Valentines, Schmalentines!

IT’S A LOAD OF &*%$#!

A Hallmark Holiday, a nasty way to trip up your other half and cause utter heartache! I read my share of pining FB posts from single people, upset they hadn’t received a single card/flower/chocolate/wedding proposal. It’s no different from any other day, there is just this awful expectation to prove something and if it’s not done properly it can be so destructive.

As you may have started to notice, I once worked as a server (waitress, depending on your preference) and I saw many a Valentines date go very, very wrong. And it happened if you sat at Table 204. I have no idea what it was about this particular table but every year the people who sat there were doomed. It was the very last table to be booked because we didn’t want to live through the drama.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I did a stint as a hostess; apparently being pregnant and a server makes people assume things and I was once asked if I knew who the father of my child was. That was a fun conversation and an even better tip! But I digress: I was hostessing over Valentines day and the actual day itself brought out the lazy and the desperate. My favorite call was from a guy who claimed to have booked before Christmas.

“I’m sorry, I don’t have your reservation,” I said again, for the 8th time. “We have a special menu for this day and reservations weren’t available until 3 weeks ago.”

“Ok,” the guy sighed, “I’m going to level with you. I forgot it’s Valentines day and I had promised my girlfriend I would book us a romantic meal and she really wants to eat at your restaurant. Please help me out.”

“As I said before, Sir, we are fully booked and have been for some time now.” I replied as nicely as I could. “I can put you on the waiting list if you’d like?”

“I really need a table…I’ll make it worth your while,” he then said slyly.

“Really?” I replied. Enough was enough and he was the third person to ‘make it worth my while.’ “And how are you going to do that? Do you want to slip me the $250 as you arrive or would you like me to ask for it during your dinner?”

“Well, I….$250?” he swallowed.

This number was bogus but I had had enough of all the attempted coercing and bribes because people had forgotten a day which has been blown out of proportion and has the potential to damage relationships. We really had nothing available and wouldn’t until 10.30pm.

“That’s the going rate. If you want to give me the money up front I’ll get you a great table. If not, then I would recommend you try somewhere else.”

There was a pause before the guy tucked his tail between his legs and admitted he was in for a rough night.

WHY is there so much pressure for people to go out of their way to prove they are romantic and caring and thoughtful for one day? I felt quite sorry for the guy – he really was in for trouble!

Table 204 was no different. That night a young couple broke up because the guy admitted to seeing someone else. Having arrived, all smiles and kisses and doe-eyed looks, the girlfriend absent-mindedly rummaged through her boyfriends phone while he was in the bathroom and came across a text that apparently needed explaining upon his return. His guilty look said it all and it was a disaster from then on. Did I mention they hadn’t even had their order taken yet?

I have witnessed marriages hit rocks, relationships take a tumble and enough blind dates to make you want to curl into a ball and hide until it’s all over! However, I have also witnessed an equal amount of marriage proposals, utterly romantic dinners that are borderline nauseating and (the other extreme) couples getting horrifically drunk and turning the night into a soft porn experience.

My husband and I have had a firm understanding from the very beginning that we wouldn’t celebrate Valentines day. We both feel it is overrated and we didn’t want to pressure the other into proving something we knew didn’t need proving. That’s just our preference though. I have friends who have very kind and romantic other halves and they wake up to roses and cards and a day of pampering and cuddles.

If you love someone, tell them you do everyday, not just because you have been fooled into thinking Valentines Day makes or breaks it. Be romantic when someone least expects it and the results are fabulous! If you are single, don’t dwell on the day. Carry on and the cards and flowers will appear in good time. Someone does love you everyday – your family, your friends, possibly your cat but that’s up for debate….definitely your dog though,that’s undeniable.



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