There was a time in my life when Valentine’s Day really mattered to me. Now that I’m in love and in the best relationship I’ve ever been in, I keep forgetting about it. In fact, I accidentally made plans with a girlfriend last week to get together tonight not remembering what today was or that both our boyfriends had made plans for us.
When I was single, the day could be painful. Wishing for love and wondering if it would ever come. In other relationships, I tried not to expect anything but hoped for something amazing. Or at least hoped he had remembered to make dinner reservations in advance. Flowers on Valentine’s Day seemed to mean so much when I was in a relationship where I constantly felt under-appreciated or even ignored. And when today would come, and he’d call in the morning to say what do you want to do later, I’d feel disappointed and bite my tongue.
But in my current relationship, where my house is still filled with orchids my boyfriend sent months ago just because and he remembered weeks ago to get an 8 o clock reservation at a restaurant I told him I wanted to try, tonight doesn’t seem to mean much. In fact, we decided to cancel the reservations and go see a special screening of a sexy burlesque documentary downtown. We go to great restaurants pretty often and my boyfriend does so much to show he appreciates me on a regular basis that I’d rather skip the manufactured romance of tonight. I convinced him that we’ll get better food if we go to the restaurant on a night where they’re not desperate to turn the tables (once a waitress, always a waitress).
But just to get in the spirit, I did stop by his apartment at 6 this morning to bring him some Valentine’s Day cookies. I found this great raspberry shortbread recipe at Joy of Baking and stayed up last night to make imperfectly molded heart cookies. He was late to work cause he sleepily forced me to cuddle as he told me how much he appreciated me.
The thing I’ve realized is that romance can’t get injected into a relationship one day of the year. If you’re desperately hoping your boyfriend might do something special for you tonight, it might be because you’re unfulfilled in the relationship. It’s only now, in a relationship that exceeds my romantic desires on an average basis that a day dedicated to love has come to mean so little. I don’t need him to prove anything to me tonight because examples of the proof I used to look for abound in my relationship. It makes me laugh at a much younger me that knew today was stupid but couldn’t help imbuing it with meaning, hoping my boyfriend would surprise me with something special. If only I could have been wise enough to understand that this hope really belied a hole in my relationship that no amount of restaurant reservations or flowers could fix.
That being said, if you’re single, tonight is really one of the best nights to go out. I’m almost sad to miss it. I have to wonder if there are statistics on the percentage of one night stands that occur on Valentine’s Day compared to the rest of the year. I can only speak anecdotally but it seems to me my friends have found great romance and a lot more (or a lot less) when this time of year comes around. And even if you’re not looking for a one night stand, many of my favorite Valentine’s memories center around getting a bit tipsy with my girlfriends as we watched men prowl around the bars. There’s nothing like looking for love.
And in the meantime, a nod to some of my favorite Valentines from none other than NPR.