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Authors share their worst Valentine’s dates, Part 2

More of our authors tell you about their Valentine’s Day horror stories. Read Part 1 here.


Katie Marsh, author of My Everything

When I was 19 I agreed to go on a blind date on Valentine’s Day. I know, I should have seen it coming and done something sensible like staying at home with a pizza and Die Hard. But, no. I was young. I was optimistic. I went out to meet Mark.

Ten minutes into our date there was no sign of him. Twenty minutes in I realised I was alone in a bar full of red roses and people who couldn’t keep their hands off each other. It was a new romantic low. The pity in the barman’s eyes as I ordered my second solo glass of wine, and trying to sneak out unnoticed through a sea of couples gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.

I never met Mark. But he is responsible for my default Valentine’s Day approach: pizza and Die Hard.


Christina Hopkinson, author of Weekend Wives

I don’t think I’ve ever actually been on a Valentine’s Day date. Isn’t that terribly sad? It’s just that the sort of men I’ve been involved with (and the one I eventually married) were resolutely the type to go out on any day of the year other than the 14th February.

Once my husband and I went out to dinner as we’d won a raffle prize to dine at Trullo, the most delicious restaurant in North London. We picked a random Thursday that seemed to work because earlier we both had to go to the kids’ parents’ evening at their primary school. We were just whispering sweet nothings to each about the middle one’s progress in literacy and the boy’s troubles with sitting still at carpet time, when it dawned on us that it was Valentine’s Day. The look of horror on his face…


Clélie Avit, author of I’m Still Here

I was 23 and I was a winter camp director for one week. My boyfriend was my assistant director. We had taken care of the children all day, skiing with different groups, eating at separate tables, talking to different people – never being able to see each other. The first moment we had together was at 9.30 pm, headlamps on because the lights were broken above the toilets we were trying to mend, all in front of two children who were hoping we would hurry…


Chrissie Manby, author of A Proper Family Adventure

I’ve been lucky with Valentine’s Day itself but I once went on a lunch date with a chap who brought along his own sandwiches when we met at a pub, which meant we had to sit outside so the staff wouldn’t notice he had his own food. I wouldn’t have minded but it was freezing cold and he didn’t even offer me a crust! I bought one round of drinks then made my excuses.


Sarah Vaughan, author of The Art of Baking Blind 

My first boyfriend sent me about four dozen red and pink roses, and numerous carnations for Valentine’s Day when I was sixteen. We had only been going out for a couple of weeks and I knew he would have had to work for several days in his Saturday job to pay for it. Not only did I feel intensely guilty – he was good-looking and clever so why did he want to spend his money on me? – I was overwhelmed. Too immature to deal with this, I decided to finish it – but only once the flowers had died. They lasted another three weeks.

Liked this? Why not catch up on…

… Joanna Bolouri on the three stages of being single