Its a-coming, folks. Yup, in fact it’s less than a week away.
At this moment, people all across our great city (country, planet, etc) are calling in reservations to romantic restaurants, torrenting Boyz 2 Men albums and hitting Ikea for an assortment of matching-by-mismatching candles to scatter around bathtubs alongside rose petals, fluffy towels and champagne flutes. Or maybe you’re like me and you’re highly considering watching 500 Days of Summer for the six hundred and fortieth time after a bountiful dinner at the semi-lame Italian restaurant me and Fern had our very first date at. But not at OUR restaurant, that would be weird. Get your own restaurant.
At the very same moment, there are teenagers sobbing to Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato songs, the two most insightful and sage victims of love of our times. Modern day Cyrano De Bergeracs, you know. Lamenting from afar. There are freshly single lovers poring over Facebook (and Linkedin and Twitter and the most poetically artistic and heartwrenching of all, Instagram) for any proof that their exes are living miserable, restless lives without them.
Basically, Valentine’s Day is a touchy area for most people. Its a polarizing day and one of the best examples of putting the horse before the cart I know of.
What does Valentines day represent? Is it a day to celebrate the love and romance in our lives, or is it a day to recognize the concept of romance in general? I’ve been on both sides of the fence, personally. The last four years of my life have provided me with a guaranteed date and plans for the Big Day (thanks, LTR/engagement!) but before that I was excited for the day to come whether I was single or not. Then again, I’ve always been the kind to get a bit excited over “special days” (come to my store around Easter, you’ll likely find me in pastels and wearing bunny ears) and I’ve even been known to make themed playlists for my iPod based on the time of year (right now there’s a lot of She and Him, Neil Sedaka and Lucky Soul, in case you’re wondering). I’ve never been the kind to get upset about being single on V-Day, and have actually gone out of my way to break up with Mr. Right Now before the day to alleviate stress, emotional pressure or lofty romanticized portrayals of our relationship. In fact, one of my favourite Valentine’s was spent watching The Notebook (while it was still in theater) with my bestie at the time (a very openly gay fella) and being able to sit through (cry through) the entire thing while not having to worry if my lip gloss was too sticky, or if I should turn my hand upwards on the arm rest, just in case.
So many of us lust after romance itself, but are so willing to forgo the things that create romance, like true chemistry and compatibility. We romanticize romance so much, that it completely escapes us. Those who place such high expectations on the day are so much more likely to be let down, as their attention is focused on hitting all the points of a “perfect” date that they overlook the forest for the trees. They don’t see the cute subtle hints which make themselves apparent through the experience because they’re watching for epic, sweeping gestures like a bushel of roses or a theatrical flourish while pulling out their chair in true gentlemanly fashion.
We’ve focused our energy and expectations on a single day, smack in the middle of February (when the weather is always terrible, I may add) and many of us allow it to conjure such emotion, whether in favour of the sentiment behind the day, or not. My friends are divided almost equally. Refreshingly, the majority of those who are excited for the day are males, either in relationships or going on dates, and most seem genuinely enthused to participate in the return of chivalry and romance and all the pageantry which comes with the territory. Also refreshingly, most of the “oh yuck” crowd are my female friends, many also in relationships, but less excited about isolating one single day to celebrate their love, opting for a more modern view on what romance is. Amen to that.
Today is my 4-year anniversary with Fern. For years before this we were best friends, and would be there to support each other through our own struggles with our respective significant others. We’re romantic, geeky, and love “love”, so the next week will be one full of adorableness. We’ll be indulging in all of the sappiness which comes with this time of year, but more in honour of OUR special day, not Valentines Day. I hope that everyone can spend the day (and every other day, really) in the arms of someone they love, but realistically, there will be days when that won’t happen. There may be weeks, months, or maybe even a few years. During these times its important to allow romance into our lives, even if its ourselves we’re doting on. We shouldn’t need to wait for someone else to romance us, or spoil us or adore us, we should be totally comfortable providing this service to ourselves. Treat yourself to something luxurious, whether that be a mani-pedi for the overworked and under appreciated mom, a long bubble bath for the stressed-out student or a night of doing absolutely nothing but reading a good book. Or maybe reading a paperback version of The Notebook. It’ll be a couple of hours of your life and you’ll be able to say you at least READ your daily dose of sappy pop lit. What I’m trying to say is, there’s always a reason to ogle Ryan Gosling, or mind-ogle Ryan Gosling.
So, friends, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Which side of the fence do you sit on? Is this a day you’re anticipating? Dreading? Let me hear it!
Have a marvelous week, everyone. May your Valentine’s (celebrated or not) bring you much love from your partner, friends or yourself (the best love of all) and may you enjoy the most luxurious bath/dinner/spa treatment/shopping spree/massage/date simply because you deserve it!