My Most Memorable V-Day

February 14th can create some memorable dates, from the sublime to the ridiculous to the really scary. Check out these true tales of Valentine’s Days gone right…and very wrong.

By Lisa Lombardi

The ultimate intimacy
“My boyfriend and I made reservations months in advance to spend Valentine’s Day at a famous restaurant. Since it was a special occasion, we decided to splurge on the tasting menu—filled with stuff like cow intestines and raw fish. Naturally, we had to wash the food down with a bottle of wine. After going out for more drinks, we went back to his place and had just started getting hot and heavy when all of a sudden I felt sick. Then he felt sick. Then we were both stooped over the toilet in his tiny bathroom puking up our $150 dinners. It couldn’t have been less romantic! We still don’t know if it was the drinks, the weird combo of foods, or if something was truly bad, but ever since then we’ve stuck to our local pasta joint.”
—Susan Anderson, New York, NY

“Finally, the waiter brought a silver-domed tray and announced, ‘A special treat for the lady.’”
Should you talk to strangers?
“My best Valentine’s Day was the one when I met my husband. I was working a part-time job at the mall and was out on my lunch break, wandering around. I wasn’t looking to meet someone—he found me. He asked me out, and I said no: I had no idea who he was—he could have been a serial killer! But then I agreed to meet him the following week at a restaurant right in the mall during my dinner break. Twenty-four years and three kids later, we're still together.”
—Polly Franks, Richmond, VA

Valentine on the side
”Without a doubt, my worst Valentine’s Day was the one where I found out my husband was having an affair—he sent us both flowers for the occasion and told me so! Divorce followed, and I’m now happily married to a great new ‘Valentine.’”
—Susan Zimmerman, Apple Valley, MN

From enraged to engaged
“After dating for a year and a half, my boyfriend teased me all Christmas long that I was receiving a ‘big rock’ for Christmas. Imagine my disappointment when I did not receive an engagement ring! So, when Valentine's came around, I wasn't expecting anything. That day, I went to work and once again was disappointed when no flowers arrived. He didn't even call! That evening, I expected to open the door to a bouquet of roses. Wrong! I was so annoyed that when he told me we were going to the most romantic restaurant in Dallas, I said I'd never heard of it! The restaurant was fabulous, but I was still acting like the Ice Princess. However, halfway through dinner I began to thaw. All this time, Mark was so sweet. Finally, the waiter brought a silver-domed tray and announced, ‘A special treat for the lady.’ I expected a decadent dessert, but instead, lying on a bed of red rose petals, was the most gorgeous diamond ring I've ever seen! We were married seven months later and it's been wedded bliss ever since!”
—Carla McClanahan, Dallas, TX

“We were both sick and stooped over the toilet in his bathroom; so much for our $150 dinners…”
Happy birthday—not so much
“My birthday is on February 14th and if you’re single on that day, trust me—it means having both a bad V-Day and a bad birthday!”
—Emily Zyborowicz, New York, NY

Double dump
“In college, my roommate Laura and I dated two guys who were best friends—I’ll call them Nick and Dick. The night before Valentine’s Day, Dick broke up with me. I thought that was the lamest move ever—until the next day, when Nick broke up with Laura 15 minutes before they were supposed to go out for Valentine’s Day! It sucked, but in true college style, we drowned our sorrows in pizza and beer by the pitcher.”
—Jenny Burns, Boston, MA

Alternative amour
“I’m not into overly romantic stuff, so my best V-Day was when my guy at the time surprised me with sea monkeys and tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters with him.”
—Jen Johnson, Brooklyn, NY

Lisa Lombardi is a New York-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in Marie Claire, Redbook and Child.
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