I was talking to a friend yesterday who was bemoaning her singledom. And it was one of those moments where I, as a person in a relationship, was looked at like I had it all figured out. That I just had always had boyfriends and I knew what I was doing with my romantic life and had never suffered the unbearableness of being single on Valentine’s Day. I confessed to her that before my fiance, I had spent every February 14th with my friends or completely alone. Then I went on to tell her about a very awkward, kind of sweet, first Valentine’s Day.
I was 30 years old and had never had a Valentine. I had been dumped on Valentine’s Day. I had been dumped a week before Valentine’s Day. I’d been stood up on Valentine’s Day. I didn’t have a great history with the day of love.
For our first Valentine’s Day together my fiance and I decided to spend the weekend in Atlantic City. Both of us love gambling so he booked us a nice room at a hotel/casino. I should also mention that this was our first weekend getaway as well. No pressure or anything.
I had just finished grad school and was unemployed, so I didn’t have tons of money to spend on a gift. But I did know one thing…lingerie was a must. In all my dating time, I had never had a guy that I felt comfortable enough with to wear lingerie for. i had come close with a guy, had the fancy panties on and then I found out he actually had a girlfriend, but that’s another story.
So I thought, this guy was going to be the first to see me in scandalous underwear. I obsessively shopped. I went to every place imaginable. Everything was either too expensive, too slutty or both. Finally I found a simple, lace night gown at a small shop in Brooklyn. Lingerie accomplished.
The next step was the gift. Since I spent most of the money on the lingerie, I thought I would MAKE a gift. At the time I was on a baking kick and I knew that he loved cinnamon rolls. So with the help of my amazing sister, I found a doable recipe. I ended up throwing out the first batch because the dough didn’t rise. But the second rose enough (or so I thought). They actually turned out to be very….. dense….to put it nicely. Frankly, they could have been used as bricks.
So that Saturday, we take the 2 hour ride up to AC. He gets me a card and chocolates (and the room in AC). We gamble up a storm. We drink. We have dinner. We have an awkward exchange with a drunk guy at a blackjack table that asked if we were in love— cool off guy, it’s only been 3 months!
Then, after we’d consumed enough champagne, we make our way up to the room. I was drunk, but still sober enough to be nervous about the lingerie. This was not going to be our first adult sleepover. Or the first time he would be near my naked body. But lingerie sets expectations. Lingerie says “hey, look at my body!” in a way that being naked doesn’t. When I went into the bathroom to change, I told him to not laugh at me. (In hindsight, why would a man laugh at a scantily clad woman? Unless she told him to laugh.)
I tiptoed out of the bathroom doubled over, trying to protect my exposed parts and dove under the covers to hide.
Anyway, no need to go into the rest. The nightie was a hit and the Valentine’s Day was a success (he went on a 45 minute run at the craps today that he still talks about to this day). Although I’m not sure either of us enjoyed those cinnamon rolls very much (he did make a valiant effort though).
Much later he revealed to me that yes, those cinnamon rolls sat like bricks of lead in his stomach for days, but he continued to eat them…because I had made them for him.
And that’s when he knew he was in trouble.