I'm one of those girls who says they don't believe in Valentine's Day but I actually mean it. (And if you say that you don't care but really do just to confuse the crap out of your husband or boyfriend, I'm all for that too. Let's keep'em guessing, shall we?) The only time I've ever been remotely interested in this holiday is when I had just starting dating someone and was mildly curious if he considered me his girlfriend. If so, especially in the delirium of early courtship, they tend to get you something. It's a far less cumbersome litmus test than sitting down to read He's Just Not That Into You.
One year, I was dating a guy I'll call Buddy, only because his real name was equally inappropriate for a man in his early 30s. Buddy was going to make me dinner on Valentines Day, and the jury was still out on whether I deemed that sweet or cheap. The jury never officially convened to render a verdict, however, because of something that happened a few hours before dinner: A Vermont Teddy Bear was delivered to my office. The bear, for some reason that is still a mystery, was dressed as a fireman. (Buddy was not a fireman, I'm not an arsonist and I see no other reason of all the bears available this was the one chosen.)
I worked in a small office at the time and everyone under the age of 35 convened in my office for an emergency meeting. We sat the bear on an empty chair so he could participate in the conversation and extinguish a fire if necessary. After much debate (exactly 1 minute 12 seconds) we decided I would cancel dinner and go out drinking with my single friends instead where, with any luck, I could replace Buddy with another suitor that very evening. I wasn't getting any younger, my adorable little assistant pointed out, and wasting even one night with a man I would never marry seemed frivolous.
The thing is, I'm not very confrontational and was terrified to call and cancel last minute. Aforementioned assistant calmly asked everyone -- including me -- to leave my office. On my way out, she asked for Buddy's phone number. I gave it to her and she shut the door. About four minutes later she emerged from my office stone-faced and solemnly reported, "You'll never hear from him again." To this day, I have no idea what was said. I imagine this must be how it is in the mafia. Someone in "the family" just disappears one day and nobody really wants to know so it's never discussed.
Each year as February 14 approaches, I think fondly of Buddy. He was actually a decent guy, and I bet he found a nice girl who slept every night with the various stuffed animals he bestowed upon her until they married and moved to a house with a lovely white picket fence. And that bear? He bounced around our office, taking turns with whoever needed a pick-me-up and occasionally attending meetings in the conference room when we wanted to unnerve pushy sales people.
That was until my assistant quit to move home and marry her college sweetheart. It only seemed fitting the bear go with her. So we stripped him of his firefighting gear, dressed him up like a bride and sent him on his way.