This column originally ran in KWTN 2/2010
I refer to Valentine’s Day as VD because it is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s just not necessarily the gift you want.
Surely I cannot be the only one whose first memories of Valentine’s Day equal Major Suckfest. Is middle school, the most awkward time of a girl’s life, the right time to submit them to the humiliation ritual of Valentine’s Day flower deliveries? In my school, a secret or not-so-secret admirer bought you a rose, which was delivered with a note during one of the seven excruciatingly long periods of your Valentine’s school day.
Surprisingly, I was delivered said rose, by someone I considered geeky and who is probably Bill Gates-esque today. Naturally I had a crush on a cuter, older boy. On VD my best frienemy told him I liked him, and she seemed to take great pleasure relaying that he thought I was a bit underdeveloped. I’m not sure what he expected, since I was all of 12 years old, but that’s kind of what has set the tone for my Valentine expectations ever since. It really hasn’t gotten any better.
At that young age, I was sure that having a boyfriend would make a world of difference. So my first VD with a boyfriend fell a bit short of my expectations. What was supposed to be a romantic dinner turned into a trip to the dyke to drink wine coolers and go muddin’ with his friends. But wait, I did receive my first real VD gift! Remember those “imposter” perfumes? I got something to the effect of, If you like Poison, you’ll Love Agent Orange. That, and an unsigned card. Can’t it only get better from here?
Flash forward to my first real adult boyfriend. By that I mean the first serious boyfriend I had after college, not that he was a real adult. Sure, I got my first dozen roses delivered to my office. But unlike every other girl, mine arrived a day late. I’m not sure, but I think he was a little resentful of the whole VD ritual.
Now I knew that there was something way worse than being single on VD: when you have a boyfriend, you finally get the roses and you realize that you’re dating a dick and those flowers mean less than dick.
I take comfort in knowing I’m not alone. One friend of mine was on the throne, when her husband walked in and handed her a dozen roses. Who said romance isn’t’ dead? Oh wait, I should probably have mentioned that he’s her ex-husband now. Or the friend whose thoughtful boyfriend gave her a four hour Jenna Jamison DVD. Yeah, they’re not together either.
One year, VD fell shortly after the breakup of a long-term relationship. I was getting a cut and color with my favorite stylist on Las Olas. Of course I had a few glasses of wine during our appointment, and decided to take advantage of my prime parking space and walk over to a nice restaurant for their renowned cheese plate.
As I strolled over and became cognizant of all the couples I remembered that in fact it was VD. But by god I wanted more wine and some good cheese. I summoned my Dutch courage and boldly told the hostess there was just one and I was happy to sit at the bar.
At first I felt self-conscious, like everyone was staring at me thinking, poor single girl on Valentine’s. But then I took a closer look, and all around me I saw couples having a nice expensive meal, not speaking, looking completely miserable. That had been me! Suddenly I realized some of those people were looking at me with envy! No obligations, just out enjoying the night. That by far was the best Valentine’s Day ever! Also because my hair was looking fierce.
So what I’m asking of my fellow Key Westers is to unite against the commercialization and pressure that Valentine’s puts on even the most romantic of couples. Do not send roses! They die. And fast. How about a flowering plant, or better yet, a membership to GLEE’s community garden? For the love of god, do not take your sweetie out on February 14th. It’s the second biggest amateur night besides New Year’s Eve.
Good relationships are hard to find. So if you have a special someone, do something different. I’m taking my bf to the burlesque show at ArtBaron February 13th. I’m praying to god he doesn’t bring me roses. Do something special for someone who is special in every other way but romantically.
Fuck commercialization, and share the love. After all, if you have someone to snuggle with, sound off to or share a nice bottle of wine with on a regular basis, don’t forget your friends who don’t. At the end of the day, those friends are the ones you’ll be crying about your asshole boyfriend to or celebrating your breakup with, and they deserve a nice thank you. Like a burlesque show ticket, or a gift certificate to Better than Sex.
Screw your significant other! If VD is a day to show your love, then remember everyone who’s special in your life and not just the one you have sex with.