Valentine's Day is the official holiday of romance, and yet our memories of Feb. 14 aren't always the stuff of poetry.
As the Irish novelist and playwright Oscar Wilde once said, "The very essence of romance is uncertainty."
So when we asked readers to share their Valentine's Day memories, the several dozen stories we received ranged from sweet and sentimental to slapstick and calamitous.
Students of human behavior also may find it worth noting that all of the stories were sent by women. Here are some of the tales they told — not all lace, paper flowers and candy hearts, but still fun:
MY PARTNER AND I had a lovely Valentine's evening planned in 2010; we were going to keep it low-key, going to a local Santa Rosa restaurant for a set menu.
The evening of the 13th, I was slicing zucchini for a late-night stir-fry I was preparing for us to eat. I was using a new tool: a beautiful white ceramic knife. Ceramic knives, if you haven't heard, are very, very sharp. I looked down and, lo and behold, I had sliced my finger.
I, being stubborn, refused to cancel the Valentine's Day plans. So, the next night, we showed up to the restaurant, me with a huge bandage immobilizing my throbbing, painful index finger.
When the filet mignon came as the entree course, I looked at it almost in tears: there was no way my pathetic injured finger could handle cutting this lovely piece of meat!
My partner, being the gentleman he is, took pity and cut my meat for me, to the wait staff's and other patrons' amusement. And all was well in the world.
— Arielle Kubu-Jones, Santa Rosa