the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Mister Valentine’s Day


A year ago this week, I wrote a post titled, “Today, We Are All Valentine’s Losers.” In it, I made a offer to my readers. If they revealed in the comments that they were a “Valentine’s Day” Loser (meaning the only card they get is from their mother), I (OR Sophia) would send them a personalized Valentine’s Day email on February 14th in order to give them some love.

It was a great success.

Afterwards, a friendly blogger asked me why I chose to spend my time caring for others who may be less fortunate than myself.

Hold onto your seats because this is going to shock you — I have not always been so lucky to have a beautiful woman at my side on Valentine’s Day (that is if she doesn’t kick me out by next week). Yes, I’ve been there in the past. I clearly remember the shame and misery of being alone on Valentine’s Day.

But times have changed for me. Yes, sir! Now, Valentine’s Day is not about sadness and isolation. It is all about STRESS and INSECURITY. Do you know hard it is for me to deal with Valentine’s Day AND Sophia’s Birthday all in the SAME WEEK?! And I’m always doing something to screw things up. I mean really, what’s wrong with getting flowers on February 15th when the prices are 40% less than the day before?!

Still, I would like to do my part and reach out to those who get down on themselves this time of year, even though the unattached should should be celebrating that you DON’T have to go to some overpriced restaurant. But I understand human nature. The grass is always greener.

I was going to send emails again to whoever wanted it, but I changed my mind. I’d like to do things differently this year.

And I need your help.

Although I recently said I hate IM, I think it also has potential for good, so today I registered for the Yahoo IM account mister_valentinesday. It will only be open for one day, Valentine’s Day. On that day, any lovelorn person can come by and get an “I love you” from a REAL LIVE PERSON, sort of the equivalent of “V-day customer service,” or a “suicide hotline for depressed single people on February 14th.”

But I can’t do it alone. I can’t sit on IM all day. What if no one shows up? But being a generous soul, I still think it is worth it, even if it is just ONE person. But I can only give three hours of my time. So, I would like MORE bloggers to volunteer to take three hour shifts that day on mister_valentinesday. That way, ANYONE who gets too depressed at ANY TIME from 8AM-5PM, can come and get some real live love.

Imagine the scenario —

It is February 14th. You are in your cubicle, your eyes bloodshot from crying all night after you heard that your ex-boyfriend is getting married to your former best friend. Meanwhile, all the men in the office are flirting with the blond in the cubicle next to you and giving her Valentine’s Day cards. Several of her suitors have even sent her bouquets of flowers, and even the delivery guy from FTD asks for her phone number. Cute stuffed animals are all over her desk. And what’s on your desk? — paperwork, a diet Coke, some donuts from Krispy Kreme that will put you over your Weight Watchers point level for the next three months, and a photo of your ex-boyfriend who is marrying your former best friend.

You are at your lowest.

You overhear the phone conversation of some male co-worker sitting nearby, talking to his wife, saying, “I love you honeykins, my little muffinhead… I love you more than the whole wide world!”

You decide your life is worthless. You’re never going to find your soul mate. Even your cats have begun to ignore you. You decide to go into the women’s bathroom, tie a bunch of pantyliners together, and hang yourself with them.

But wait — didn’t you read on Citizen of the Month about some IM address that will be available ALL DAY where someone LIVE will say “I love you” to cheer you up? A yahoo IM address of mister_valentinesday?

“I have a reason to live” you yell, standing at attention. “Someone does love me!”

If WE can help just one blogger on Valentine’s Day, our work will be done. Any volunteers who want to donate three hours of their time?


  1. Tatyana

    tie a bunch of pantyliners together

    Neil, take that image off my head immediately!  I had such a nice vision of Max Brenner chocolates before you had to screw things up.

  2. buzzgirl

    I’ll do it. I’ll be at work, so what else do I have to do?

  3. Neil

    Buzzgirl — I’ll give you the password to mister_valentinesday, and you’ll just keep it open for a couple of hours in case someone shows up. And if they do, you don’t have to do much chatting. Just nicely tell them that they are loved.

    This is the ideal schedule.  I broke it down into six three hour slots, beginning 9AM EST.

    9AM – 12 NOON

    12 NOON – 3PM

    3PM -6PM

    6PM -9PM



  4. Hilly


    I am home recuperating from the surgery and have time on my hands so sign me up!

    Also, Shawn and I don’t do Valentine’s Day because our wedding anniversary is February 7th (tomorrow) so we just do that instead and leave the other people to swarm to Sees Candies and Benihana ;).

  5. Hilly

    PS – I would be perfect for the late night shift if you need that….since I am on West Coast time like you and don’t sleep til the wee hours!

  6. Amy K

    Since I am a teacher, I don’t IM at work. However, you inspired me for my Valentine’s post, which I shall publish the day before on the 13th. It is a menu and recipes for singles to celebrate themselves that night! 🙂

  7. Ariel Waldman

    I can’t decide if I should be the helper or the one who needs help… Hmm.

  8. The Retropolitan

    I’ll do it. Where do I fit?

  9. Mo

    I’ll take a slot. I’m the nerd that loves IM. 🙂 oh, and helping people… that too… Let me have the 3-6 slot.

  10. Mo

    And by the way, you’d have to tie A LOT of pantyliners together to make a rope. Do you know how ridiculously small those things are? Not very tie-able, either.

  11. Meg

    I so refuse to buy into the notion that I should be sad on Valentine’s because I’m single! It’s JUST ANOTHER DAY.

    I don’t get sad on other people’s birthdays because it’s not my birthday, or Hanukkah because I’m not Jewish. I just go, “Hey, so awesome for you. You do it! Yay!”

    It’s my parents’ anniversary anyhow, and 37 years together is enough to inspire anyone.

    I think this is lovely, of course, but I encourage everyone… NO DEPRESSION. IT’S JUST ONE DAY. Just because people have a date — or even a spouse — doesn’t mean they’re any happier than you are.

  12. Neil

    Meg, I absolutely agree with you. They aren’t happier than anyone else. But Hallmark and Co. has blown this minor holiday into something to make everyone miserable across the board. I hope you didn’t take my hanging by pantyliners too serious. If I were serious, it would have been Kotex.

    Most of us don’t get jealous at birthdays because we ALL have birthdays. And most people don’t get jealous of Hanukkah because they already have Christmas. But I have always been jealous of Christmas, which is way cooler than Hanukkah. As much as you try, it is hard to fight a culture that pushes holidays on you. In the past, I always felt bad on Valentine’s Day, thinking everyone was having a good time other than me. I knew in mind that was ridiculous, but we’re all human. It was the same on New Year’s Eve. And Prom Night. And Saturday Nights. I think it’s natural to feel a little sad on Valentine’s Day if you are unattached, because it is natural to compare yourself to others. So, rather than make believe there isn’t any added pressure on Valentine’s Day to be “with someone,” I believe in opening the doors to anyone who wants some love. Come to mister_valentinesday on yahoo IM and you will be get some valentine lovin’ like everyone else. I wish I had this service a few years back.

  13. Meg

    I know, Neil, I do. And I’m sorry if I sounded all fierce. I get why it hurts people, I do. I get lonely, but no more on that day than any other day.

    If y’all ever need lovin’ on Valentines or any other day, you will find me a willing giver of the love. I just refuse to buy in. But I do understand.

  14. Not Faint Hearted

    For those of you who think that all the “marrieds” have it made, I was married for 22 years and probably 18 of those years I got I.O.U.s (if I got any sort of card or thing at all) for Valentines, birthday and eventually even for Mother’s Day.

    I keep trying to tell myself that this year is no different than any of the other years I couldn’t look forward to “sweet nothings.” It’s just that now, it’s public.

    Still sucks.

    Way to go, Neil. Best thing next to Christmahanukwanzaakah. (Oh and I know it’s the next thing from Christmahanukwanzaakah. I just love how you pull us into community.)

  15. buzzgirl

    I’ll take 9-noon if it’s not already spoken for.

  16. Bre

    This is rather adorable, I really must say! If you get stuck without someone to fill in a spot, just let me know and I’m happy to help!

  17. girl and dog

    I separated from my ex-husband one year ago on Valentine’s day. How’s that for romantic? 😉 I would be happy to take the 9am-12pm or 3-6pm slot! 🙂

  18. Jurgen Nation

    Hey, I don’t have a job yet, I’m happy to help.

  19. PockeyCT

    Hey it looks like you may have filled all your shifts already but if you split them further, I would love to take an hour or two anytime between 9am and 6pm. I think it would really make for a great day.

  20. Finn

    This is the best, Neil. Classy, my dear. Classy. Wish I could help, but I’m only available sporadically.

    What I will do is add it to my Valentine’s post. xo

  21. Neil

    Boy, I actually didn’t think anyone would want to do this. You do realize that probably very few people will actually come on February 14. Let me wait until tomorrow, and then we’ll split the shifts and see how late we can stay “open to.” Maybe we’ll even get someone from Europe or Asia to help us out in their time zones.

  22. teahouseblossom

    Hey, what a brilliant idea!!!

    I can probably do it. The Boy and I cook dinner together on Valentine’s Day. We don’t go out and do the cheesy restaurant thing.. What times do you have available?

  23. Churlita

    I would get so fired if I tried to IM at work. I’ll be sending love in spirit.

    I like to use Valentine’s day to celebrate being single. I think pretty much any Valentine’s Day I spent in a relationship was kind of awful. It was all about expectations not being met. Now, I don’t have any expectations. I may give myself a get out of jail free pass, where I don’t have to do anything practical after work – just go running, watch a movie, eat popcorn for dinner (which you can’t really do in a relationship) and take a long hot bubble bath. Say, is it Valentine’s Day yet?

  24. ms. sizzle

    oh how i long to be called “muffinhead.”

    if you have an open slots, i’m game. i give good IM love. 🙂

  25. Alexandra

    You’re going to put everyone in my business out of work if you keep this kind, free stuff up! It is much better for those scorned by love to go to the ATM and take out $150 and go see their therapist!

  26. an9ie

    I found out how the clever Japanese marketing companies do it. See, on Valentine’s Day in Japan, you don’t have to be part of a couple, instead, all the girls (single or otherwise) give boxes of chocolate to the boys they know, co-workers, bosses, friends etc. And then, on “White Day”, March 14, the men reciprocate, and give cakes or chocolates to the women who gave THEM Valentine’s Day chocolates. See? Everyone wins. Especially the chocolate companies 🙂

  27. reese

    You know you can get valentines on your blog LOLOLOL, it’s a valentinater. Or something like that.

    DO you really need help?

  28. Fresh Hell

    Valentines has always been a crap event for me. It falls on my birthday week and I’ve had a boyfriend once in my 36 (soon to be 37) years over that week. [Does it show that I’ve got comittment issues?] Anyhow, the bummer isn’t Valentine’s day itself, the big bummer is not getting any dirty loving over and over and over again on my birthday. By the time VD rolls up, it’s just a bitter reminder. Cynical… perhaps.

  29. Danny

    I can’t wait to hear about how this goes but I despise Valentine’s Day almost as much as I despise IMing so a three-minute shift would be torture, much less three hours. In my younger years I used to participate in the craziness of “let’s go to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day and pay six times the normal cost for a meal that we don’t even get to choose” and now I believe it’s the one day of the year when I absolutely WON’T take my wife out to dinner or buy her flowers. I just can’t stand being told by our capitalistic culture WHEN and HOW to be romantic, it’s like Bush telling us to all go shopping after 9/11. But Kendall always makes me write her a Valentine’s Day poem and I enjoy making that as obnoxious as possible. I’d much rather buy my wife flowers next week to celebrate Sophia’s birthday–what day is that?

  30. Alissa

    If you have open slots, I’m in! Just don’t tell Evan I’m telling random people I love them on Valentine’s Day! Ha!

    I could do any time between 8 and 5pm EST

    By the way, Evan and I are actually setting up some single friends on Valentine’s Day at a local bar. How cheesey is that?

  31. Michele

    Neilochka, you are brilliant. How do you have so many great ideas?

  32. Dagny

    People’s mothers send cards? Humph. All I get is a phone call from her.

  33. Rhea

    This a wonderful offer. But I don’t think the pantyliners will hold up.

  34. wendy

    A Krispie Kreme beats a stuffed animals ass EVERY DAY…duh…Valentines Day…yawn. As for her birthday, Just notice her, like you were seeing her again…for that first time. Remind her you still see her.

    You had a mention at my blog today..come to think about it…there’s a thought for a good present….

  35. Lefty

    I’m not sure I could help with the whole surrogate Valentine thing, but I’d certainly be willing to provide insults. You know, something clever like “You loser.” I’m all heart.

  36. Mo

    To all you V-day haters- check out this site of funny vd cards.

  37. Lady

    I would love to help you out with your luverly IM duty call, but, unfortunately, I’m stuck on your would-be-noose of panty-liners.

  38. laurie

    They’re doing that dumb Valentine’s day AGAIN this year? ARGH.

  39. psychomom

    Damn the firewalls!
    I can only play when I’m home, all alone with no one to love. Boo Hoo 🙁 Thanks for reminding me how pathetic my love life is. I’ll be in the bathroom.

  40. Lela


  41. Neil

    Michelle asks: “How do you have so many great ideas?”

    Answer: “A frequent trait of men who didn’t feel up a woman until their twenties.”

  42. justrun

    Wow, that’s going to be one full day I’ll bet. Have fun!

    And LOL on that last comment!

  43. Neil


    If you want to celebrate Sophia’s birthday – it’s on the 18th of February .

  44. savannah

    absolutely adorable idea…and i dont even do the valentines day thing…you’ve a generous heart, sir!

  45. better safe than sorry

    this is such a great idea!!!
    i’m sorry, i can’t committ to three hours due to too much loving on my part years ago, the result of which is three kids.
    i’ll link you up on valentines day though, try and bring you some business.

  46. Atomic Bombshell

    Let me know which spots you still need to fill… I’d be honored to share some love!

  47. Mariana

    You have a lot of time, you have no idea how I envy you.
    Please let us know if the chat turns erotic… I mean, you know, with all that love.

  48. Leslie

    SIGN ME UP! I’m free from 9:30pm until midnight central! I am with Atomic Bombshell, what an honor this will be!

  49. Erleichda!

    Oh that’s a marvelous idea! I wish I could help out but I will be in New Orleans, getting Valentined.

  50. ExpatJane

    I’m not ashamed because I’ve been busy avoiding all men lest I get my heart broken again. I’m “In Repair” as Johy Mayer says.

    Therefore, since my cat is the only living being that loves me, I will be hitting up mister_valentinesday on Yahoo! Messenger for love.

  51. Karl

    Great idea, dude. I’m such a Valentine’s loser.

  52. Imogen

    Neil, your V-day idea is so thoughtful it hurts (probably not more than being single once more on the 14th, but still…)

    Not sure if you’ve found anyone to take over the later shifts but, if not, I am in Europe and could help out.

    I was also thinking that since the whole blogging experience is “supranational” in nature, you might wanna keep that account active for longer, so as to be there for ppl on different time zones who may have stumbled onto this post…Just an idea…

    In any case, let me know if there’s sth I can do:)

  53. Becky

    Thanks for the smile on Feb 15. I have been single for six years and before that in a thoughtless marriage. Never have I been sent or given flowers at work or anywhere else, for my birthday OR V-day. This year I’m not single. I made little homemade cards for everyone, I got nothing. Only what I’ll get NEXT year. At the end of the day, my guy says…Wasn’t this the best Valentine’s EVER? What an ass. I’m hurt to say the least.

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