Valentine’s Day is right around the corner — and some of the Chicks are more in the mood for romance than others. Read on as we wax poetic about why we’re Team Romantic, Team Non-Romantic, or somewhere in between.
When I was single, oh, the romantic fantasies I had about sharing Valentine’s Day with a special someone. That didn’t actually happen until I met my husband, Jer. (I’m a super late bloomer.) At first, we did the couples thing of making sure we exchanged gifts of flowers and chocolates, plus the requisite two cards – one smutty, the other soppy. To be honest, it wasn’t long before the rituals felt obligatory. I’m always on a diet, so much as I want a box of chocolates, Jer knows he should avoid buying me one. Spending small fortune on flowers that will go bye-bye in a week seems a waste of money, especially with college tuition looming in our near future. And Lord a’ mercy, what’s the deal with how insanely expensive cards are now??? The other complication is that our daughter’s bday is the day AFTER Valentine’s Day, which has changed the name of the holiday in our house to The Day Before Eliza’s Birthday Day.
But it seems sacrilegious not to do anything for VD – sidebar: ever notice that the initials are also those of venereal disease? – so I came up with a solution that makes me happy. I bought cards at the dollar store, and I’ll stick an I.O.U. for something or other in one of them.
What can I say? I’m a hopeless non-romantic.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. I think I may have mentioned before that my blood runs pink every February 14th. Way back, I wore red satin ribbons in my braids on the ice rink, pink sweaters to school, and later a cute (well, I thought so) red power suit with lace blouse to editorial meetings. I have to admit, I did submerge for a while into something of a romantic latent period when I lived in NYC. The ads told me there were flowers and diamonds and candlelit dinners all around, but somehow I seem to have missed them. I do feel that one of the crowning achievements of my life was convincing my cynical son that, while he may personally subscribe to the Valentine’s-Day-is-a-Hallmark-Holiday deal, the special women in his life (girlfriend, sisters, little nieces, grandma, and yes, Mom-of-the-Year me) are lying when they say they don’t care. So now he makes (and actually remembers to send) his own cards, yay. Romance lives! TEAM: Yep, you guessed it.
Okay, don’t get me wrong, because I love love—not to mention flowers and candy—but Valentine’s Day always seemed like an arbitrary holiday to me. I feel loved when my husband brings me a glass of water because the cat is on my lap or spends his Sunday afternoon helping me stage photos with our new skeleton, so Valentine’s Day doesn’t hold any particular magic for me. But last year, a friend of mine breathed new life into the holiday when she invited me to be part of her annual Valentine’s Day Snail Mail Revival. Everyone in the group sends cards to everybody else on the list, whether they know them or not. Last year, I had so much fun sending valentines to people all around the country, and running to the mail each day to see what had arrived. Plus, my mantle looked awfully festive with all the heart-covered greetings. I’m in the middle of addressing my cards, feeling like a kid in grade school again. So put me down as Team Sorta-Romantic.
Remember those sweet little Valentine cards we exchanged in elementary school? The ones that said things like, “Owl Be Yours” and “Will You Bee Mine.” My mom would buy a box of them and I’d give one to each of my classmates. I sorted through and gave the most special ones to certain special people, like my best friend. In third grade, Joey Houser topped my list of special people. I don’t know that I’d call Joey my first love. But he was the first boy I ever thought was really cute. I gave him the best card in the box that year. And I was convinced he gave me the nicest card in his box — much nicer than the one he gave my best friend. Joey didn’t return to my school in the fourth grade and I imagined that his family had moved to another country, although they probably just moved across town. I never saw Joey again, but if I close my eyes, even now I can see him, with his tousled, strawberry blond hair, brown eyes, and freckled nose. Maybe he was my first love, after all. TEAM: Starry-eyed Romantics, first string.
In high school, they sold red roses that were delivered with a note from the person who bought it for you. The roses are long gone, but I still have some of those notes in a box. About once a decade, I stumble across and re-read them. It whisks me back to what it felt like to be that teenager who didn’t know which end was up most of the time, receiving that little note and being both surprised and relieved to know that someone thought kindly of me. (I don’t know what high school was like for you, but I found it all very confusing and overwhelming.) And now I continue the tradition by putting notes in my family’s lunches/backpacks (not just on holidays). So although Valentine’s Day can seem artificial, there’s something lovely about the act of pausing amidst the everyday rush to let people know you care about them. Hopefully we do that regularly, but I don’t mind that we have a bonus day that involves small tokens of that sentiment! Team Romantic. ❤
I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I am a huge fan of the candy, which is why I’ll be spending my single-independent-woman-don’t-need-no-man-because-Beyonce-says-I-don’t self with another single friend. We plan to take an Afro-Brazilian dance class at Alvin Ailey Extension dance studio, which is their studio for everyday folk like you and me (unless Misty Copeland is reading this!). Then I’ll probably eat more candy. Then I’ll head to the store the next day and buy even more candy, because the day after Valentine’s Day when the candy is all on sale is the true holiday here. Am I wrong?
So I’m Team Non-Romantic, but I am Team Candy-on-Sale
Happy Valentine’s Day, Readers! Are you Team Romantic or Team Non-Romantic. Drop us a note in the comments below to let us know.
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