Happy UnValentine’s Day

Let’s face it: You haven’t really enjoyed Valentine’s Day since your fourth anniversary, when instead of chocolates and lingerie your spouse gave you a set of pots and pans. Now, the highlight of the day tends to be your child’s home-crayoned Valentine, and you’d just as soon ignore the whole high-pressure, enforced-romantic thing. Here, a step-by-step plan for celebrating UnValentine’s Day.

7 am—Come to consciousness, quickly extricating any body parts that have accidentally touched partner during sleep. You don’t want anybody getting any wrong ideas about February 14!

 7:05 am—Don’t brush teeth. Don’t comb hair. Don’t take shower.

 7:10 am—Depending on what your day will bring, dress in some configuration of loose-fitting turtleneck, shapeless sweater, baggy pants and walking shoes, preferably in the colors gray or brown. No jewelry, unless you happen to own a rhinestone pin that says, Bitch, which you can go ahead and wear.

 8:30 am—Consume breakfast of garlic bagels with scallion cream cheese washed down by plenty of black coffee. No one’s going to get close enough to kiss you today.

 9:10 am—While people may wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day and try to give you heart-shaped cards, you only have to indulge in such exchanges with loved ones under the age of 12.

Noon—Eat lunch alone while reading a copy of Heart of Darkness. If anyone approaches you, work on perfecting your scowl.

 2:20 pm—Avoid Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and greeting-card shops today, which will allow you to pretend it’s some other, less-pressured day: February 13, maybe, or 15.

 5:48 pm—Spot romantic couples arm-in-arm on the way to dinner and feel sorry for yourself, remembering all the Valentine’s Days you spent alone and/or miserable. Then feel sorry for yourself for feeling sorry for yourself.

 6:30 pm—When spouse offers you gift of lacy lingerie, ask whether you can exchange it for something you really want and need like, say, a cordless drill or one of those robes you climb into like a sleeping bag. You may, however, eat the candy; just be sure not to offer him any.

 7 pm—Cancel restaurant reservation and order in food: hummus, shrimp scampi, onion rings, anything that will top off your dragon breath.

 8 pm—Instead of talking over dinner, consume food while watching one of those romantic comedies that give romantic comedies a bad name, like Couples Retreat. Or, if you want to assure your partner you still love him despite your Valentine’s Day boycott, sports.

 9:38 pm—Fall asleep while watching movie, being sure to snore loudly and drool.

 11:12 pm—If spouse tries to get romantic in bed, say you’ve just got to check your Blackberry and then launch into a long story describing an e-mail thread involving your coworkers or your siblings. Keep talking until your spouse drops into a stupor: 10 minutes, tops.

 12:01 am—Valentine’s Day officially over, phew. Pressure to be happily in love, cuddly and 24/7 sexy has finally passed. Look at slumbering spouse, feeling guilty and something else, too: tender, affectionate, could it be…romantic? Kiss spouse and let things lead where they may, secure in knowing you’re free to be as loving as you really feel, at least until next Valentine’s Day.

Things To Never Ever Do

Think of this as a list made up entirely of things that should be forever crossed off.  Sure, we’ve all made these mistakes—or at least been seriously tempted. But, I’m here to tell you that none of these ever work out, so the best tack is just to decide right
now you’re never ever going to do any of the following:

1. Trash your spouse to your mother. One way or another, it will come back to bite you.

2. Believe the salesperson when she tells you that those shoes are going to stretch. They won’t, at least not in the direction you want them to.

3. Tell your friends that your teenager has a date, or acne, or a new prescription for ADD meds. It’s one thing to hash over your problems about your toddler, another thing to reveal a secret that would mortify your teenager.

4. Paint your bathroom chartreuse. It may be a cool color, but your complexion will not thank you.

5. Sleep with your best friend’s ex. No matter how much she assures you she doesn’t mind, she will.

6. Wear your jeans a size too small thinking they make you look a size smaller. They just make you look like you’re busting out of your jeans, and not in a good way.

7. Cry at work. Hold it in, head it off, and if worse comes to worst, there’s always the ladies’ room.

8. Confront someone via e-mail. It feels easier, but things can get way too heated and complicated way too quickly. Better to make your way gingerly through a phone conversation or better yet, have a face to face.

9. Eat tuna fish before a party. Your conversation may be sparkling, but your breath won’t be.

10. Order a second cocktail on a first date. One may not be enough, but two is definitely too many.

11. Rely on your handbag to impress someone.  Kindness, yes. Intelligence, of course. But if your purse is the most impressive thing about you, you’ve got some soul-searching to do.

12. Hook up with your neighbor. It’s late, at a party, no one’s looking, it just happened…. We know, we know, but we have only two words to say to you: Tomorrow morning.

13. Wear white shoes before Memorial Day, eat oysters in any month whose name doesn’t include an r, and fail to send a thank-you note.  About some things, Mom is still right.

14. Curse at the cops. You’ll never bully him out of giving you a ticket. Tears, however, might work.

15. Ignore the toothache, the weird mole, the lump. It’s probably nothing, especially if you deal with it now and not in October.

 

The Possibility of You. Check out Pamela Redmond Satran’s newest novel,
The Possibility of You. Satran
is a best-selling author and
a columnist for Park Place
and Glamour magazines.


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