I was never short of a boyfriend on Valentine's Day. I'm not particularly fit or fascinating, I just wasn't choosy and rarely said no. Having a 'type' never came into it.
I've dated tall, small, lardy, lean, black, white, brown. Younger, older, separated, complicated, nearly incarcerated, country and town. I've dined with minted, skinted, sporty, naughty, boozy, druggy, baldy, ginger and bi; only ever drawing the line at flea-riddled vegans or those afflicted with the inability to dance.
I approached the boyfriend scene as more of a sport, a hobby, something fun to do until Mr Right presented himself. You wouldn't have caught me chewing my cuff on the dance floor perimeter. Nope, I was throwing shapes with a vim and vigor only matched by that of a springer spaniel at a Kennel Club ceilidh.
Why were people so serious? Most of my friends were in long term relationships by their early twenties, but that made me die inside. They were filling bottom drawers and saving for sofas while I looked for any mental or physical escape route on offer. Cosy coupledom just wasn't for me.
I could have said 'yes' to a variety of marriage proposals. One at an airport in Nashville. I turned him down on account of my beliefs. I didn't believe I fancied him enough. And I definitely didn't love him. Also, he was in Real Estate. Yawn.
Another proposal came my way in the form of parting shot. I'd binned him due to incriminating evidence of extra-curricular activities. His response? "That's a shame, I was going to ask you to marry me." You're alright, thanks.
I think my husband Sam snared me simply by not asking. Fourteen years, a mortgage and two children and we'd still not made it to the church. In the end, I just said "We should get married. Dad might die soon and I want him to walk me down the aisle". He couldn't argue with a diagnosis. Or my dad. Though I could understand his hesitation due to him knowing half my exes.
In terms of Valentine's gifts
from conquests past, I received standard giant cards, roses (plastic or otherwise), teddy bears dressed in 'Luv U' tee-shirts, frilly knickers, meals for two and the odd bit of tat from Ratners. But the most impressive was a flight to St Lucia, where upon landing, I was collected in a helicopter and deposited in a five star hotel for ten days. He was really impressed when I got sunstroke on day two and had to be wheel-chaired out of the restaurant. We didn't make full use of the turn down service that night.
I did try
to settle down now and again. I held onto a trainee solicitor for just over a year, but in the end, Law Society dinner dances weren't the gig for me. I cohabited with a handful of other nearlies, but tended to throw in the towel after a term or two, once the novelty of someone else's cooking had worn off.
Was it the physical side of things they couldn't keep up with? No, not really. I've never felt the need to dip my tits in custard or wee on a table. I just wanted someone to kick about with if I'm honest. I'll admit I'm a sucker for a compliment though. What's that, you think I'm quite pretty? Sold
. Is that laughter at one of my appalling jokes? Here are ALL my contact details. And I'm clever? Let me introduce you to my father... But the thrill was always short-lived, generally going no further than a trip to Dr Tonks for a packet of Trinordial. Or Levonelle if we couldn't wait.
I know what you're thinking. Pity the husband - and I'm with you on that. The guy's had a lot to put up with. But I always refer back to my dad's advice: find out what you don't
want before you find out what you do
. So I did. I just didn't expect there to be so many men I didn't want.