidote for all the lovey-dovey in the air that I wasn’t getting. I’d read Matt Zoller Seitz’s insightful review—which thoroughly panned it—and assumed that this France-goes-to-chopsocky-school flick would knock me out of the doldrums through sheer sensation. If nothing else, I’d get to see Monica Bellucci naked. I hadn’t counted on the movie being Makeout Central for smooching teens nor on the movie being so depressingly inept that I couldn’t even enjoy its badness. I got surly. I left 40 minutes into the movie, nerves jangly and frayed.
Mostly, I don’t think about the “holiday.” This year, I’ll be attending an acquaintance’s anti-V-Day party—board games and beer for all singletons—and not worrying too much about the state of my romantic life.
For a good Valentine’s Day story, then, you should read Sheila O’Malley’s account of her best date ever. A terrific story from a terrific writer, it’s romantic, funny, anti-romantic, and honest about the dating life.