Happy Forced Affection Day!

I love ‘love’.  As in, I love the act of love; I love the feeling of love.

I really do.  I’m a loving person who loves to love, and who loves to be loved.  My definition of love, however, doesn’t include getting all worked up with materialistic expectations and participating in choreographed displays of affection one day a year, just because the greeting card industry tells me to.

It’s funny – until I was about twelve, it didn’t even register that Valentine’s Day was largely meant for couples.  My parents used to give me cutesy cards, chocolates in pink, heart-shaped boxes, and other gifts that little girls go berserk over, like plush toys and the like.  I assumed it was about all types of love, not just romantic love.  At the age of twelve, I had my first real crush, and my friends and I delighted in distributing our Valentines to boys in our class, and gossiped incessantly about who we thought liked who (what a simple, gleeful time that was, compared to what we would experience not ten years later, when boys became “complicated”).

The first time Valentine’s Day came around while I was actually in a relationship (because how many times have some of us broken up with someone right before the blasted holiday) was – well, it probably wasn’t bad by most people’s standards – but then I’m not most people.  I think I realized, right then, that I had little to no respect for the “holiday”, even resented it for placing so much pressure on people to feel like they need to participate in it.

My boyfriend at the time was madly in love with me, and wanted everything to be perfect.  We tried to reserve at a number of restaurants, only to be told that they were all booked up.  We finally found ourselves at a popular Italian restaurant that, in my current high-maintenance state of mind, I can only refer to as somewhere between low-end and middle-of-the-road family dining (I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thrilled with it then, either).  The place was brightly lit, packed, and we were seated next to a family with 3 restless, screaming children.  Fun times.  We wanted to stab ourselves to death with our forks.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The poor guy bought me what he thought was the perfect gift: a silver chain housing a silver, heart-shaped locket pendant….oh dear.  It was sweet, but I knew immediately that I’d wear it a few times in his company, and then relegate it to a box in the back of a drawer.

Note to guys: when shopping for jewellery as a gift, if you see a heart-shaped pendant, KEEP WALKING.  Do NOT answer its call.  Women would never pick this stuff out for themselves.  If you’ve never seen her wearing heart-shaped jewellery, it’s no coincidence.  That whole storyline in the movie Titanic is full of it.  Or maybe it’s not, but, hey – it’s set in 1912, for Christ’s sake.

Anyway, the evening was just such an epic let-down, and neither one of us could believe we’d gotten so worked up over it.  It occurred to us that we regularly had a better time on any given night, just hanging out listening to music, or just taking a moonlit walk on the waterfront.

It always blows my mind how much importance people place on this day – this day of clichés, this day that is inundated by unimaginative things like bouquets of red roses, boxes of drug store brand chocolates, and marriage proposals (most of which I’m sure end in failed engagements or dreary marriages).  I’ll be honest with you, if someone proposed to me on Valentine’s Day, I would probably throw up a little bit in my mouth.

No, I am not made of ice – I just think that, as usual, most people have missed the point.  If you are supposedly in an incredible union with someone, why do you need a day marked on a calendar to show them your appreciation?  I know that some people enjoy the excuse to make a fuss.  I just prefer to have my guy fuss over me and bestow his appreciation upon me regularly and randomly rather than having him offer a canned, commercialized effort because he feels obliged.  How many relationships have ended on February15th because a guy didn’t meet a girl’s expectations (and I am in no way endorsing these girls’ point of view)?

From what I’ve seen, those who insist on making a big deal of this ridiculous “holiday” are either new to the relationship scene or are desperately trying to pretend that their relationships are more sound than they actually are.

If you are (or have ever been) as lucky as I’ve been, you and a romantic partner have randomly lit candles and fooled around in the dark – any day of the week.  You’ve gotten dressed up and hit up the town like rock stars just because.  You’ve gotten drunk on champagne and made out for hours, because you are hot for each other, and you had nothing more interesting planned for that evening. If you have been lucky enough to be in a genuine, healthy relationship, then I will wager that Valentine’s Day has come around, and it has seemed redundant, if not irrelevant.

Call me an idealist: I will never settle for anything less.  And neither should you. 

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10 Responses to Happy Forced Affection Day!

  1. Jane Moneypenny says:

    WORD to the heart-shaped necklace thing. Thanks for the reminder I should never settle for anything less!

  2. sarah says:

    So cynical. I have been in a very happy relationship for nine years, I have a heart shaped locket and I love it and I love Valentines Day. Your argument makes no sense. You are concluding that just because someone loves to celebrate Valentines Day then that means they don’t show their love randomly throughout the year as well. One has nothing to do with the other. Also you are assuming that Valentines Day means a lot of money when it does not it means love. We went to the all day breakfast spot across the street from our house and loved it. I think it’s sad that your boyfriend took you to a restaurant and it wasn’t good enough for you. that’s not a problem with Valentines Day it’s a problem with you and your unrealistic expectations.

    • preciousbydesign says:

      Congratulations on being in such a long and healthy relationship! RE: the corrolation between loving Valentine’s Day and being thoughtful and loving throughout the year, I am concluding no such thing. In fact, I’m concluding none of the things you mention. I am being frank and calling out those people (and there are a lot of them) who place a lot of pressure on themselves and their partners to buy “Valentine-appropriate” gifts, plan something expensive/special, etc, etc, just because it’s V-Day. And then get pissy if it doesn’t happen exactly as they deem acceptable. Something has to be missing in a relationship if THAT day causes you so much grief. I’m saying that in my long-term relationships, I’ve always been lucky enough to have someone who is romantic with me all year-round, and YES, we might pop a bottle of wine with dinner on Valentine’s Day – but this would be just like any typical night for us. There isn’t enough room in the comments for me to explain my thinking to you – if you don’t get my gist from the post. Also, if you read carefully, I stated that that particular V-Day was a let-down for *both* my bf and me. We spent 364 other days that year that blew that night out of the water. Lastly, I take exception with your statement that my expectations are unrealistic. I spent the entire article saying that my Valentine’s expectations = zero. And not for nothing, no guy I know has ever been disappointed that I don’t need flowers, chocolate and a big to-do from them on Feb 14th to believe that they care for me. Thanks for reading! 😀

  3. sarah says:

    I’m sorry but you did make that correlation. Your words exactly were “From what I’ve seen, those who insist on making a big deal of this ridiculous “holiday” are either new to the relationship scene or are desperately trying to PRETEND that their relationships are more sound than they actually are.” You also said ” If you are SUPPOSEDLY in an incredible union with someone, why do you need a day marked on a calendar to show them your appreciation? I know that some people enjoy the excuse to make a fuss. I just prefer to have my guy fuss over me and bestow his appreciation upon me regularly and randomly rather than having him offer a canned, commercialized effort because he feels obliged.” These statements are insinuating that if I celebrate Valentines Day that I am in an unhappy relationship. You also said you prefer insinuating that it is an either or option, which it is not. You can have both. Also it is you who is saying that it needs to be about flowers, chocolate and a big to-do, sure there are some people who do that but there are just as many people who celebrate without these things. You shouldn’t try and make people feel shallow because they want to spend a loving day doing nice things with their significant other, the thought of Valentines Day is beautiful, it is the individual who makes it what it is for them.

    • preciousbydesign says:

      Oh honey, I can’t help you. You’re reading this post through a haze of rage and are missing every single one of my points. Go back to enjoying your Valentine’s Day.

  4. JJ says:

    Hey Precious, I can say I totally understand everything you wrote in the article and agree with it 100%. I felt nothing “insinuated” – certainly not the way you write, which is straight to the the point. I get it. Out with the husband last night for V-day at the resto we fell in love in 10 years ago, and it was a fine evening but we both felt that compared to some of our other epic nights it was maybe number 250 or thereabouts on our list 364 great nights since last V-day. Mainly because people like you describe were also there forcing themselves to have a “great time” because it was V-day. It is very obvious. We play a “judge what stage of relationship this couple is in” game at such times. Like he and I were discussing, you really can’t “re-live” that romantic night we had 10 years ago – it was just magic then, no doubt also because of our raging hormones 🙂 Enjoy it at the time, and then live and let live. This time we simply enjoyed a good meal for old time’s sake at “our” restaurant because we didn’t feel like cooking and they had a V-day discount. Heh. It was magical when he smacked my hand away from his amazing mango sorbet. I should have ordered that instead of the heart-shaped chocolate mousse. Dammit. He’s so smart.

  5. JJ says:

    Oh PS, I love you Precious! Happy belated Valentine’s day. And yes, I still believe as I did (like your experience with your parents when you were a kid – I had the same situation!!) when I was younger, Valentine’s is about love, not just romantic love. It’s most definitely not about rage 🙂 ha ha ha

  6. preciousbydesign says:

    Thanks JJ! My fave part of Tuesday was when my boxing instructor gave us all tulips at the end of class. So cute!

    I agree that you can’t “re-live” a particular romantic night, but personally, I don’t think that means you can’t have an equally or more romantic night 10 years down the road. It’s never really about anniversaries or any of that for me – it’s about a beautiful relationship, day in, day out, at random…whatever floats your boat! I hope your hormones are still raging for each other! 😛

  7. JJ says:

    The hormones totally are still raging 🙂 I omitted what happened after the dinner, because TMI is never a class act 🙂 ha ha

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