WHERE ARE MY FLOWERS?
BY META LIVINGSTON JONES
It's February 14th. So where are my flowers?
It's a question women all over America are asking themselves. In every city in every state women sit behind their desks or gaze out their windows with crossed fingers hoping that every time they see a delivery man he's got something for them. They watch as their co-workers swoon over dozens of roses, teddy bears and huge boxes of candy and wonder why no one thought they were special. Some of these ladies will go home to find their 'other' stretched out on the sofa seeking their own Valentine's Day gift---dinner! Others will go home to be alone and lick their wounds. Either way, for many American women Valentine's Day is anything but a love day...it's the "OK, I'm lonely-why do you have to remind me of that- Day".
Let's look at the statistics. According to the 2000 US Census, 47.9% of adult women in the United States are single, separated, divorced or widowed and 43.2% of adult men are the same. If we subtract the estimated 23% of gay men from the 43.2% of single men (wishful thinking), that leaves us with a whopping 20.2% of the adult male population that may consider buying us flowers on Valentines Day. No matter how you do the math, there are a lot of lonely women out here. In addition to these pitiful stats, a recent report from the LFR Foundation agreed with the original Kinsey report citing 60% of all adult men are cheaters. Sooo--if the man you dreamed of spending Valentine's Day with isn't married--chances are he's gay. And whether gay or straight--it's almost certain he's a cheat.
When I was in my early thirties I was involved in an intimate but clandestine relationship with a co-worker. We had been dating about six months when Valentine's Day rolled around. Until then, I thought we both had been careful to keep the affair under wraps. I was convinced everything was great and that it was just he and I in the relationship. I was completely confident that I would receive roses, or something beautiful, in my office by the end of the day. It was 4:45 pm when his evil little secretary walked into my office.
"What...you didn't get flowers?" she said. "I just knew you'd get some."
I didn't like her much. She was not a very nice person to begin with and I really didn't appreciate her tone. Still I answered her politely and I must admit I was a little smug.
"Oh, they'll be here," I said.
"It's almost 5 o'clock. Are you going to stay and wait on them?" she asked smiling.
I smiled back but before I could say anything a delivery man with two vases(one dozen each) walked up. He called my name, saying he had a delivery for me. I took the roses and sniffed them dramatically, still grinning. Then the delivery man called her name and handed her the other vase. She looked at me and lit up like a cheshire cat.
"Who are yours from?" she asked knowingly. She didn't wait for me to answer. She looked at her card and smiled even broader. "Mine says, ...love always, Gregory."
You could have bought me for a quarter. Gregory was her boss and my lover and he was playing both sides of the field without permission. She was obviously aware of what was going on and having fun with it. Needless to say, it was a Valentine's Day I would never forget. I took the roses out of the vase and threw them in the trash. If I had been smart I would have tossed the relationship in there too.
Of course Gregory lied about it. He said it wasn't him; said she was lying. But time always tells the truth and after several other episodes of similar proportions, I found out he had been cheating with her since we started dating.
I'm older now and I like to think wiser. Fifty-something is an age where Valentine's Day means a lot more to me than who's giving me what. It means sending an I love you message to my friends. It means singing a love song to myself. It means buying myself a nice blouse or a pretty ring to celebrate the day. But even though I'm wiser, and I buy myself and my friends nice cards or cute little heart-shaped trinkets, on February 14th I still look around and wonder, ...Where are my flowers?