They Think They Can Do Better — Well So Can You

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“Prang’s Valentine cards”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My single friends look at me with longing; they think as a mother of two, husband in residence, that my greatest life questions are resolved.

“Gal-pal” is such a casual label for these women whose worth is above gold. We have conversations I can only dream of with my friends who are also mothers. Unfettered by constraints of feeding, nap, or bedtime schedules, we can meet whenever work or sleep allows.

They sigh and bemoan their lonely futures; I urge them to pursue their passions rather than a man. They contest my advice as  invalid, offered from the safety of the ivory tower of matrimony.

“Pour that urge to nurture into a new hobby!” I cheer.

“Easy for you to say,” she grumbles. “You’re settled.”

“I’m going through the same struggles as you,” I protest. “In different ways.”

My dear friend would like to meet her life partner and have a baby. Yet, hours of conversations show that her thirst for intimacy is no different from mine — for female in friendships; I’d love to have more friends who were reliable and didn’t cancel at the last minute or move away after three years.

Often the heartbreak of ending a romantic relationship can feel like it will drag you under.

But again, from my parallel universe, in the week leading up to that most commercial of holidays, second perhaps only to Christmas, Valentine’s, I am reminded that many people can hurt us, not only our intimate partners.

People disappoint us. Often treat us other than we deserve.

But as with boyfriends or husbands, once I recovered from the shock, I steeled my resolve: if they think they can do better – then they should try.

After all, as I’m reminding myself, so can I.

Moral of the story? Don’t put up with sh#t from anyone. Not a lover or a friend or an employer.

After all, you’re worth more than they think — though they’ll never know unless you show them. How you let other people treat you says more than the words you use. This Valentine’s Day, remember: true love, begins at home.


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Love Your Neighbor or Even a Stranger

When I was a graduate teaching assistant, I had a small speech I would give before Valentine’s Day. “A day when men hate women for being materialistic and women hate men for being unoriginal.”

“Bitter,” a blonde undergrad muttered underneath her breath from the front row. “I’m not,” I insisted. “I resent the pressure to spend money by florists, stationery makers, and chocolatiers.”

I went to a women’s college (which now admits men, the subject of my first novel, Saving Peace). Valentine’s Day was more like a week. Special long tables were brought into the foyer to handle all the flowers, teddy bears, and gifts, people were sending to students on campus. The pressure to avoid this part of a small campus was so great, the “Peanut” program sprang up. You gave your peanut a small treat everyday and on the final day, at the end of the week, revealed your secret identity.

Yes, that’s how fragile women are around Valentine’s Day.

LIITA3I’m pleased this year to say that my short story “Food” is including in the collection Love is in the Air: Seasonal Short Stories. Proceeds from this collection of 13 stories by 13 authors will go towards the Diabetes UK charity.

The best way to celebrate love is to show kindness, not only to those who love, but those who need it. Check out the excerpts from a few of the stories below and consider giving this unique title as a gift to a friend or true love.


EXCERPT from Michael J Holley’s story:

Standing at the top of the narrow, contemporary staircase provided Emily with her first view of it down below.

It looked as though it was highlighted in Technicolor compared with the doormat and Habitat umbrella stand that was stood next to it.  The crimson shade of red offended her senses at this time of the morning and her heart sank.  What kind of a moron has played a joke on her this time, she thought to herself as she carefully padded down the open slatted stairs?

EXCERPT from Sonia Wright’s story:

Sonia Wright
Sonia Wright

Throughout tea the conversation was polite but uncomfortable. Adam’s father tried to make the occasion light hearted by adding the odd joke. Mother on the other hand showed her instant dislike for Ramona by making snide remarks about the way she dressed.  Ramona saw a future battle looming on the horizon with this lady, but it will keep until Adam had become her husband.



Vanessa Wester

Excerpt from “Careless Cupid” by Vanessa Wester:

Celina watched her assignment. She had obviously picked the short straw on this one.  Seriously, this one had no chance of luring any female attention – none at all. She could see potential. Yet, the way he stared at the floor all the time, the shabby loosely fitting and badly tailored grey suit, and that hair… the hair was wrong on so many levels.


Excerpt from James Smith’s story:

James Smtih
James Smith


I laugh along with Neil, although I don’t find anything Max has just said remotely amusing.  Over the next ten minutes, different men join the group, but the words used in their greetings are frighteningly similar, it appears that these men are deeply unhappy with their lives. “Still at least we have team building,” states Neil.