Let’s Talk with Terry Ambrose

A socially distanced Valentine’s Day
By Terry Ambrose

Valentine’s Day, aka The Day of Love, is in our rearview mirror. And in the good old days, like maybe two years ago, many couples would have celebrated in the traditional fashion—fancy dinners, candlelight romance, candy and flowers. But, coming on the heels of 2020, and with a pandemic still raging around us, I started to wonder how those Hallmark-movie moments might have changed.

The Card
I never had much difficulty finding a Valentine’s Day card, and until 2020 I was very good about this most-likely-Hallmark-induced tradition. But these days, what happens? Do you mail the card?

Hmmm…too many ifs with the USPS these days. So let’s go with hand delivery.

I can see it now. Guy hands girl a card. Gingerly, she takes it and places it to the side. She says, “What a lovely card envelope. I’ll open it in a week after it’s been decontaminated.”

Rats. The 2021 version just doesn’t have the same effect. It might be time to go digital. A text…with a few heart emojis thrown in. Or, for those who want to go all out, an e-card.

Once upon a time it was standard practice to woo your beloved (or, maybe just intended beloved) with flowers. Maybe you remember those days? A trip to the neighborhood florist shop, ooh and ah over the bouquets, find one that A) does the job, and B) fits the budget. Big spenders could have that beautiful bouquet delivered—or, if you were like me, aka a cheapskate on a low budget—the delivery would be handled ‘on arrival’ for the dinner date.

Flash-forward to 2021 and the flower purchase is made online or maybe, for those who are budget-challenged, at the grocery store. Be that as it may, once the flowers get delivered, they no longer get a good sniff and a few oohs and ahhs, but go straight to quarantine, where they might be admired from a distance for a suitable quarantine period as determined by the CDC.

So, flowers, check. They still work, but with a few challenges.

During our more than forty years of marriage and dating, I can remember celebrating dinner at restaurants both fancy and plain. My wife and I could stroll into a restaurant hand-in-hand, be seated, and delight in the pleasure of each other’s company and our food.

We didn’t go out for dinner this year. In fact, we haven’t been out for dinner in more than a year. Our Valentine’s Day dinner wasn’t fancy, but it was safe. In fact, I have difficulty imagining what a pair of young lovers might go through for a romantic dinner. I mean, do they get to see each other’s faces? Well, not in public or unless they’re eating. And what about social distancing? If they’re not in each other’s bubble, are they even sitting together? Or maybe they’re six feet apart at a long table? Who passes the salt? How do they talk to each other? Do they have to text?

Okay, dinner would be a challenge, but let’s get to the important part.

The Kiss
Ah yes, the moment the couple yearns for, the goodnight kiss. Wait…is that even safe these days? I guess if both parties are double masked and avoid skin contact. Stroking of the brow or cheek is strictly taboo. And what about clothing? Does that need to be decontaminated? Washed? Burned?

Glad I’m not twenty.

Fortunately, we didn’t have a socially distanced Valentine’s Day. After more than forty years of marriage and a year of isolation together, there were no masks or long tables, but there was a goodnight kiss. So what about you? How did you celebrate your Valentine’s Day? Did you have to worry about social distancing? If so, how did you cope?

On the Take in Waikiki
In his latest adventure, the disappearance of a Honolulu businessman pulls McKenna and his PI-wannabe friend Chance Logan into a world filled with greed, lies, and betrayal. Leave a comment to let me know how you coped with Valentine’s Day and enter this week’s mini-contest for a Kindle copy of On the Take in Waikiki. On the Take in Waikiki book page

ALSO, while you’re here, enter our Super-Duper Seven Book Giveaway for our anniversary! Yes, we’re celebrating eight years of Booklover’s Bench with a seven book giveaway. One commentor (US only for print books) wins seven new books to read! The contest runs from February 1-18. Don’t delay—enter today! CLICK HERE TO ENTER.  [winner announced Feb. 19]


  1. Terry… no social distancing… no big excitement other than facetime calls to the kids and grandkids… for each other, it was the humdrum of cards and I actually made a pretty good dinner (which means I didn’t set everything on fire like I did the night before).

  2. sallycootie says

    I haven’t read one of your columns in a while, Terry, and I’ve missed them! What a fun post. Yes, at this point I am glad to be old and retired (and also lucky enough to have a live-in twenty-something granddaughter to run errands) We’ve been married almost 52 years and actually gave up fighting the crowds for Valentine’s Day dinner years ago so we had our usual dinner at home. Hubby is a great gift giver as well – always a surprise with a couple of chocolate covered strawberries and cheesecake bites thrown in for good measure. Stay safe!

    • Hi Sally, it’s nice to hear from you again.Wow. 52 years is amazing. Congrats on that and I agree completely with skipping the crowds. It’s much more relaxing to celebrate on a different day (just not this year or last! Maybe next year things will be back to normal. Stay safe as well!

  3. How did I cope with Valentine’s Day? As a single woman I coped with Valentine’s Day by snuggling up with my Cat Daisy Mae, buying my parents a food package + Raspberry Swirl heart shaped Cheesecake, by spending it with family and by exchanging small gifts including lots of chocolate with one another as a token of our love, compassion and friendship.
    Love book cover. Sound and looks like a fantastic read. Love books like this. Would love to read and review this book and all the other author’s books in print format.
    Look forward to getting to know more about the author and their books.
    Thank You.
    Hope I Win.

    • Hey Crystal, thanks for stopping by and sharing your Valentine’s Day coping strategy. Daisy Mae sounds like she’s the perfect Valentine—no talking back and plenty of cuddles!

  4. maggietoussaint says

    After more than two score years of marriage, our interest in Valentine’s Day has waned. Every day for us is Valentine’s Day, and at this stage of the game, we celebrate life and love daily. This year we looked at each other and asked cards, knowing that that would mean separate trips to a store, times when we were apart and couldn’t remind each other to sanitize, and it wasn’t worth the effort. There were still kisses and that greeting of Happy Valentine’s Day. But that was pretty much it. Feels like I should end with a Bah Humbug, but for us during the pandemic, this is the right choice.

    • Agree completely that you made the right choice, Maggie. We did the same. Kathy actually has a stash of generic cards that she pulled from to give me one. I told her I wasn’t about to go out into the wild for a Valentine’s Day card!

  5. Was it Valentine’s Day recently? LOL! After a year of pandemic brain, I never know what day it is from one week to the next. But having a February birthday, has always meant getting cheated, at least for me.

  6. We, too, have wondered how couples date these days. It can’t be easy. We bought gifts online that were delivered. I did the same for a card. Then we ordered a take-out restaurant meal with delivery. So we had a quiet evening at home.

  7. We’re not big on Valentine’s Day, but we always do cards. This year I got a couple of cute PJ sets and the hubster got a cool oversized Sriracha mug filled with snacks. But I’m bummed I forgot to go out on Feb 15 to buy the 75% off candy!

  8. cherylhollon says

    Terry, we don’t like crowded restaurants, so we would have gone for the romantic dinner about two days ahead. Our constant is a shared box of chocolate and a fabulous good night kiss. Thanks for reminding me.