Can we do dinner on Friday? Thursdays are pretty rough for me, my boyfriend texted me last Wednesday.
But Friday isn’t Valentine’s Day, I thought.
I actually can’t do Friday. I told Monica I’d get dinner with her, I answered.
That was true.
Can we do Saturday then?
Yea. I’m not upset or anything though, so if you don’t have time, that’s fine. I don’t want you to have to cram stuff in.
That was mostly true.
I did know that he was busy, and I didn’t want to add extra stress to his week. But I was a bit upset.
As we kept texting about our (now lack of) V-Day plans, he told me that he’d stop over later that night. I reasoned with myself that I was still going to see him, that we got dinner together all the time, and that we would definitely get dinner on Saturday. What was the big deal about February 14th?
Valentine’s Day is a stupid corporate holiday designed to help Hallmark sell cards and Hersey’s sell kisses and assorted other chocolates. And being nice to someone on Valentine’s Day doesn’t make up for being crappy to him/her every other day of the year.
My boyfriend and I have been together for eight months, and he is mostly always very wonderful. I say mostly because sometimes he decides not to come visit on trash night, so my roommates and I have to take care of the trash duties on our own. It’s as if he thinks that we should be responsible for our own garbage or something. Very confusing. But, usually he does come over on trash night to help, and we are very thankful, and he is very wonderful.
This was what one side of my brain was telling me. But then there was the other side.
Valentine’s Day may be a stupid corporate holiday that has become more about spending money than making memories, but at its core, there’s something really nice about it. There’s something really nice about a day thats purpose is to tell those most important to you that you care about them.
My boyfriend isn’t into sappy, cliché stuff, which is good because I’m not either. I always knew I wouldn’t be getting 100 red roses, a giant stuffed teddy bear, or a special delivery singing Valentine, but that wasn’t what I wanted.
I’d bought my Valentine’s Day present for him weeks ago. I’d hidden it away in my room but found myself checking on it frequently. I couldn’t wait to give it to him. I couldn’t wait to see his face when he opened it. And what I wanted was for him to feel that way, too.
When Valentine’s Day rolled around, this latter side of my brain was weighing on me. I had accepted that I would not be eating dinner with my boyfriend, but I felt very strongly that I did not want to eat alone. To avoid that fate, I texted some friends and begged them to be my Valentine’s company.
“Where’s your boyfriend?” Erin asked.
“He’s stupid,” I answered.
Then I gave her a real answer. Then she told me what I’d been telling myself all day: “I mean, he just doesn’t really seem like a Valentine’s Day guy.”
“I know, I know,” I said. And then I proceeded to complain about it.
By the end of dinner, I had planned exactly what I wanted to say to him when he came over. I didn’t want to fight or make this a big deal. I wasn’t super upset, but I wasn’t happy, either. I had been excited about the day. I’d wanted him to be excited about it too.
As I prepared to see him, I repeated this to myself over and over. That’s what I have to do when I want to talk to anyone about anything remotely important. Otherwise, the conversation becomes an awkward succession of “ums” and “likes.”
When he finally came over, I was well rehearsed and ready to lecture. But I was not ready for what was on the other side of the door. He was smiling and holding a yellow rose. Yellow, not red, because yellow is my favorite color, he told me. He knew I was going to like it; he’d been excited to give it to me, he told me.
It was a small gesture, I know–and I knew it at the time. But to me, it was perfect. It was exactly what I wanted for Valentine’s Day.