(Courtesy of www.meetup.com)
Still there, I see. A warning, then: what I'm writing here may be tagged as another anti-Valentine's piece. It seems I do have a circle of friends with the same line of thinking, who can't stand the general cheesiness and the heightened icky-ness factor this "special day" brings out, with the theme being "my bouquet is larger than your bouquet".
Imported chocolates, flower arrangements that would make the undead suicidal, restaurant reservations, themes and menus that can bring out the homicidal in me for overtly pressing on the "cutesy" button, the only ones who are guaranteed to smile during this "day of hearts" are the merchants who take advantage of this Hallmark mainstay, feeding into all of us the idea that (1) you have to impress your significant other even more ridiculously showy than last year and (2) you're incomplete as a person if you haven't found "the one", and are barred from the joys of a day devoted to eros.
So you went for the big guns: you spent, you splurged, you even got lucky. Ehem. What's next?
That's right, it's back to the mundane-ness of everyday life. What a downer, huh? After that one (literal) red-letter day, it's business as usual. Waking up late, rushing through breakfast, getting the third degree from your boss for your "punctuality issues" and trying to convince yourself that this job you have secretly dubbed the precursor to Hell is worth the amount of money they're paying you.
If you're lucky, you will have time to have a drink, catch a movie or somehow do something in the "recreation" family with that person you have relished Valentine's Day with. But are you ready to do that everyday, until the next February 14 rolls around?
I have always viewed romance, love, whichever term you wish to use, as an intertwining of lives. If you claim another human being as "the one", that seems to be a given. And such a relationship will have to come face to face with something longtime couples know firsthand - romance is in the mundane details. A ride home can be mind-numbing after a day's work, does it seem just a little more bearable with "the one" riding with you?
When funds are down, and you have to tighten your belts, are both of you on board and seeing this just as another hurdle to go through?
Do you find yourselves doing your weekly grocery shopping, and finding yourself in another head conversation, thinking that this person pushing the cart is somehow responsible for changing your worldview on what contentment is all about?
And do you find it odd that you have stopped counting the years you have been together, as opposed to when you were just starting, where you had the silly notion of celebrating "monthsaries," and have to genuinely stop and count whenever someone asks how long you have been together, and surprising yourself that you are nearing two or three decades?
I have always found that the only way a relationship - one defined as romantic - can last is if the partners are willing to be emotionally invested. There can be no two ways about it, and here, I would like to differentiate it with those primarily concerned with acts of a more sensual nature, which seems to be a function of physical attractiveness and body fat percentage. I wager that those endowed with physical perfection will have no shortage of dates, but if you want to have one person to date for life, it will have to transcend the physical.
That means involvement in what can be viewed as the most boring aspects of one's life, in the interests of the other that you would find no pleasure in pursuing yourself. You say compromise, I say accomodation. It's inevitable that there are some things about your partner that will piss the hell out of you, and I view those differences as welcome, necessary parts of making one's relationship even better. It forces you to get out of your own head space, and be empathic with someone you once claimed you would do anything for.
So, no, I am not a fan of these showy gestures every time we get to the middle of February. Celebrating your love for each other is nice, but it's what you do in the 364 days after Feb. 14 that will determine if you will be facing each other when Valentine's comes around again next year.
Unless you plan to have a different date each year, in which case you should have bailed out when I told you to in the first paragraph.