My husband is a hopeless romantic. For the sake of his manly reputation, I will leave out the details that have led me to this conclusion. But even Hugh Grant, King of the Rom-Con himself, would have trouble living up to the impossible standards Hallmark and Lifetime have set for this ridiculous holiday. One can’t turn on the television during the month of February without being bombarded by an array of jewelry store commercials that lead us toward any number of Valentine’s Day fantasies that don’t have a single hope of playing out in the real world.
Now, I’m not bitter, but I have been a woman scorned by Cupid’s propaganda on more than one occasion. As a young girl, I knew that I needed to have a Valentine or else be left out of all the hoopla. I remember my first high school boyfriend and thinking to myself–Finally! A boyfriend for the holiday. Yeah, we broke up on February 13th. A day early and a Valentine date short.
A couple years later I had a steadier boyfriend and it seemed as if Valentine’s Day was a sure thing. I bought him cologne, a stuffed animal, and I think some sort of themed boxer shorts. He didn’t get me a gift, but did promise to take me out to dinner. We went to a restaurant that gave out free rolls. Do you know what we ordered? Drinks. I had a three rolls and a Diet Coke for dinner.
There was the one year a different boyfriend gave me a piece of jewelry…that he’d gotten back from an ex-girlfriend when they broke up. Oh, and how could I forget that one guy that I bought the tickets to the Lakers/Pacers game for and he gave me…well, he didn’t think we were really exchanging gifts. And there was that one time my boyfriend, a free-thinker, didn’t think we should acknowledge the commercial-ridden occasion. I agreed, going along with the idea that the card companies had orchestrated the whole thing just so to take our money. But when I went to bed that night, I remember wishing he’d acknowledged the holiday, just a little.
There were other years filled with huge stuffed animals holding hearts, rings that eventually turned my finger green. Sweet gestures that I appreciated, but rarely did they live up to the hype.
Even with my dear husband, I’ve had some moments that have left me wondering – why do we do this to ourselves? He’s a fan of singing telegrams. The first one he ever sent me was at my job…the day the president of the hospital had come to visit my area. How do you explain a quartet of women singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to administration? Last year he decided to make me a special, and quite complicated dinner. Up until then, his specialty had included Hamburger Helper and frozen chicken nuggets. That evening I found myself wandering the aisles of the grocery store, trying to find us something to eat.
This year I’ve told the hubby not to make plans. I’d rather stay at home and just spend time with him, hidden away from all the expectations. Really, that’s what the day should be about. Love – without the hype.
Click here to see this year’s early Valentine’s gift from my husband… singing telegram