Monday, February 14, 2011

Why a Happy Woman in a Healthy Relationship...Does *NOT* Celebrate Valentine's Day

Just a note: I wrote this last year and posted it in my friends-only journal, the one I no longer write in. Many of you have never seen that journal so I don't feel bad about copping out a bit and re-posting this here.

Let's face it...most people who refuse to celebrate Valentine's Day do it because they're single. Or miserable. Or both. Now, don't freak out on me and say I'm stereotyping...I said MOST, not ALL. And I could sit here and give you the usual terse "it's a Hallmark Holiday" excuse. That originally, it was a day set aside to honor a bunch of Christian martyrs with the name "Valentine" attached to them. That it was some bitch in Worcester, Massachusetts (it would be a Masshole) who brought a half-assed British fashion to our country and made it de rigueur. Because all of the above are completely and utterly true.

Buuut...I think it's a bit more poignant to tell my own story. Because it's mine. And to each and every one of us, our story is always the most interesting one there is.

Once upon a 1998, I was 15 years old and had my first real boyfriend. Not to say I hadn't had "boyfriends" before that--this was just the first one who (a) lasted over a month and (b) did more than just talk to me on the phone and hang out, say, twice. This boyfriend wasn't a perfect boyfriend, but he wasn't outright horrible either (at least, not at that point in time). And of course my imagination had run wild (as that of young girls is wont to do) about all the amazingly romantic things my 15-year-old boyfriend of three months would do for me for Valentine's Day.

And he tried, he really did. I vaguely remember hanging out, maybe watching movies? I know for sure that there was a ridiculous, ugly, three-foot-tall white teddy bear involved (which I later ripped the head off of in a fit of anger once this first boyfriend was my first EX-boyfriend--have I mentioned that i have quite the temper?). He did his best, anyway, and I was still disappointed. The next two years, there was a different boyfriend, and although he tried as well--with little gifts, flowers, dinners out--nothing ever added up to the Valentine's Day that I had created in my mind. And I know for a fact that I'm not the only woman who does or has done this!

So after his second attempt at creating a super-romantic Valentine's Day, it was with little to no trepidation that my [now ex] *E* and I decided that we would no longer celebrate that blasted Hallmark "holiday". Don't get me wrong, I was very thankful that he spent the evening with me, bought me flowers, took me out to dinner...but something that would have seemed amazing (to a then-17-year-old) any other day of the year seemed just ordinary on Valentine's Day. And I didn't like that. I didn't like the expectations I'd put on this holiday that had been created just to push men to take their girlfriends/fiancees/wives out to dinner and buy them gifts that die or get eaten. And don't even get me started about the ugly jewelry that is pushed on them in the weeks leading up to the "big day".

Having made my decision to no longer celebrate Valentine's Day while I was in a relationship gave me a boost, because for the next two years, I was single and spent the evening with friends who were likewise single. Unfortunately, V-Day 2003 came right on the heels of my engagement to Ex, and no matter how much I insisted that I didn't want to celebrate it, he went out, booked a hotel room, bought chocolates and rose petals and champagne...the works. I took a deep breath, sighed, and gave in.

That was stupid of me. Because when he booked the hotel, he paid no attention to the name, and we drove out of our way to a Holiday Inn Select (oh yeah, high class, but please let me remind you that we were living in the middle of nowhere, Virginia at the time), only to attempt to check in and find out that we were at the Holiday Inn Express...on the opposite side of town.

So much for a relaxing evening.

And that, dear people, is the last time I allowed anyone to convince me that Valentine's Day was worth celebrating. In 2004, Ex and I weren't even together on Valentine's Day--I flew home to visit my family. In 2005, we worked and ate McDonald's for dinner. In 2006, we were separated (for the first time--ha) and I spent the night with a female friend of mine. In 2007, he had already moved to South Carolina and I was still stuck working in Lynchburg, so again, we weren't even together. In 2008, we worked and then had Arby's for dinner. Last year, in the throes of an amazing--and new--relationship, I insisted to Steve that we were not to celebrate. On the 14th of February, we watched movies and got drunk off homemade martinis...just like every other wintry Saturday night in 2009.

Last year, there was nothing. We decided this around Christmas 2009, and the night before Valentine's Day I made sure that he knew to not even get me a card. I don't want to perpetuate this holiday in any way, shape, or form. Because it makes what are otherwise sweet, romantic gestures into less than what they should be. Because it forces men to spend gobs of money on big fancy dinners and cards and chocolates and flowers and ugly mass-produced jewelry. Because it makes people who are single--especially women--feel as if they are missing out on something, when any other day of the year they are just fine with the way they are living their lives.

Last year, one of my friends wrote the following in her blog : "what's wrong with one day out of the year being set aside for LOVE? You don't have to spend money. You don't have to make reservations at a fancy restaurant that probably isn't very good anyway. You don't even have to be dating anyone! Just show LOVE to the people in your life." While I completely respect her viewpoint, my response was, "I have no problem with having a day set aside for love...the problem is that most people don't see this the way you do. They feel that they HAVE to spend tons of money on flowers and chocolates and fancy restaurants. And too many women are miserable about spending Valentine's Day 'alone' when they are single."

In the end, it is of course easy to say that you hate Valentine's Day when you're alone and miserable, or in a relationship and still miserable. But right now, my life is good. My relationship is great. I am with a man who loves and respects me and treats me like a goddess. On a nearly daily basis he does sweet and sometimes amazing things that show me just how good I have it. So I refuse to hold him up to some shitty mass-market standard for a "holiday" that should have gone out of fashion with calling cards and pantaloons. I am better than that, and even more so, he is better than that.

I surely don't expect everyone to have the same viewpoint as I do. We were all raised with Disney princesses as role models, after all ;o) please don't take this as a sort of "come-to-Jesus" rant. It is what it story, my opinions. Just like I don't expect anyone to not celebrate Valentine's Day on my behalf, I would prefer that others don't insist that because I refuse to participate in the "holiday", I must be miserable.

However, I have to include this video. My favorite kiss starts at 2:45 :)
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1 comment:

  1. hahaha I requoted myself with that very quote on my post today hahha that's too funny!

    I've never truly come to expect anything from Valentine's Day. I'm not sure why, since you're right in that many girls do. Maybe it's because my mom would always give me a cute card with a few bucks in it, or take me to lunch or shopping, that I never associated it ONLY with boys, therefore not necessarily creating this huge deal in my head.

    I've had good V Day's and just plain old V Days and I've never really felt disappointed by the boring ones. There definitely IS a problem with putting this day on a pedestal so-to-speak, but I hope to inspire others to just show love this day (and every day, of course!) rather than give it all these romantic notions.