February 14th is a perfect opportunity to plan a memorable date, so we asked readers to share their most interesting Valentine’s Day experiences with us. We got responses that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous — and some that were just plain scary. Check out these true tales of Valentine’s dates gone right... and others that went very, very wrong!
Their expensive evening left a bad taste in her mouth
“My boyfriend and I made reservations months in advance to spend Valentine’s Day at a famous restaurant. Since it was a special occasion, we decided to splurge on the tasting menu — it was filled with bizarre stuff, like cow intestines and raw fish. Naturally, we had to wash our food down with a bottle of wine. Afterward, we went back to his place and had just started kissing each other when all of a sudden, I felt sick. Then, he felt sick. We both ended up in his tiny bathroom taking turns vomiting up our $150 dinners. It couldn’t have been less romantic! We still don’t know if it was the weird combination of foods or if something was truly bad... but ever since then, we’ve stuck to dining at our local pasta joint.”
— Susan Anderson, New York, NY
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His bold move at the mall really paid off
“My best Valentine’s Day was the one where I met my husband. I was working a part-time job at the mall and was out on my lunch break, wandering around. I wasn’t looking to meet someone — he found me. He asked me out, and I turned him down. But can you blame me? I had no idea who he was — just some total stranger! But then I agreed to meet him the following week at a restaurant there in the mall during my dinner break. Nearly 30 years and three kids later, we’re still together.”
— Polly Franks, Richmond, VA
When the right flowers send the wrong message...
”Without a doubt, my worst Valentine’s Day was the one where I found out my husband was having an affair — he sent us both flowers for the occasion, and then told me so afterwards! Divorce followed shortly thereafter, and I’m now happily married to a great new ‘Valentine.’”
— Susan Zimmerman, Apple Valley, MN
From enraged to engaged
“After dating for a year and a half, my boyfriend teased me all holiday season long that I was going to be receiving a ‘big rock’ for Christmas. Imagine my disappointment when I didn’t get an engagement ring from him that year! So when Valentine’s Day came around, I genuinely wasn’t expecting anything. That day, I went to work as usual — and once again, I was disappointed when no flowers arrived. He didn’t even call me that day! That evening, I expected to open the door to a bouquet of roses. Nope! I was so annoyed that when he told me we were going to the most romantic restaurant in Dallas, I said I’d never even heard of it. The restaurant was fabulous, but I was still giving him the cold shoulder. However, halfway through dinner, I finally began to thaw. All this time, Mark was being so sweet. Finally, the waiter brought a silver domed tray and announced: ‘A special treat for the lady.’ I expected a decadent dessert, but instead found the most gorgeous diamond ring I’ve ever seen lying on a bed of red rose petals. We were married seven months later, and it’s been nothing but wedded bliss ever since.”
— Carla McClanahan, Dallas, TX
Have a not-so-happy birthday!
“My birthday is on February 14th, and if you’re single on that day, trust me — it means having both a bad Valentine’s Day and a bad birthday!”
— Emily Zyborowicz, New York, NY
How two best friends led to double the heartbreak
“In college, my roommate Laura and I dated two men who were best friends — I’ll call them Nick and Rick. The night before Valentine’s Day, Rick broke up with me. I thought that was the worst move ever — until the next day, when Nick broke up with Laura 15 minutes before they were supposed to go out for their Valentine’s Day date. It was horrible, but in true college-student style, Laura and I drowned our sorrows in pizza and beer by the pitcher.”
— Jenny Burns, Boston, MA
Small gestures can have the biggest impact on someone
“I’m not into overly romantic stuff, so my best V-Day was when my boyfriend at the time surprised me with a gift of sea monkeys and tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters with him.”
— Jen Johnson, Brooklyn, NY
Lisa Lombardi is a New York-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in Marie Claire, Redbook and Child.