Happy Valentine’s Day…you big jerk

crossposted at blogher.com

Valentine’s Day has always been a bit of a tense joke in our house. You see after nearly 9 years of marriage and those many years of dating before hand- Valentine’s Day has always, without question, sucked.

It’s been known since our very first V-Day in 1997, after a year of dating, as “the day we fight and eat Italian Food.”

My husband tells the story of our first Valentine’s Day as “that time I took you to that super nice Italian restaurant in Orlando and you wouldn’t stop interrupting me so I stopped talking.”

I tell the story as “that time you ruined our special night out because you told me you didn’t ever want to get married or have kids.”


Anyway, every single year since that first fateful holiday we’ve gotten Italian food and fought. Every. Single. Year. Even the years I was pregnant and stuck in bed, we’ve had Italian food. Even the years one of us was at work, we had Italian carry out on an office floor. Even the years we’ve forgotten it was even a holiday, we’ve ended up with some sort of pasta and red sauce and wine.

Call it tradition. Call it “Erin has ridiculous, romantic expectations.” Call it my yearly disappointment.

Actually, I take that back. It USED to be my yearly disappointment. When my husband, very unceremoniously, announced he wasn’t going to participate in that “Stupid, fake, Hallmark Holiday” and never buy me a gift I was pretty pissed off. No presents? What the hell? Not even some flowers? Jerk. And every year I would brood and pout and more than likely instigate the fight that would inevitably follow the eggplant parm.

But as time went on, I recognized something almost sweet in our little tradition. Just that fact that we HAD a tradition was a meaningful way to celebrate the hoilday. And we did it in our own way…every year we get Italian food and every year we laugh about that first horrible V-Day and every year we end up fighting all over again.

It’s almost cute. It’s almost romantic. It’s certainly a married couple’s Valentine’s Day.

What are your Valentine traditions? Do you have any? Do you have those expectations like I always do of candy and roses?

I can’t be the only one.

For some more Valentine’s fun check out

Joy to the Blog


Jendi’s Journal

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain Blog


  1. That’s actually kind of sweet. My husband and I don’t do well with holidays. Not as far as gift-giving is concerned at least. Any and every gift-giving holiday typically consists of us going to Wal-Mart on payday (together, and with our 4 year old) I’ll see something kind of cool, and he’ll say, “Well… Valentine’s Day is in 5 weeks. Why don’t we just get that now as an early present?”
    Then, on the actual day, nothing. Not that I really care. I’ve never been particularly romantic. I like flowers, but I hate cleaning vases and almost always end up having to throw out the vase because I waited way too long and now there’s stuff stuck in the bottom part that I can’t reach…
    My husband is also the head cook at the busiest restaurant in my town and rarely gets holidays off that he doesn’t request 6 months in advance and remind the scheduling manager every week until the actual day of.
    So, I guess our tradition consists of unceremoniously buying each other something special weeks ahead of time and then not seeing each other on the day of. I should probably work out something to do for our daughter though.

  2. Every Valentines day is fail. I invariably attempt to do something sweet, which falls apart. Either the food sucks or the wine is poison or I get dumped. I had one good valentines day. I covered my apartment in candles, cooked a homemade dinner, surprised her after work, made a cake and then we slow danced in the candle light. I got dumped 4 days later. V day is fail day. This valentines day I’m getting my car fixed. #suckit cupid

  3. I’m with Will. #suckit cupid!!!

  4. My best friend Kim and I talk about this a lot regarding Valentine’s Day. It’s probably my favorite holiday of the year because I don’t have huge boyfriend/husband expectations. Valentine’s Day is about showing I love -everyone- I love. So for me it’s more of that Christmas giving feeling without the insane need to spend a whole lot.

    I make cards for everyone in the office, I’ll send emails and ecards, or do something nice for the family. I think that’s why my Valentine’s Day have never really sucked.

  5. Yeah Tabz I think if I could drop the expectations…it would be a great day.

  6. For years I’ve been involved with men who didn’t believe in V day. Now I’m involved with someone who does and I don’t. Yikes – just can’t be satisfied. So we may or may not have dinner the night before. And then V day will just be another day. For me at least. Maybe not for him?

  7. If he does believe in it, it will NOT be just another day for him.

  8. so i’m a goober for traditions too and i’m not bein’ left out just cuz i don’t have the traditional couple thang goin’ on..so i treat feb as my reminder to nurture my heart month…seriously…can any of us not afford to pause and nurture ourselves a wee bit more? i spend feb asking ‘how can I love myself more..what can I be a bit more accomodatin on? a bit more tolerant of? how can I squelch the dictator admonishments? how can I companion consistently with patience and forgiveness, with spontaneity and joy?…just sayin’. But I do one other thing: bring on the chocolate. all month. what’s this one day thing? 🙂 enjoy ur pasta & boxing mtch 🙂

  9. Our Valentine’s Day changed for good about two years ago (we had been together 14 yrs at the pt). After we put the kids to bed, my hubby made me dinner and then we sat down to talk about what we wanted out of the year ahead. In a marriage – I believe in order to be truly happy and successful in whatever it is you want as a couple and individually – it is nice to be on the same page. So, we grabbed a piece a paper, a glass a wine, lit some candles and started writing anything down that came to mind. It didn’t matter how absurd it seemed. It was fun and we became even closer understanding what was important to the other person. And that year – everything we wanted, we achieved – together.

    This has become a tradition for us now. We also decided to rotate -so there was no pressure on just one person to make plans. I made plans last year and it’s his turn to come up with something this year. We turned what could be a sucky hallmark holiday filled with unmet expectations into something fun.

  10. Every February 14th, my husband wakes up, rolls over and says “Happy ValenSLIMES day!!” and that’s the end of it. Strangely, after a decade, I find I look forward to it…… 🙂

  11. My husband’s not even going to be in the country this Valentine’s Day! He’s overseas for work.
    But even if he was, we don’t make a big deal of it. When we were broke and starting a family I made him promise not to spend inflated prices on roses or flowers on V. Day. And I tell him not to bring my chocolates either, since I’m watching my weight. However, we usually have a nice dinner and a bottle of wine at home with the kids, and maybe watch a movie after they’ve gone to bed.
    This year, we will probably go out for dinner some time after he gets home. Part of me still wishes for roses or flowers, but I know it ain’t gonna happen!

  12. Fortunately my husband and I are in agreement regarding our lack of celebration on Valentine’s Day. We decided pretty early on to just exchange cards and call it good. Honestly, I can’t think of anything less romantic than trying to battle the crowds at a restaurant this year since Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday.

  13. Well, I’m not married, and this is my first Valentine’s Day – ever – well, at least one with a boyfriend – so I am actually looking forward to it. We decided we wanted to see Speed-the-Plow with William H. Macy before it closes on the 22nd, and we’re going dutch so we bought our own tickets. Then we’re going to a restaurant that I have already been to and he hasn’t that we thought would be semi-affordable (did I mention this is happening in NYC? Land of “Is the food laced with gold?” prices?). We’re exchanging presents, but pretty cheap. My gift to him is just $30 and it’s not even that romantic, it’s just something I wanted to get him so I am. Then we’ll probably go home and play cribbage and watch made for TV movies.

  14. Thanks so much for the link!
    I had to laugh at “It’s certainly a married couple’s VDay.”
    My husband is pretty sweet and usually remembers. I’m the one that forgets and then I feel horrible. It was a bit more exciting before we had so much to fight about. 🙂

  15. In the 1960s I found it odd that only girls/women received chocolate heart shaped Valentines. My brothers never did. I do not believe in feeling pressure to spend money on a gift “showing love” or a made up event like a Holiday. Yet I love celebrations and ADORE chocolate… we make cards using found beads, buttons, magazine goofy cutouts. After 24 years together with my hubby I have a lovely collection of these cards and our 13 year old adds her artistic hand. OK, I confess, I do want chocolate but not because I am a gal!

  16. That is so funny… I was going to post something about how absolutely crappy Valentine’s day is, but how it is sort of endearing, too, and you just posted it! Maybe that’s the way of married, parental Valentine’s Day? I think it’s ingenious that you’ve acknowledged your tradition… We’re still working on that! LOL…

  17. readergirl says:

    20 years ago, when we were dating, my husband and i broke up on every valentine’s day- he was a total tool and I was 18 or 19, so sue me! the corker came as we were headed into a retreat for engaged couples and he gave me my valentine’s card with a contact lens case tucked in it. i was sure i was destined for a lifetime of crap gifts, so i returned the ring right there. however, we are both cheap and had paid for the retreat, so we went in anyway.

    much like you and your hubby, 20 years later, we keep it low-key, laugh about that awful night and then argue all over again. ain’t love grand???

  18. I realized this year that for the first time ever Valentine’s Day is not an important celebration for me. My husband makes it obvious everyday that he loves me ALOT, no matter what. The one day we do celebrate our marriage and relationship is March 2, the first day we spoke after a 15 year deafening silence. He was my best friend 20 years ago, he is my best friend today.

    Traditions, even the seemingly small ones, are important. :o)

  19. I’ve been married for nearly 10 years now and dated for 2 prior to that. My hubby used to be a professional chef, so the “early years” were a gourmet food fest. But, after a few years under our belt and one 4 year old later, our tradition is much simpler – cheeseburgers. It used to be In-N-Out Burger when we lived in L.A., but any cheeseburger joint will do. I heart cheeseburgers. No big expectations for present. This year he gave me a box of 9 milk chocolate truffles (no dark for me!) that were uniquely selected based on my fave flavors – coconut, hazelnut, pistachio. Very simple, yet super thoughtful.

  20. Yo? actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I
    find this matter to be a?tually somet?ing that I th?nk I would never
    und?rst?nd. It seems t?o compl?cated and ver? broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for you? next post, I will tryy to get the h?ng of it!

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