Monday, February 14, 2011


The Best Time I _______ on Valentine's Day

I was living in a city I pretty much hated and was hung up on this dude I'd been on and off with for years. We were in a serious off phase, and so for Valentine's Day I agreed to go out with a couple of girls I knew socially but not especially well.

We sit down to dinner at a divey Salvadorean place, and one of the girls proceeds to tell the rest of us about a mutual friend who won't stop trying to booty call her. I quickly realize she's talking about the guy I myself am so heartsick over. Deciding I'm not going to go full Seventeen magazine and start crying, I suggest we all make drinks at my apartment before heading to the dance party (in the basement of an Ethiopian restaurant) we were supposed to attend. The real reason for this sudden desire to be hospitable was so I could change into a white leather pencil skirt (!?) I'd purchased earlier that week at a church-run thrift shop.

Sufficiently drunk and tarted up, I make it to the party and realize pretty quickly that the combination of pupusas, the flask of gin I'd brought in my purse, and my leather skirt was not a good one, and when the object of my affection and some of his bros appeared (presumably to woo someone other than me), I announce, in what I assumed was a dignified tone, that I was leaving to go to another, cooler party with my "secret cool friends that you guys don't know."

I promptly throw up in a trash can outside the party space, and even more promptly notice that everyone inside saw. Walking home, uphill, a woman's voice coming from behind alerts me to the fact that my skirt has ripped significantly along the back seam. Turning around to thank her/make an "aww, shucks, Valentine's Day" joke, I notice that she is a famous Congresswoman standing in a double-date group with an equally famous Senator and they're all looking at me like, "oof, HOPE OUR DAUGHTERS DON'T END UP LIKE HER."

I still have the skirt, BTW. —Angela Serratore

I’ve always cared more about Valentine’s Day than I've wanted to admit, and so a few years ago when my new boyfriend asked if we should ask for the night off (we were waiters at the same restaurant) I said, no, of course not. Better to make money off all the romantic suckers.

The problem was I did care, I just didn’t want to admit it, and this led to a cognitive dissonance that my brain apparently handled by concluding that, all evidence to the contrary, my boyfriend was actually organizing an elaborate Valentine’s Day surprise. Nothing could dissuade me of this, either — not seeing that we were both listed to work that night on the schedule (“What an elaborate ruse!” I thought, “He has even involved our coworkers”), or how my boyfriend took me bowling and out to lunch when the day arrived, because, as he said, “we’re working tonight.”

It wasn’t until we reached not only the restaurant (“Maybe our romantic dinner is here?”) but the staff entrance that I realized we really were working, and so I burst into tears. I had even brought along a dress and heels to change into, I was this deluded. The worst part is I then stonewalled my boyfriend for most of the night, furious at him for not creating a surprise I had never even hinted I wanted.

As our shift wore on, though, I noticed that of the many, many couples I was serving dinner, many of them were fighting too, and I found this comforting, probably because I am a bad person. From this it also (finally) occurred to me that maybe Valentine’s Day actually is sort of a stupid holiday. All it does is stress everyone out. My boyfriend and I ended up getting dinner when our shift was over, which was nice, but I’ve never cared all that much about Valentine’s Day since. —Molly Langmuir

My friend Carrie used to visit me every Valentine's Day weekend, and we'd go to the same place and split a bucket of wings. The first time we did it, I'd never had wings before, and the second time we did it, I said something like, "But it's also cool that we're doing something healthy on Valentine's Day," and she was like, "What?" and it came out that I thought wings were good for you. Anyway, that part doesn't really matter, but those were my favorite Valentine's Days. —Edith Zimmerman

Sophomore year of college. Totally in love for the first time. (He played lacrosse, you guys! LACROSSE.) I was so super pumped about spending this day of coupledom wrapped up in the arms of my man that I bought boxers with hearts on them, heart-shaped cookies, a teddy bear with a heart on its shirt, and a heart-covered card with a message of love on the inside. I also drew a heart next to my name. I was so prepped and ready for this holiday to begin.

I carefully arranged this pile of gifts on my desk and waited for my boyfriend to come over after practice. (LACROSSE practice.) I’m pretty sure I wiled away a few hours simply imagining what he had purchased for me. (I didn’t get too fancy, but I was definitely ready for some flowers.)

Boyfriend walked into the room without a rose in sight. But as I plied him with my romantic onslaught, I held out hope that the BEST PRESENT EVER was hiding somewhere under his windbreaker.

He seemed uncomfortable with his gifts, obviously, but I didn’t care because it was finally my turn, and — yes! — he handed over a pink envelope and a crumpled paper bag.

First, I opened the card. One of those candy conversation hearts was on the front, but instead of “Love Bug” or “You + Me," it said “Do Me.” Inside, another conversation heart said “Now.” Under which he'd signed his name.

Then I opened the bag, which contained a Beanie Baby pig. I held it together for a good five minutes. I think I hugged, and even thanked, my boyfriend. He went about chatting per usual, describing class and practice and whatever else college students talk about (drugs?) until he noticed that I wasn’t responding.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

I took this as my cue to burst into tears.

“You gave me a DO ME NOW PIG for VALENTINE’S DAY!” I cried. “You didn’t even wrap it!”

Eventually, after much cajoling, I forgave my boyfriend and we even laughed about it.

Until the next day, when I ran into his teammate.

“DO ME NOW PIG!” he shouted.

I did happen to spend the next Valentine’s Day with the same boyfriend, and he got me flowers that time around. But every so often, for the remainder of my college years, after a lot of drinking and in the middle of parties, I'd hear “DO ME NOW PIG!” and look up to find a lacrosse player winking at me. —Lindsay Hood

Sophomore year of high school, I broke up with my first boyfriend shortly after Valentine’s Day, right after he took two Nerds Ropes™ and Scotch-taped them into a heart shape and hid them in my locker, because I was kind of awful.

Two years later, this same guy and I got into a car accident on Valentine’s Day and totaled his parents’ car. Hooray! —Emma Barrie

The first year my husband and I were married, it was almost February and we were kind of, so, do we... I mean... if anyone should, it's us, right, but oh my god how do you even do that? Who buys who what? Where do we go? Do we have to hold hands there? Ahhhhh! And then after considerable anxiety, one of us pointed out that, hey, we're grown-ass married adults, no holiday is the boss of us! Somehow, this snowballed into the idea that there should be a late-winter holiday devoted to seriously doing whatever you want and not feeling bad about it, and we decided to make it February 24th (also my half-birthday!) and call it Stabbytines Day, because, I don't even know, we could! We teamed up with our friends Flora and Thayer and I think we ate pancakes and then went to Teddy Roosevelt's house and then watched the first season of Miami Vice?

It's since become a sort of floating holiday — you just declare it, though late winter is a great time for it (especially since this year the traditional Stabbytines date will be right after the Bar exam, so I am going to need it so hard). We continue to celebrate with Flora and Thayer, and more recent excursions have included a trip to Philadelphia where we had about 30 pages of stuff I'd printed out about different cheesesteaks, and we stayed across from the King of Prussia Mall and went to whatever Caribbean-themed bar was there; a slider tour of North Jersey; and a bunch of stuff on Staten Island. It doesn't matter where you go or what you do there. The only requirements are that you can't think "oh, I should be working," or "oh, I shouldn't be eating all these sliders."

Basically, a lot of things about being a grownup suck — and having to stress on or around Valentine's Day might be one of them. But when you were little, weren't you ever like, ahhhh so jelz, big people can eat cake whenever & have no bedtimes? It's true. You can. You can eat cake whenever. You have no bedtime. That's fucking fantastic and deserves to be celebrated, don't even kid yourself! Happy Stabbytines Day, Grownups! —Carrie Hill Wilner

I was living in Europe with my worst boyfriend ever. He had confessed to cheating on me (extensively) but somehow convinced me to take him back because oh now he realized just how deeply he loved me, etc. And I didn't quite have the wherewithal at that point to orchestrate moving back to the states. So I spent months kidding myself that actually, we were really happy, no really, happy! But I sort of hated him, and our life, and myself.

For Valentine's Day, I baked him a chocolate cake and decorated it with cinnamon hearts and those terrible edible silver balls. I spelled out, You Are Beautiful. I do not know why. Then I elaborately did my hair, and wore a new black slip thing and (I am mortified) wrote something on my leg. Thank you, my brain, for blacking out what exactly I wrote on my leg, but I wrote something, in pretty calligraphy-looking script, in waterproof eyeliner, up my leg from my ankle to my hip. I assume it was something provocative? God, I don't know. I also made his favorite dinner, and bought and wrapped gifts for him. During my all-day preparations, I was half aware that I was doing all of it because I knew he would forget Valentine's Day, or get me something awful, or screw it up somehow, and I wanted to be able to throw a big tantrum. It was a trap.

When he got home he looked dazed from all the holiday nonsense. He said something like, "Oh I was going to get you something, but I thought I should just, you know, take you out somewhere, um... soon." And I immediately started crying and told him how I do so much more for him, he is ruining my life, etc. Then I told him I was leaving him. But didn't for four more months. Let's never mention or think of this time in my life ever again. I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to one relationship that they don't have to explain later, because it cannot be explained. —Anonymous

The Best Time I Ditched My Boyfriend in Favor of Ron Jeremy. In my defense, my boyfriend at the time was too strung out on opiates to get off the couch anyway (it was a good year for me), so when a last-minute opportunity to interview Ron "The Hedgehog" Jeremy presented itself to me on Valentine's Day, I took it. Like any decent Valentine's Day celebration, he took off his pants, kind of bounced it around in front of me for a while, told me I had great tits, and asked if I wanted to fuck (I didn't; he said "your loss"). Then he called my boyfriend and told him that he had shoes older than him. —Diana Vilibert

Previously: How I Learned What Sex Was.

Collage of Valentine's notes from junior high by Taylor Orci

57 Comments / Post A Comment


Two years ago I was traveling in Bolivia, and it was carnival (Bolivian carnival which is like a weird water fight drinking game that lasts for DAYS also there is lots of dancing in the streets) and I agreed to meet this cute Australian that I made out with in a night club for Valentine's day dinner. We went to this hamburger place that had paper cupids hung from the ceiling and the electricity went out so we ate dinner in the dark which was a strange combination of fun and creepy. After, we went to a tourist bar and got pina coladas, but his gave him an stomach infection and he threw up in the street and the bolivian dancers that weren't drunk yelled at us.

Toby Jug

This is the best time I've been drunk before five for Valentine's day.

Definitely skipping French class. Je ne regrette rien.


Diana does have nice tits.


Anybody else besides me think; She does have nice tits and then immediately think better leave it to saythatscool? I can't be the only one.

Diana Vilibert

Thanks guys (ladies?) I'd also like to clarify that that's Ron's Sharpied signature on my boobs, NOT a tattoo. Just so you don't get the wrong idea.


Diana, you're gorgeous, and you've got a great rack, and neither of those facts does a damned thing to save Ron Jeremy. Creeeeeepy.


I often ask myself "what would saythatscool do?".

Hot mayonnaise

Yes. I'm trying to figure out what's going on with the tank top, but regardless, it's being put to the test.


so wait a minute...titty tatts are tacky now??

well the 2 big ones that i have on my 2 big ones DISAGREE!!


I have had zero memorable Valentinses, but who cares. Valentine's Day to me is all about my sister, Val, who grew up hating being told "Happy Val Day!" all day and thus my duty as younger sister to be a giant nuisance, I have all my friends text "Happy Val Day" to her all day long. She loves it now, she looks forward to the barrage of texts from strangers. I also named a hissing cockroach after her (thanks for bringing that joy to my attention, hairpin).


That first story is like the synopsis of every holiday/birthday of my twenties, combined.

This year I told my boyfriend, "Valentine's day is a sham! A Hallmark holiday designed to make single people miserable and couples stressed out!" and then when I asked him two days ago what he was getting for me, he said, "nothing. You said not to celebrate V day!" and I told him, "UGH, but you still have to BUY me something!" I'm awful.


Angela - I recognized your city as soon as you mentioned the dance party in the basement of the Ethiopian restaurant, as I have also been there, just once, and was pretty much freaked out. But I empathize, as I have grown to hate this city too. I'm still trapped here though :(

If it makes you feel better, I once puked at bus stop on the corner of [redacted] right outside of the [redacted] Metro stop.

Hot mayonnaise

I thought I knew what the city was too. Are there lots of Ethiopian restaurants with clubs in the basements?


My spidey-sense was already tingling at "Salvadorean restaurant", because I have only seen them here, and then the Ethiopian place pretty much nailed it. The famous Congresswoman and Senator removed any last shred of doubt that might have been left...


Carrie ahhhhh! My boyfriend and I also invented a holiday. We celebrate it instead of Valentine's Day or an anniversary, and it's in May because that is halfway between Christmas and the first of the two birthdays. When we first were like ha ha, let's make up a holiday, it was with trepidation, like, BUT OK can we really just MAKE UP a holiday? With presents and everything?


Patrick M

My friends and I noticed that after the High Holy Days of fall and early winter you hit a long stretch of bullshit holidays that are just there to get you through to summer, so we tried to invent a better holiday called Pie Day (we didn't know that this was a thing); on this day, you wear pajamas all day, play board games, watch movies from your childhood and eat nothing but pie.
The day we ended up being able to get everyone together, though, turned out to be the first nice day in Brooklyn in weeeeeeks; the sun was out, plus birds. The board games were fine, but it turns out we had spent 15 years breaking down all of the neural connections related to, say, “Red Dawn” so we wouldn’t have to think about it and watching it brought it all back with concomitant insecurities. Also, that’s a lot of pie?

But good luck to everyone else.


Ooh yeah. I could see that SOUNDING great but then what if you want to go outside on the actual day or eat a burger or something? And eating pie is more fun when it's not work.

I think it's easier to commit to a general sense of festivity and then pick the activities from there. Then you can change your plans based on the weather or whatever. Also, fancy cocktails are important, I think.

Carrie Hill Wilner

You know what, I the "general sense of festivity" is why the 4th of July is my favorite real holiday. No stuff to do, just grilling and beer and then someone, somewhere, makes EXPLOSIONS, and then more grilling and beer and maybe you're on a roof or something or maybe not. And Thanksgiving is also pretty good (if it's not at your house), bc it's just eating and then some people watch TV and some people don't. It's like the Founding Fathers/Pilgrims totally knew about Stabbytines Day. . . I am pretty clearly onto some Illuminati Nick Cage National Treasure shit.

barbara millicent roberts

one year in high school my boyfriend made me cookies for valentine's day. they were terrible. then he got high and ate them all.


Ooh, this is going to be my Valentine's Day! I got to go learn how to bake poorly. And then get baked.


Last week when Gawker asked for people's breakup stories to celebrate V-Day, I stupidly added mine. It was a pathetic tale of how I was casually dating this guy for like a year but I was secretly madly in love with him and then he moved to another city without saying goodbye? And it really hurt my feelings because that was three years ago and I never heard a word from him.

Well, motherfucker somehow SAW MY COMMENT, figured out it was me, and emailed me all apologizing for not contacting me for three years and explaining that he'd been through some really rough shit. Which is a nice gesture, I guess, but I feel really stupid.

With my luck he probably reads The Hairpin, too. Happy Valentine's Day, J!


I didn't think anyone could see comments since the Gawker re-design.

Also, moded!


Oh god, I hate him.


Ack, Lindsay, I had lame sophomore year boyfriend too - he gave me a box of Sweettart hearts for Val's Day and then got pissed off when I got a stomach bug later that night and threw them up. (And when we couldn't have sex, of course.) Not quite DO ME NOW PIG, but...

And Carrie, my actual birthday is Stabbytines, whoo hoo! As it is a "big" birthday this year I am going to party the crap out of Stabbytines.

Lily Rowan

I am totally celebrating Stabbytine's Day this year! Awesome.


lol...my "boyfriend" of 13 years has to literally be forced to go and buy me V-Day presents....i say "boyfriend" cuz he is really just my babydaddy that lives with me...but that is neither here nor there...3 years ago i had to physically kick him out of the house to go buy me something! "but i dont wanna!" "GO! now or you will NEVER have sex with me AGAIN!!" he begrudginly went and bought me a stuffed dog or something from a side of the road vendor! i dont even bother anymore...i buy myself shit!! FUCK HIM!

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

#2 sounds like something I would have done during the time I was on hormonal birth control - a period referred to in our house as the "Dark Ages".

Alexandra Martell

"But when you were little, weren't you ever like, ahhhh so jelz, big people can eat cake whenever & have no bedtimes? It's true. You can. You can eat cake whenever. You have no bedtime. That's fucking fantastic and deserves to be celebrated, don't even kid yourself!" really speaks to me.

Jane Marie

when i was in jr. high the 8th grade basketball team presented me with one of those giant heart shaped boxes of candy in the hallway before class and i almost started to cry i was so flattered and then i opened it and every single piece of candy had a bite taken out of it and many were really spitty and slobbery. the end.


Oh, man. 8th graders. Unequaled bitchez and a-holes, the whole lot of 'em.


Angela, I knew which city you were talking about after the Salvadorian restaurant and church thrift shop - but I might have been projecting because I hate it here too.


I have been lucky in that I have (part by design, part by circumstance) rarely been in a relationship on Valentine's Day. Four years ago, I spent about $500 on Valentine's Day taking my then-girlfriend to a super-nice restuarant, super-expensive cocktails, and a fucking-expensive boutique hotel. We had a blast - much laughing, drinking, and fucking. Then she dumped me three weeks later. We stayed friends because apart from the wasted V-Day money, she was a phenomenal woman, but then she was murdered and that put an end to that.


OMG- You killed her with kindness!


Holy Moly, that strap is barely holding it together.


Should a Hairpin support group be formed for residents of the despised city of residence in Angela's story? The city that we residents recognize immediately from the description, yet all seem unwilling to explicitly name? Because I'd be all over that.


I'll name it! It's the city 20 miles south of my horrid existence in suburban Maryland. And yes, I need a support group. Come up on the Red Line would you?


@HelloT: I just pray you aren't in Rockville.


I created an account just to voice my support for this idea.


ruh roh. Rockville is actually more enjoyable than Bethesda, in my experience, for reasons I still don't fully understand, but have learned to not question.


@scrolly: dingdingding! You'd totally crush that Watson computer wouldn't you?


This MD-bashing thread is highly amusing. I grew up in Rockville, and of course no longer live there. I worked in Bethesda for a year or so temping in ultra-yuppie finance. I once made out with half the staff of Mongolian Buffet at some dive Bar/restaurant(there is like 1 non-restaurant bar in MD due to stupid liquor related laws there). Sure, I got out of Montgomery County, but I live in Berkeley (mostly for work). Is this better? I doubt it.


I fully support this! Create a MeetUp group??


How do you all manage? I grew up there, and escaped to a real city as soon as I could. You have my sympathy, all of you!


Much later to the game, I am seconding. Although I'm from the Virginia side of things :)


Whatever. Y'all have a SUBWAY. Don't you even understand how awesome that is?

Whitmans Sampler

Hey! I like it here!
Although, I do wish I didn't have settle for Salvadoran food all the time when what I really want is Mexican... but I guess that's what I get for leaving CA!


I guess every girl's had romantic dreams Ron Jeremy would hit on her on Valentine's day.


I like to go to bowling alleys and dive bars on Valentines day, since they're never really busy, and I need a fucking stuffed teddy bear like I need the clap. I was trying to explain this to my now-boyfriend that I preferred to love him every day instead of overspending on stupid shit on a hallmark holiday, except I was drunk and my explanation was that I was a "Valentine's Day Jehovah Witness". I don't quite know what to do with myself sometimes.


Last Valentine's Day, I made a mix CD and baked brownies with my boyfriend, who never did fall in love with me. We both spent all day slightly miserable, pretending we didn't both know that we'd never feel the same.

This year (did it really take me a year?), I am drinking wine and listening to a mix CD sent me by my best gf from high school in honor of my new singledom. Ima order me some Thai food. This year is better by far!


Feb 24 is my birthday and I have been looking for years for someone whose birthday is my half-birthday and now I want to be friends with Carrie.

Valentine's Day makes me anxious. If I have a boyfriend, I wonder "What should I buy? What if he gets the wrong type of candy? What if I have an ingrown pube? What if I haven't pooped that day?" If I don't have a boyfriend, I hate all the hearts and pink.

Christine Marqua

The best time I went to In-N-Out with my most recent ex (who I was still in love with at the time) on 'Wednesday' aka February 14th, and ended up giving my number to the cashier.


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