Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentines, Schmalentines

I am a Valentine's Day scrooge. It's not that I don't believe in hearts, cupids, and true love. Heck, I even dressed up as cupid for Halloween one year. Believe me, I appreciate romance, flowers, and Godiva chocolates as much as the next person, but there is just too much pressure to "get it right" on Valentine's Day.

While flipping through a magazine the other day, I glanced at some Valentine's-related comments made by a so-called "relationship expert." Not to put any pressure on you, but this adviser said that a perfect Valentine's Day is imperative to the success of a relationship. I don't know about this. Actually I completely disagree because, for me, no amount of idealized, romance would make up for someone being a schmuck the other three hundred sixty-four days of the year (and I am not speaking from experience here). Furthermore, said grand gesture would mean so much more if it was any day other than Valentine's Day because then it would be a huge surprise (hint! hint! honey, if you're reading).

I am so thankful that Valentine's Day-related grand gestures are not integral to my marriage, or my husband and I would definitely be in the danger zone. You see, we have had one dismal Valentine's Day after another. We spent the first Valentine's Day of our marriage in a hospital when my grandfather was diagnosed with bone cancer. We have also had major job crises on this special day, and two years ago a long-time friend passed away the day before Valentine's after a courageous battle with cancer. Honestly, Valentine's Day has kind of become a-day-to-be-avoided around our house. It is so "not special" over here that my dear husband of fourteen years has chosen to be out of town on Valentine's Day this year.

Truthfully, though, I think my Valentine's Day trauma all began in the Third Grade. For some reason, a very nice boy in my grade decided that he should get me a crimson-colored heart-shaped box of chocolates for the big day. But I, being an independent-minded girl, had no intention of accepting any type of gift from the boy. Needless to say, I was very confused when he burst into tears in the hall after I told him, "Thanks, but no thanks" for the chocolates. I can still very clearly picture him standing in the highly-polished-hardwood-floor hall trying to give me the candy, the teacher explaining to me why I should take the candy, and me repeatedly refusing it. Come to think of it- what was I doing refusing chocolates from anyone?

Yet, the Valentine's Day trauma kept on coming. We have all experienced the dreaded on-again-off-again relationship. Of course, the worst time to try figure out if you are "on" or "off" is anytime near a holiday. First of all, you have to discern if you and your sometimes-special someone are currently together or not. Then, if that is a "yes," you have to try to figure out an appropriate gift for him or her. Now this is harder than it sounds- If you get too inconsequential of a token for your pseudo-boy or girlfriend, you risk looking like you don't care when you most certainly do, but you definitely don't want to err on the side of the "too elaborate" gift and send him or her permanently running for the hills. See, Valentine's Day is just too stressful and fraught with way too many opportunities to go astray.

Finally, my Valentine's Day-aversion was solidified by my college experience. Now I loved college, and I adored my sorority, except for the obligatory-date occasions. These soirees were fun, lots of fun, but I probably would have had a better time without having to come up with dates for them, and dates that I had to initiate no less. So it was with great trepidation that I set out to find a suitable date for these occasions. The number one handicap to finding a date for these functions is naming it a Valentine's Day Semi-Formal because just mentioning anything having to do with hearts and love strikes fear into almost any college-age guy. Then if you get the nerve up to invite a guy that you may be remotely attracted to, inviting him to a Valentine's-themed function automatically scares him off. The second roadblock is calling it a "date". Now maybe a few of my friends had a steady guy, and maybe I did, from time to time, but there truly wasn't a lot of dating going on at Duke, if you know what I mean. So to come up with a date when I hadn't had a real dinner-and-movie date in over a year felt like someone had just told me to go and scale Mt. Everest in a cocktail dress and heels. To avoid the Valentine's Day Semi-Formal date pitfalls, most of my sisters just grabbed a pal from a class or our freshman dorm, then hoped and prayed we didn't lose our senses that night and do anything to ruin our friendship. So you see, my college experiences didn't do anything to help my valentinophobia.

So, you ask, what am I going to do this Valentine's Day since it will be just the pets, the kids, and I? Embarrassingly, my parents have taken pity on my single status for this day of love and are taking the kids and I to dinner. And after I get the kids in bed, Fozzy, Gonzo, and I will probably just curl up in bed to take in a chick flick together. Now, how is that for a romantic Valentine's Day that is integral to the success of any relationship?

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Angela. The first real smile/giggle I have had all day. BRAVO!