I have been trying to think of something interesting to say about Valentine's Day all week. Unfortunately, I don't think I can say it any better than Tracey at Sweetney did here.
Valentine's Day in general just makes me feel like shrugging. I vacillate between apathy and expectation. The story of my life in a way--a non-conformist trapped by a conformist upbringing. Or is it a conformist trapped by a desire to be a non-conformist. I could probably pay someone a bunch of money to find out. I'm pretty sure I'm trapped by something.
I like flowers and sweetness as much as the next girl but, for some reason, the notion of it happening on a set day takes all the jazz out of it for me. It's like telling your husband he better bring you some damn flowers and then...he does. Big whoop. So he can follow instructions. So can my two-year-old and the mutt I got from the pound.
Spontaneous acts of romance just don't have that nasty tinge of requirement. But then, my husband isn't a "I was just thinking of you today, so I got you something beautiful" kind of guy. He's more of a "I knew you needed an oil change, so I scheduled it for your day off" kinda guy. And I usually appreciate that kind of pragmatism, really, but it certainly doesn't make you all wobbly kneed. So while I really don't like the idea of Valentine's day, I still sort of hope for some small token, even though it doesn't mean much to me. You know?
But if you let go of the arm-twisting, nonsense of Valentine's Day, where do you get your hit? What to do about a little romance? Are we fated to finding statements of undying love in the times they clean up their whiskers after shaving? Most of us have the romance at the start. Where does it go? Does it evaporate? Or just get gobbled up by the dreck that takes precedence day to day? I'm okay giving up on V-day. I really am. But I want something in return. Something besides him putting his shoes away a couple times a year.
In fact, maybe I just got it. Stephen sent me an interesting article from The New York Times yesterday called Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples. You should read it. The gist is that it's not spending scheduled time together that rejuvenates romance in a long term relationship. It's not the ubiquitous date night, or even the wilted, annual bouquet from the grocery store.
It's novelty. Anything new somehow kick starts that dead area of the brain that's so on fire in the early months of a relationship. That he emailed this article is not lost on me as a romantic act in and of itself, albeit a pragmatic one. But it's a start. And if there's something to this, I'm willing to give it a try.
So maybe we should all call it off for today. Everyone gets a pass on Valentine's Day. And instead of scrambling for candy and picked over flowers and silly Hallmark cards to show we care because, well, we're supposed to, let's all spend that time planning something totally new for the weekend.
Maybe paint ball, or a couples massage, or a night at the theatre or a comedy show instead of another movie. Sign up for a class together. I don't think it's really important that you find something that you both have always been dying to do, just that's it's something neither of you has ever done before and can see yourselves potentially having fun at--even if part of the fun is laughing at the other people there.
Maybe it's all hokum and a box of Russell Stover's will get you through the holiday, but I'm looking for something long term. Something that doesn't drop its petals by the 15th...or go straight to my hips.