I’m feeling conflicted about Valentine’s Day. This could be due to its dark history—the feast of Lupercalia, when those goofy Romans sacrificed goats and dogs and then flogged women with the hides. Or, maybe my debatable history in the romance department has dampened my ardor.
Consider my first real boyfriend. How wrong could a college freshman girl be when she lands a guy who drives a 1965 Mustang and wears gold jewelry and silk, monogramed shirts? This exciting romance blossomed my first week away from home attending a large university.
Soon came Thanksgiving break. I rushed home to regale my parents with glowing details about my new squeeze. Mom did what mothers do when their daughters fall in love, nod and smile supportively.
New evidence delivered a new spin on love.
My father, a circuit court judge, was more circumspect. Buried in the newspaper sport’s section, he said nothing, until I mentioned the guy’s name. That’s when Dad folded the paper and quietly explained that he was in the midst of conducting a John Doe hearing into charges that my fabulous boyfriend’s father operated a loan sharking business. This significantly shortened the romance.
College boyfriend number two seemed like a better choice, at least on paper. That was until he broke into my jewelry drawer and helped himself to Aunt Cad’s amethyst ring. At least this one passed the bar exam and built a big law practice defending folks who transported and sold contraband.
I was beginning to think the giftwrapped copy of Damon Runyon’s Guys and Dolls that Dad gave me as a child had mysteriously drawn me to the likes of Nathan Detroit and Nicely Nicely Johnson.
So, I took up dating guys who worked in the library or held down responsible dishwashing jobs. Time passed, and so did any signs of romance.
Many years later and single once more, I entered divinity school hoping to find it felon-free. Amazingly, two wannabe romance capers occurred. First, a misguided priest started penning me letters professing his undying love. When I neglected to return the favor, he showed up in my office intending to take me on an unscheduled vacation. A security officer heard the rumpus and escorted the man out of the building. So much for felon-free.
Second, I signed up for a three-day retreat during which a charming fellow asked if he could be my retreat buddy. Very flattering, I might add. But you probably already guessed it. Things were not as they appeared. Eventually someone informed me that my new buddy was actually a prisoner out on a release program that allowed him attend the retreat. His offence: murdering his roommate.
When to say no to music and romance.
So, this cautionary tale suggests that I had better just calm down and let others enjoy music and romance on Valentine’s Day. On the other hand, if a good guy presented me with a gold star resume and security clearance from TSA, I might change my tune. For now though, it’s going to be a few good friends, a chicken potpie and a movie with my Jack Russell terrier.
What’s your romantic history—heartening, or harrowing?