Thoughtful Thursday: Romantic

February 14, 2013

Thoughtful ThursdayHow was your Valentine’s Day? Mine was exactly like any other day. Well, that’s not quite true. I attended a preschool Valentine’s party and helped Burrito and Tamale celebrate, but it was like any other day in terms of my interactions with my husband. We don’t really Valentine’s Day. We don’t really observe the official romantic occasions — no New Year’s Eve, usually we barely even acknowledge anniversaries. Definitely none of the overcrowded restaurants nor overpriced flowers nor not-quite-right jewelry nor trans-fatty drugstore chocolate nor disappointments that characterize Valentine’s Day.

Ignoring “romantic” holidays like today is one of the things about which DH and I heartily agree (get it? heartily?). We don’t like setting expectations that invariably fail to get met — that is, no female expectations nor male failure around here. We don’t like the calendar telling us when to express love or buy presents. We don’t like crowds nor paying more for things than they cost on every other day of the year.

How did I become a Valentine’s grinch? When I was in 9th grade, I happened to have an appointment at the beauty salon on Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t getting gussied up for a hot date or anything, just a routine visit. In retrospect I’m not sure why my mother scheduled the appointment on Valentine’s Day and not a normal day. Anyway, I was the last appointment of the day, and my beautician was the last one left in the salon — presumably everyone else had left early to celebrate the holiday. In the middle of working on me, she got a call from her boyfriend. She got more and more heated until she screamed, “Then you can just celebrate Valentine’s Day with some other bitch!” Then she slammed down the phone and burst out sobbing. Then she came back to finish working on me. Despite her emotional state, there were no mishaps with the scissors.

That day, I decided that I was on board with chocolate and wearing red and giving out valentines, but I did not want any of the drama. I never wanted to have a conversation like that.

Oh, and then there are the single people. Valentine’s Day totally rubs it in their faces. I always have plenty of friends who are single on any given Valentine’s Day, and many of them are really annoyed by it all. My husband has a friend whose divorce will be finalized next week; that guy has spent all day sending out angry tweets.

Anyway, the best part of Valentine’s Day happens tomorrow. All of the chocolate will be half price!

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day and other “romantic” occasions?

14 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Romantic”

  1. Mina Says:

    Where I come from, we did not celebrate Feb 14th. That is until we started to be open to importing western festive constructs, like Valentine’s day or Halloween. For us it is even more foreign and silly than for anyone else.
    But I once was a Ballantines’ girl, I served shots of Ballentines in a bar, on Feb 14th. Within 2 hours I dealt with more drunks than ever before. It is quite fascinating how different people are when drunk. 🙂

  2. Sara Says:

    I confess I’ve never really understood the Valentine Grinch’s comment “I don’t need a day to tell me I need to tell my S.O. I love them, I should be doing that everyday!” I’ll admit, I’m a flowers and chocolate and red berries kinda gal. But there’s no way that Joel is going to give me flowers and chocolate and strawberries every day, no matter how much he loves me. And if he did? Then they wouldn’t be special any more. Part of what makes a special occasion special is that it doesn’t happen every day And yes, I agree, love should be for year round, and celebrated all the time, and you should always do special things for your S.O. yadda yadda yadda, but the truth is, we’re busy. We have lots of things on our mind. We have work deadlines, and a 15-month-old. Sometimes, we need the extra push, the extra nudge, the excuse to do that special thing. I love holidays and anniversaries and birthdays because they give us that. Yesterday on the way home from daycare, Joel stopped at one of the chocolate shops on Hauptstrasse that we haven’t been to yet, and picked up a little bag of honey-lime-guérande salt-chocolates, and we ate some of them together after Gwen went to bed. It was great! When we lived in Amsterdam, I loved leaving for the office a bit early so I could stop at the market and buy flowers for Joel for his birthday or Valentine’s Day, to have them set out on his desk by the time he arrived. What with living in a new city with a whole bunch of new restaurants to try, we’ve recently resurrected our old habit of doing something on the monthly anniversary of our wedding by trying out a new restaurant each 22nd. I love having excuses for doing fun/special things like this, and also getting chocolate. 🙂

  3. celiadelia Says:

    We are like you. I don’t want some dumb present and after YEARS of working in a restaurant there is no way I will be joining the herd to eat over priced entrees while the server tries to turn our table as quickly as possible to get in their 200 other covers. Nor will we go out the day after to eat their reheated leftovers or the day before when people are busy getting ready for the 14th. NYE, Valentines’s Day and Mother’s Day are the worst days EVER to go to a restaurant if you actually like food and want attentive service.

    I took Peter and Jamie to visit family and we had a nice time. I was completely exhausted after the three hours in the car and chasing them around an unchildproofed house so I ate dinner and went to bed at like..nine. Scott did three hours of home work like he does every night. I asked Scott to put gas in my car as my “present” since I hate going to the station.

  4. Ana Says:

    We tend to be like you, but this year I was at the store picking up valentines for the kids’ daycare, and got a card for G while I was at it. I didn’t AT ALL expect him to get me anything, but I could tell he felt bad that I got him a card & he was empty handed. So he came home from the store Thursday night with flowers (yellow roses–they smelled nice!). We did order food in, since we both got home late & didn’t have anything to eat, so we decided to make it special and eat ours after the kids were in bed so it wouldn’t be so rushed. So I guess it wasn’t EXACTLY like any other day for us. And that was actually kind of nice—we have months full of days that are exactly like each other—I guess my grinch-y heart realized that doing something special once in a while (even if prescribed by the greeting card industry) isn’t a terrible idea.
    I would never DREAM of going out to eat on valentine’s day, NYE or similar. I hate crowds & paying more for the same stuff. I also dislike teddy bears, sub-par chocolates in “special” heart-shaped packaging, red roses, and any similar Valentines-themed commercialism. I do like to celebrate days that are special for US, like our anniversary and birthdays & would be (have been) disappointed when G doesn’t remember or doesn’t do anything.

  5. Cat Says:

    We observe Valentine’s Day, but don’t go overboard. We have never gone out to dinner on Valentine’s Day because I hate waiting in restaurants, hate crowds, and most restaurants around here don’t take reservations – for reasons I cannot fathom. We exchange a small gift (yesterday was a fleece blanket I made for DH because he was the only one in the house without one and he got me a box of chocolates from my favorite local chocolate store). He gets me a card and I always forget to get one for him.

  6. strongblonde Says:

    we’ve never really celebrated valentines day. honestly, i’ve had a bad taste in my mouth about it since i was a junior in high school when my boyfriend broke up with me in february. he said i was “took expensive”. our “anniversary” (which was 1 year that month), valentine’s day, and my birthday were all in february. i never asked for anything, mind you, we were just young and dumb and that was the stuff that you just DID, i guess. since then i remember thinking that it was all dumb anyway. this year B got me some socks! he is always commenting that my socks are dirty looking (my workout socks), so he bought me some. he was holding onto them for my birthday at the end of the month, but decided i should have them early so that i could use them!

    we do “celebrate” our anniversary, though. we don’t purchase gifts or go on trips or anything, we just go to dinner. and it is usually just in the week of our anniversary. we try to use that time to go to a place that we haven’t been to, or a place that you CAN’T go with kids. that way it is somewhat special. we both LOVE food, so that is generally not a problem for us! ha.

    someone at the gym yesterday asked me what we were doing for valentines day. i was excited to say that i was going home to a korean pork dish that b had been cooking all day (in the crock pot). then i giggled to myself as i fell asleep at 8:20!!!!! in my bed!!! on valentine’s day! ha!

  7. a Says:

    We are totally unromantic.

    I bought my daughter some chocolates in a heart-shaped box, because she loves the idea of Valentine’s day. She would go all out, if she could. I bought my husband some coffee, because I like excuses to give small gifts. Otherwise, to him, it’s just groceries with no special thought attached (even though I’m buying something for him because I know he will like it). But he’s not into buying gifts for others.

  8. Elana Kahn Says:

    My husband doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day. I don’t get a card, chocolate, or even a special kiss. Nothing. I would love something romantic, but he just doesn’t have it in him. *sigh* My kids got cards from grandma, but that was about it for them. Oh well.

  9. We exchanged cards and were extra nice to each other. He made dinner and cleaned up 🙂

    I’m so glad there were no mishaps with the scissors. That episode explains a bit why you are so even-keeled.

  10. St. Elsewhere Says:

    How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day and other “romantic” occasions?

    Like any other day.

    I like to do or attempt to do something special for our anniversary, but nothing special happens on V-day.

  11. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Oh, and I glad that the her angst was not vented on your hair.

  12. celiadelia Says:

    I can’t even remember our anniversary. it’s sometime in May. I hate all that crap, I didn’t even want to get married I was very happy living in sin. Lol we eloped.

  13. Idra Says:

    I’m torn on the whole idea of Valentine’s Day. On one hand, I naturally lean towards your side of things, hating having designated days to show love, the pressure of it all, the expectations and potential disappointment and, most of all, all of my single friends who are caused such pain by the day. I don’t even want silly heart-shaped chocolates or flowers. This year, my partner and I bought a vintage edition of Life (the board game) and played it after she got home from work.

    But my partner and I are both female. And being with her (my first serious long-term relationship) I have learned so much about how much societal perceptions impact us all. Valentine’s Day is nothing if not a social obligation, a day for couples to participate in prescribed rituals. And a tiny, silly part of me needs to show the world my relationship, my reality. And so Valentine’s Day is unexpectedly important to me. My partner and I go out to dinner, and do all the things straight couples do and take for granted: openly show affection in restaurants without worrying about the next heckler, tell each other we love each other where others can hear us- just generally sit around being super queer and loving it. I’m sure we were still taken for sisters or friends by many. But it made me feel better, and that’s what matters.

  14. and I was so sure I had already commented on this one…?! Probably mixing it up with Mel’s blog who posted a similar question.

    We don’t celebrate V-day. Our wedding anniversary is 4 days earlier so we have a better date in February (even though we don’t celebrate that very elaborately either). I don’t care for Valentine’s day at all, probably because it wasn’t introduced in Holland until only about 10-15 years ago, for pure commercial reasons. I didn’t marry a very romantic guy – I’d love to be surprised or just do something really nice just the two of us on our wedding day, but that rarely happens (only if I initiate something).

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