Remember the thrill you got as a teenager on Valentine’s Day? Waking up and eagerly checking the mail for one of those coveted red envelopes only to find a card from a secret admirer, in handwriting that looked suspiciously like your mom’s. Or worse yet, you go to school and hope to get a candy gram or some other acknowledgment from your crush (or at least your friends), but you're the only one that ends up with nothing. Well, if you thought you had it rough, take a look at some of these 15 stinkers.
15 For the ‘Sweetie Pie’ in your life
A valentine from the land that feminism forgot (though apparently made in the USA), this card tells the lucky recipient: "You fur-nish the ‘dough’—and I’ll be your sweetie pie my Valentine." This card is so sexist that we don’t even know where to begin. It bears the image of a kitten, dressed up like a doting '50s housewife, happily making pies for her man. But it isn’t just love she is looking for in return for these pies, she wants cold hard cash. Well, we suppose, it’s straight to the point...not very romantic, though. We would suggest that, this being the 21st century, you should only be baking pies in exchange for 'dough' if you are working in the food sector.
14 To drive your true love batty
Looking for a macabre take on the valentine’s message? Then look no further. This rather disturbing greeting asks the lucky lover: "What’s the secret formula? You drive me-batty!"
The magical quality of love means that people often reference being under a spell or feeling like they have taken a love potion. Being under someone's spell is one thing, being under this scary witch’s control is another. Love potions are referenced within the tomb of wizarding knowledge that is Harry Potter, with Hector Dagworth-Granger once commenting that "Powerful infatuations can be induced by the skillful potioneer, but never yet has anyone managed to create the truly unbreakable, eternal, unconditional attachment that alone can be called love."
Word to the wise: do not try using wizardry to win over your valentine!
13 For when you want to give someone the brush off
During the Victorian period, ‘vinegar valentines’ were popular in Britain. As the name would suggest, these greetings did not contain the traditionally sweet Valentine’s Day messages. Instead, these cards were used to show suitors that you weren’t interested. Also, with no need to impress the intended recipient, these cards were often printed on very low quality card and the postage even had to be paid by the receiver of the card. And you thought being chucked by text was a kick in the teeth! At least you don’t have to pay for the pleasure of receiving the "it’s not you, it’s me" text. We can’t believe the Victorians went to such lengths to proclaim their hatred. Imagine waking up to find this on your doorstep on February 14th!
12 For when you want to scare the bejesus out of your Valentine
For years, clowns have been a mainstay of children’s birthday parties, delighting the young with tricks and games. But for many, these entertainers are much more sinister creatures, according to The Huffington Post, approximately 12% of American adults have a fear of clowns. Recent film adaptations haven’t helped the clown’s menacing image—with Steven King’s It giving a frightful interpretation of a murderous clown and with Nolan’s Joker giving viewers of The Dark Knight another haunting image of a clown-faced madman.
So, why someone thought that a clown was a fitting image for the front of a valentine’s card, we don’t know. The demanding tagline of "BE MY VALENTINE" hardly helps the situation. If you’re dating one of the many coulrophobics, stay clear of clown based greetings.
11 For when you have an inappropriate crush on a teacher
Do not, we repeat, do not send your teacher a Valentine’s Day card! This will not end well. Seriously, what do you imagine is going to happen? Do you think they will suddenly realize their undying love for you and the two of you will run off into the sunset? No, the best you could hope for is that they politely put the card in their desk and never speak of it again. Meanwhile, there are countless negatives to declaring your love for a teacher, not least that your classmates will mock you. Heck, even having glasses can see you teased for years, so you’ve no chance of living this down. Frankly, we thought Fred Flintstone would have known better. We hope he isn’t giving Pebbles dating advice.
10 When you want to ‘friend zone’ someone
It can be tough trying to work out if someone is into you, fearing that if you appear too eager you will scare the other person off. But, if you wait too long to make your move, there is always the fear that you will be left in the friend zone. Now, there is nothing wrong with having a friend. After all, friends make the world go around. But, being friend zoned on Valentine’s Day? That’s something no one needs in their lives.
While the origin of this phrase isn’t confirmed, many believe that relationship aficionado Joey Tribbiani coined the phrase in Friends. While advising Ross on his dismal progress with Rachel, Joey advises him, "You waited too long to make your move, and now you’re in the friend zone." Whatever the origin of the phrase, though, one thing is for certain: don't send a card like this unless you want to remain in the friend zone.
9 When you want to wage war on your SO
Want to know if someone likes you? It can be scary, but sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and ask. Advances in technology mean that it is now much easier to ask someone out, without the fear of breaking down in tears when they reject you to your face. But still, a card could do the trick...not this one, though. The phrase "have I a fighting chance" sounds so desperate, it wouldn’t fail at scaring off any potential suitors and that’s not even mentioning the fact that this card shows the sender as an armed soldier. Please note: threatening to open fire on the one you love is not a way to win over their heart.
8 For the dentist in your life
False teeth, or a Valentine’s Day card? What was the illustrator thinking? While the message itself does read, "I’ll never be false to you," the set of false gnashers says otherwise. We feel like this phrase would have been much better matched with some festive hearts, flowers...well, anything but a set of false teeth, really.
According to research conducted by the British Dental Health Association, teeth are the second most attractive feature, just losing out to personality. So, a winning smile really could win over the one you love (just not when it's an image on a card). Sadly, 6% of UK adults have no natural teeth remaining, but this is a vast improvement on the figure of 37% the country saw in the mid-1970s. Let’s just hope these folk have a glittering personality.
7 For the animal lover in your life
Now, obviously being told you are a great lover is a huge compliment. However, when this message is coupled with an image of a man puckering up next to a horse, it becomes somewhat tainted. The drawing seems to suggest the man is declaring his love for the horse, rather than the recipient of the card—very suspicious.
Also, while being told you are a great lover may be a nice thing to hear, it is the sort of thing best reserved for when you are in the throes of passion rather than something you would wish to have emblazoned across the front of a card. Imagine opening this card in front of your friends or family. We think there would be some questions asked.
6 For the smoker in your life
There were days when smoking was seen as cool, something that gave French films stars that certain 'Je ne sais quoi.' But things have changed a lot since the middle of the 19th century and while some still find smokers to have a certain allure, many now see smoking as a relationship deal-breaker. Because, really, who wants to kiss an ashtray? There is now also the logical issues involved with finding somewhere to smoke. For example, New York City has smoking bans in restaurant, bars and even parks and beaches. So, it’s a bit of a mood killer to have to excuse yourself mid-date for a cigarette. Factors such as this have led to almost a third of eHarmony customers saying smoking is deal breaker.
5 For your French friend
Here is another card not afraid to cast lovers into the dreaded friend zone on Valentine’s Day. The front of the card is inscribed with the phrase "bon ami," literally translating to "good friend." To add insult to injury, the card is also emblazoned with an image of a box of washing powder. Is the sender trying to suggest that they think you would make a good washer woman (or, indeed, washer man)? We only hope the card wasn’t accompanied with a gift of the aforementioned cleaning product. Although, for the tree-huggers out there, you’ll be glad to hear that this powder is earth-friendly. On the plus side, this card is adorned with hearts, so is slightly more conventional than some of these other card fails.
4 For the racist in your life
In the 19th century, Florence Kate Upton created the golliwog, a rag doll that she illustrated across a range of books. The doll became very successful when Enid Blyton used the characters within her range of children’s books (notably, Noddy).
However, after years of being seen as a children’s character, people started to see similarities between the gollies and the highly racist interpretations of the black community with acts such as The Black and White Minstrel Show. So, in 2009, when a new book following the tales of Enid Blyton’s Noddy was released, the golliwogs had been banished. Let’s hope that, in a world that now embraces diversity, such racist cards as that shown above have also been banished to the dark depths of history.
3 For the polygamist in your life
We can’t even work out who this card is for—the male polygamist or one of the women running around after him. Presumably, if it is the latter, this card would have come as part of a set. You’d then just have the tricky job of making sure you gave each girl the card with their name on it. Though, we would imagine with so many partners to keep track of, remembering names would be the least of your problems. This card looks like an outtake from a Victorian version of The Jerry Springer Show and there’s nothing romantic about that. While polygamy is still legal in many parts of Asia and Africa, it is illegal across the United States. So, perhaps it's best to just send one Valentine this year.
2 For the one whose hair you love
Never have the words, "You say it best, when you say nothing at all" seemed more relevant. We're not sure this was quite what Ronan Keating had in mind when he was singing them, but they certainly ring true here. What ever happened to the old, classic lines? Even a cheesy chat up line would be an improvement on proclaiming, "I’m after your scalp, Valentine." Well, at least they were courteous enough to warn their beloved of their impending doom. Cue the recipient running very fast in the opposite direction. The pink background and hearts are a night touch; maybe next time just accompany them with a glass of wine and some flickering candles. But, less talk of scalping, okay?
1 For your girls in every port
Long before the likes of Tinder were around, giving men and women access to the local singles in any area they care to venture, sailors were often left lonely and seeking love. The saying goes that sailors have a girl in every port meaning that they can travel the world while still having a woman’s company. Having women in different countries, and even continents, would also help rule out the probability of these women meeting and then getting into a fight with each other (or more likely you). However, the sender of this card is unapologetic about his womanizing ways. He is upfront about the fact that he already have a ‘sweetheart in each port’. Hmm, he’s definitely one to swipe left on.