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Dating Blogger Amy: VDay Neutral

I’ve always looked forward to Valentine’s Day. This year, I don’t give a shit about it. When I started thinking about tomorrow last week, something felt off. The thought of VD unsettled me (pun intended). I thought perhaps I’d find … Read More

By / February 13, 2007
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I’ve always looked forward to Valentine’s Day. This year, I don’t give a shit about it. When I started thinking about tomorrow last week, something felt off. The thought of VD unsettled me (pun intended). I thought perhaps I’d find a reason to swear it off after some research, so I Wikipediaed. I couldn’t come up with a cogent argument for swearing it off altogether—no sense in being anti something just for the sake of being anti something. But research proved that VD is all about spending money, commercializing love, and exists for the fairer sex. Clothing stores insinuate the need to wear something red or pink with their red and pink window displays and fresh crops of red and pink clothes despite the trends. Then we fuss over VD in our new red and pink clothes by purchasing doilied hearts with glitter glue, teddy bears, $5-a-piece Godiva raspberry truffles, and going out to a mediocre prix-fixe dinner. All to ‘celebrate love.’ You know, I really need cards, chocolates, and the prix-fixe to feel loved. God forbid someone do something nice/romantic for a partner on a random day. But what bothers me most is this figure: The Greeting Card Association of America estimates women buy 85 percent of all Valentines. Why, oh why, ladies are we so susceptible to the VD marketing blitz and love's commercialization? Are these Valentines mostly for your girlfriends and family? Because I certainly hope you’re not buying your lovers anything unless you know they got you something. Why buy into this “holiday”? VD doesn’t really mean anything. It has something to do with St. Valentine and his feast and the color red. Somehow the Greeting Card Association turned it into this sickening money racket. But what is the benefit? Nothing. There is no benefit to buying into Valentine’s Day. If I buy into it I’ll hope for a pile of dark chocolate (milk doesn’t count) and/or flowers garnished with a card. If these clichés wind up on my doorstep, I’ll feel relieved that, you know, at least I got something. So my feelings will just break even and I still will have endured some anxiety while wearing an ugly bright red sweater. If I don’t get anything I’ll feel upset and take my disappointment out on all potential Valentines, which really only add up to Spaniard and… my mother doesn’t count. Buying into it won’t guarantee an amazing night with your lover. I can hardly remember VDs with past boyfriends, except last year’s in which Evil A and I agreed not to get each other anything. I got him a shirt or something, thinking he’d do the same. Right after I gave him his gift he ran to the chocolate shop down the street, then the bodega around the corner, and “surprised” me with dark chocolate truffles and red roses. I think planned VDs mostly turn out less-than-mediocre across the board because of the formula (for those in the “dating” phase): January 26: Woman mentions VDay “in passing” to Partner. Something like, “I can’t believe it’s almost February! It’s like there’s nothing to look forward to after the holidays, you know? Ooh—I mean—except for Valentine’s Day.” January 31: Woman mentions VDay in conversation, intending to turn it to plans for this year. Something like, “OMG, I know. Like, last Valentine’s Day sucked because my boyfriend [insert offense that became way more offensive because it happened on Valentine’s Day here].” Partner had better make VDay amazing. February 7: Woman’s anxiety begins. Something like, “Partner better be planning something. But what if he doesn’t? No, no, it’ll be fine.” February 9: Woman’s anxiety increases. Something like, “What if he forgot it’s Valentine’s Day? That’s impossible, there’s red shit in every Banana Republic window and he did go to Duane Reade yesterday…” February 12: Woman begins polling friends in committed relationships about their plans. Anxiety is offset since Woman believes her VD will be way more romantic because her love is burgeoning, not old and stale… right? February 14 if nothing happens: Woman feels like shit. By 5 p.m. woman texts or calls or IMs Partner and causally mentions how sick she is of all the milk chocolate at her office, and she doesn’t understand why no one seems to favor dark. If the last ditch attempt fails, Woman feels shittier. February 14 if shit works out and woman gets dark chocolates and/or flowers: Woman feels relieved—at least she got something. If Woman is taken out to dinner, the fussing over chocolates and flowers taking place at her apartment must be cut short so Couple can make dinner reservation on time. The hostess has informed Partner if they’re late, they’ll lose it. Couple hurries to restaurant, arrives late and anxiety-ridden over lateness, must wait 30 minutes anyway. Couple is seated, forced to eat the prix-fixe special, and feels lame in the company of other couples who no doubt rushed to dinner and timed their evenings carefully to make the reservation. February 15 if shit worked out and woman got dark chocolates and/or flowers: Woman’s feelings break even: At least she did something. Woman wishes the sex had been better. I could ensure that I have someone fussing over me on Valentine’s Day. I could drop hints that lead into conversations in which I specify exactly what I want to happen, which is probably what I’ve done in the past. But I hate coming off as desperate/anxious. I prefer to keep my anxiety neatly shielded with a laid back attitude and composed yet casual demeanor. But no amount of dark chocolate and planning will ensure an amazing romantic moment. Those are realized when least expected.

And let's not forget VD only makes single people—mostly women—hate themselves more. I can't support a "holiday" that inspires such sentiments when I think singlehood is an amazing, wonderful life-phase. So this year I’m VDay neutral. I'll treat is mostly as any other day, not acting excited about it but not rejecting it outright since there can be nice things about it. I even went to a VDay party, and wore a heart-shaped pendant necklace at the hostess’ request that guests wear something VDay-esque. (Then again, there’s nothing I love more than a good theme, especially when it comes to parties.) If I get dark chocolate I won’t reject it. If I get a card from my mother, I’ll be glad. This year I just have zero out-of-the-ordinary expectations. Nor do I desire to create them for a fake-ass “love day” that just makes too many fellow singlettes feel bad about themselves. And I refuse to listen to them complain about singlehood or feel bad for it myself. I will incorporate my gay friend Mez’s VDay philosophy into my neutrality: “It’s all about great sex,” he says. “And chocolate-covered strawberries.” So, ok, the CCS are kind of commercial. But they’re fun and delicious and I wouldn’t think to eat them if it wasn’t VDay. Besides the philosophy as a whole is good because the former burns off the later, and VDay just becomes an excuse for a booty call. (If you’re worried about the sex being bad then you have way worse problems and need a new Valentine and partner ASAP.) So if I happen to see Spaniard (see, I didn’t even try to plan that in advance) the only unusual element of our encounter under the Mez Neutral Philosophy would be the CCS. But by tomorrow night Spaniard probably will have made me forget about them anyway.

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