Valentine’s Day always brings its own stresses. Commercialised to the extent that even the most ludicrous products have Valentine’s branding. Psychologies Magazine for the woman in your life, anyone? It is a day fraught with dangers for relationships, especially budding ones. Here’s a true salutary tale:
In my twenties, I had the bright idea of sending a Valentine’s message to my new boyfriend via the messages page of a national newspaper. These always make good reading, even for those not involved, with, what one assumes are middle-aged executives sending soppy messages to their loved ones, along the lines of “Snugglebums loves Kittykins” or the more risqué “Let’s play hide the sausage tonight”. So I made up some stupid sexual innuendo, that I thought my boyfriend would find amusing and put it in the paper.
The newspaper concerned sends out a little card to your victim, telling them to look out for a special message in the Valentine’s edition. I gave them my boyfriend’s office address so that I knew he’d get to see the paper during the day.
V day came and there was nothing for me in the post. Slightly miffed, I assumed something might arrive at work or in the second post (it was a long time ago); so I went to work expecting a card or some flowers from him at some point during the day.
At lunchtime, I rang my boyfriend, thinking that he might have seen the paper and that we could have a good laugh about the message. He didn’t mention it.
When I went home, there was no card, or delivery note for flowers, so I was a little disappointed as I got ready for dinner with my boyfriend that evening.
During dinner, at some over-priced restaurant crowded with uncomfortable couples going through the ritual of eating the Valentine’s set menu, featuring a variety of heart-shaped garnishes on mediocre food and quaffing cheap pink Champagne, I couldn’t help but do a little digging about the newspaper message, without admitting that I was responsible for it.
I started talking in general about Valentine’s messages. He seemed uninterested. I then gave some funny examples from another paper, hoping that this was enough of a hint to get him to talk. Still nothing.
I was puzzled now and even more so when I saw a postcard sticking out of the inside pocket of his jacket, which he left over the chair when he went to the loo. So he HAD got the card to tell him to look in the paper. Why hadn’t he said anything?
At the end of dinner, I asked him if he’d read any of the papers during the day. “Yes.” he said, I’ve read “X and Y”, “x” being the paper with the message. “Why?” “Oh nothing.”
We went Dutch on the horrible meal.
My brain was doing drunken somersaults. He had the card – check. He’d seen the paper – check. He hadn’t mentioned anything or even questioned me about it = HE THINKS IT’S FROM SOMEONE ELSE!!!!! This is a good example of how the drunken female brain works and, as I found out later, I WAS RIGHT.
They say “Hell hath no fury like a woman spurned” but I’d refine that for this situation to read:
“Hell hath no fury like a woman who has made an effort for Valentine’s day and it hath not been returneth” and when you add “It-eth suspicious-eth perhaps there is another woman lurking who says sexy things to him” – Hell’s fury is as a damp sparkler to worldwide nuclear meltdown.
So, I let him have it.
Two barrels of female fury, fuelled by cheap Champagne and indigestion. When I had finished with him, he had that dazed, shocked look that people have when they have witnessed a particularly grisly accident.
I then flounced off. Flouncing is a very satisfying activity that I rarely get to take part in these days. I’m too grown up and not as small and limber as I was. I was great at flouncing off in those days . I could walk really fast in very high heels, while maintaining a “Don’t even THINK of coming anywhere near me or you will DIE a horrible death” aura.
So I flounced home. No card. No flowers. More ire stoked the fire. This became an insult upon an insult. The boyfriend became “the bastard” in seconds. Girlfriends were called. His name was dragged through the mud. Everyone agreed that they’d “never liked him anyway” and “he’s not good enough for you” and after more wine, more tears and a few fags, I gave the idea of him up.
The neighbours delivered an enormous bouquet of flowers and a card that they had taken in for me the next morning.
Boyfriend rang up and admitted he thought the message was from his ex-girlfriend and, rather than seeing it as a joke, took the message seriously and was going to have it out with her for stalking him.
We made up. It lasted a little while longer, but not much. The ex girlfriend was an ongoing nuisance.
So be warned on Valentine’s Day – make sure you are not misunderstood. And if someone doesn’t thank you for the flowers you’ve sent, check that they’ve arrived. Better still, deliver your messages of love direct!