This is my first Valentine’s as a married woman and while I love the idea of celebrating being in love, I’m kind of on a budget! After hemorrhaging money on our wedding, I think that’s enough financial outlay in the name of love. Let’s get real.
You can’t put a price on love, but you certainly can (and should!) for Valentine’s Day.
Last year I wrote about how my attitude towards Valentine’s changes often. I can’t help but have mixed feelings about a day that feels so contrived. I know a lot of people like to use this day as an opportunity to do something sweet for their partner. It’s just that I don’t feel that way myself. The fact that it’s the 14th is like telling me it’s a Tuesday. Of the million possible reasons to do something sweet, “it’s the 14th” isn’t one. But I didn’t always feel that way. Growing up, Valentines Day was something else entirely. It was far more important.
Valentine’s used to be the day you’d find out how many boys liked you.
In my school, (in one of them, anyway) they organised this flower run where the boys would buy carnations to be distributed in class after lunch, often anonymously. It’s a social experiment that went exactly how you’d think: the bulk of carnations would end up on the desk of the most popular, pretty girl in the class, while the rest of us would sit there trying to pretend not to feel like a disgusting piece of crap.
While I don’t miss those awkward hormonal days filled with self-depreciating thoughts, I do remember how excited I was when one day a carnation landed on my desk!!! Oh, it was only from my best friend Kate, thanks Kate. But at the time, only Kate and I knew that. It wasn’t much, but it was something. (And then there’s that other time when it was probably from my teacher, but let’s not repeat that story.)
As I got a little older, I’m talking high school days now, Valentine’s became this wonderful excuse for boys to aim for the next base, while the really clever ones would hit a home run. This was a mutually beneficial arrangement. The girls got to feel special, and do something special on this special day, while the boys would get to take another step in the direction of becoming men. It was a win-win!
In those days, it didn’t cost more than a couple of roses and a box of condoms.
University days were like a marriage prep-school. The aim was to hold a relationship just long enough to know what it’s like, but end it soon enough to figure out what you don’t like. This was the Eurozone of dating. Free movement of trade and labour, and a simple return policy. Still, like any competitive sport, I took it seriously. Those Valentine’s Days were carefully orchestrated for the sole purpose of out-doing those that went before me. A more expensive dinner, a better spa date, and all that romantic stuff.
Then I met my husband. And he gave a whole new meaning to the day of love. He used to courier a giant bouquet of flowers costing a small fortune to my office. I never told him about that carnation run back in my school days, and how I felt like the prettiest girl in the class receiving that bouquet to my desk.
Going on our sixth year together, my husband and I have had some lovely Valentine’s Days. But these things, the flowers on my desk, the romantic dinner, the gifts, just don’t mean as much, if anything, to me anymore. I married the love of my life. Every day might as well be Valentine’s Day.
If I’m going to go the extra mile on any particular day, it’s going to be on a day that is truly special to me: my wedding anniversary.
Sorry Valentine’s, you’ve been replaced. Valentine’s, like tinder or Burning Man, just isn’t for me. I used to look at my parents and wonder when and why they stopped doing Valentine’s Day. Now I know 🙂
If you’d like to read my post on Valentine’s Day from last year, click here!