PREPARING A ROMANTIC VALENTINE’S DAY EVENING IN 37 STEPS

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Ah, Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, and you can feel it everywhere — or is it just the anxiety that comes from the arrival of another major holiday? Not to worry. Simply follow these 37 easy steps and you’ll be enjoying a romantic* Valentine’s Day evening in no time.

*’Romantic’ is a subjective term and may include such nontraditional elements as lice shampoo and diaper blowouts.

  1. Begin Valentine’s Day game of chicken with partner by deciding not to partake in fake, commercial holiday manufactured by greeting card companies.
  2. Agree to put money you would’ve spent on flowers, chocolates, and over-priced lingerie in more practical 401k.
  3. Repeat “We don’t need a holiday to prove our love for each other” mantra often, posting it on social media sites and interjecting it frequently into conversations with friends and family.
  4. Genuinely believe in mantra until the day before Valentine’s Day when you realize that February 14th isn’t going to bring you heart-shaped chocolate boxes if you persist in this charade.
  5. Alert partner of change of plans, feeling surprised when he seems panicked, as this same scenario has played out every year since 2007.
  6. Scramble to find last-minute babysitter.
  7. Briefly consider returning to “We don’t need a holiday … ” mantra when all babysitters are unavailable due to their happily-committed relationship statuses.
  8. Reconsider when you remember the chocolate.
  9. Also briefly consider hacking into preferred babysitter’s boyfriend’s phone in order to send her break-up text.
  10. Decide against this as well, as would be unethical. And would take too long.
  11. Plus, you’d need to call in that NSA favor, and you’re saving that for a rainy day.
  12. Try to locate lingerie in overstuffed underwear drawer to prepare for now stay-at-home Valentine’s celebration.
  13. Discover that lingerie was purchased two sizes (and approximately seven years) ago, but force it on anyway, pleading for help from romance gods.
  14. Notice with a start that you are late to pick kids up from school.
  15. Attempt to quickly remove lingerie and put back on respectable mom clothes.
  16. Realize this process will require much more time than you have, and hastily throw trench coat on over entire ensemble instead.
  17. On ride to school, attempt to sort out what bathroom mirror reflection of yourself wrestling with lingerie reminds you of.
  18. Realize with horror that mental image is a dead ringer for video of dog stuck in over-inflated inner tube that has been circulating.
  19. Decide that maybe “Netflix and chill” would actually be a better course of action this Valentine’s Day.
  20. Except for the “chill” part.
  21. Remember that you scheduled your son’s parent/teacher conference for this afternoon — the afternoon that you are officially dressed like a stripper-gram.
  22. Reason that everything will be OK as long as there isn’t a sudden windstorm.
  23. Tune in to favorite radio station and begin singing along to 90s grunge song in attempt to defuse mounting stress level.
  24. Wish DJ would stop referring to song as an “oldie.”
  25. Wonder what you did in a past life that would merit current turn of events, as weatherman excitedly announces arrival of “freak, pop-up windstorm.”
  26. Arrive to school amidst gales of leaves, debris, and small children that are currently blowing past car window.
  27. Give self 30-second pep talk, strategizing how to get baby, purse, and self inside while simultaneously holding trench coat down. You can do this.
  28. Quickly realize after exiting the car that you, in fact, cannot do this.
  29. Thank previously-cursed karma for the fact that school parking lot is somehow miraculously empty.
  30. Make it through parent/teacher conference without incident. (You don’t consider your son being the class biter an incident, given current apparel-related circumstances.)
  31. Let out exultant “YESSSSS!!!!” as babysitter calls you on the way home to say that she and boyfriend have broken up, leaving her free for Valentine’s Day after all.
  32. Apologize for lack of sensitivity to babysitter’s distressed state.
  33. Attempt to console her by relaying that your friend in the NSA told you her boyfriend had some shady stuff going on anyway.
  34. High five husband while standing in line at favorite burger joint the following night.
  35. Lean in for celebratory Valentine’s Day kiss, forgetting about lingerie, which has been permanently affixed to your person since trying it on yesterday, and is coming dangerously close to being revealed by loosely-tied trench coat.
  36. Pull back from kiss to notice exceedingly pleased look on husband’s face, confirming that coat has inadvertently come untied.
  37. Revel in manufactured, commercialized, ketchup-smeared lovey dovey feeling.

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