So…I actually legitimately forgot it was Valentine’s Day today. Hahah. I had a completely different post lined up for today (yes I schedule and plan these out in advance). It was going to be another cooking post actually, something I made over the weekend. But that’ll be tomorrow because I feel like a blog with this particular focus and origin story should probably speak about something on what is supposed to be the most romantic holiday of the year.
Whatever that means.
I actually do like Valentine’s Day. Yeah sorry, the world couldn’t make me cynical enough to not care. I know it’s a cheesy, overly capitalist consumerist holiday filled with earwax flavored powdered chalk hearts, assorted chocolate boxes that really only have two worth eating, impractically large stuffed bears, and overpriced prix fixe menus but it’s my cheesy, over capitalist consumerist holiday. Whatever little sense of competition and competitiveness I do have is usually reserved for things like this and I feel like not only am I competing against every other boyfriend in the world, most of all I’m competing against myself. Trying to make each year better and bigger than the last and ‘win’ at cramming as much love and sentiment and all that jazz into one day as possible. Ahahah.
For the most part, I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I remember my first real Valentine’s Day was in high school. I had to have my parents pick up my date because I wasn’t old enough to drive yet. We went to this Taiwanese restaurant that my family and I would always go to and they would give us little freebies. An appetizer, some bubble tea, simple things just as a sign of gratitude and appreciation for our continued and frequent patronage. She was Chinese and it was fun watching her order in Mandarin and we had these dishes that I guess had always been on the menu but my family never knew or thought to order. I gave her a Zune. She got me a mandolin slicer. Zunes ended up being a flop and I sliced off my finger pad with the slicer the first time I used it. Hahah. My first Valentine’s with Beautiful, we went to Build a Bear and made Big [My name] together. He’s sadly lost forever in some dump somewhere most likely. Last year, I took her to Philly for the weekend and we recreated our first visit and she got roses at every stop. I don’t need to tell you how that ended up.
I feel old and irrelevant. Like a former high school athlete who petered out and has nothing better to do than wear his old varsity jacket and hang around the local bowling alley. I worry all I have now are stories of the past. When I first started writing, my fear was that I would be haunted by the ghosts of my past forever, and that the reminders that surrounded me would eventually weigh me down so much I wouldn’t be able to pick myself up. Writing was this therapeutic way of bringing these ghosts back into physical form and letting them live on somewhere else other than just my memory. They became stories and lessons and things I could actually weave together into something productive, useful. Now I wonder if I’ve beaten a dead horse too much. If I’ve run out. There’s a fine line between nostalgia for the past and obsession for it.
At the same time though I also feel like I have all this pent up energy. Like I’ve still got so much to do and so much I could be capable of and it’s the last quarter and my team is down but my coach has benched me for the season. Yesterday as I was having lunch in our lounge area I heard some coworkers from other departments talking about their Valentine’s plans. ‘Oh we have a restaurant.com gift card to use up so we’ll probably go somewhere that’ll take it,’ said one woman. Another commented, ‘we usually just buy our own gifts since he doesn’t ever really know what to get’. The sole male member of their group was actually quite confident when he said ‘I have an app that remembers holidays and it just sends flowers and chocolates to be delivered home. It’s great and it’s so easy to use’. I physically cringed.
If anything, I feel this call to action because I don’t want to see the sorry sad state modern-day romance seems to be in. I’m not saying we need to go back to such old and outdated notions like a guy throwing his coat onto the ground so she doesn’t step in a puddle. But you know, let’s actually take the time and effort to plan dates and know what to get for gifts. Let’s open doors and pay for meals. It’s kind of worrying when around the holidays and Valentine’s there are so many online forum posts and questions about ‘how do I get her to tell me what she wants as a gift’ or ‘top 10 easy, universal gift ideas that’ll keep her happy’. At the same time though, I still find those overly-public and attention-seeking grand gestures too exaggerated and impersonal. Everyone wants to ooh and aah but I don’t know…I find it desperate, insisting upon itself. So I come off cynical. It’s funny. I have this die-hard romantic side of me that’s been kept bottled up now for going on two-third of a year, which is about as long as some of these new people I work with have known me. They never saw me with Beautiful. Or with any of the other girls. I’m not as close with them as I was in my old job at my old place. They know very little, outside of what I give them, and they supplement that with your standard modern-day twenty-something single male stereotypes. They joke that since I am usually very frugal and good with money that I must make the girl pay or I suggest we split everything when we go out. They tell me I better find a girl because I’m too quiet and uptight. That if I’m single too long I’ll go hungry (they don’t know I cook). They have this very depressing view on me, that either I must be sad because I’m alone or that I must be undateable. Hahah. I could say something, show something, but I don’t have the energy nor the will nor the care really to do so. I’m not dating or will date any of them, so what have I got to prove? It’s just really stifling, feeling like a superhero in a world that has no need for, or belief in, one.
What keeps me sane through all this is the meshing together of these two thoughts. On the one hand, I know I am prone to, and enjoy, the larger than life displays and romantic gestures. On the other hand, that I am still putting myself in a position of waiting and analyzing. See because one helps me to realize that no matter how big or small the gesture, it doesn’t really do much to contribute to the overall success or failure of a relationship. There are people far happier than me who have done less and people who are alone and yet may have done even more. What I did for these women, they were never contracts or agreements. I did them because I wanted to. And they left because well, they wanted to also. I like the memories. I think they were sweet and I was happy in them. I’m still happy, but maybe just not so sweet. Hahah. But I’m not relegated to these reminders of the past. Because…point two, I know I am still very much able and capable and overall wanting, to be that person again. I never gave up on love or hope of love. I think if I’m really honest, a lot of times in the past the gesture came first, the person second. Meaning to say, I wanted to be this romance god and had this idea of what to do and I just projected that onto whoever I was with. But if the relationship is about the gesture, it’s not the best or even strongest foundation. Now, I’m still very much the same person but I want to find someone first. Spend the time to find someone really special. Important. Then, I want to figure out what they want, are looking for. Pour all this energy and drive into defying and surpassing all expectation and do something that speaks straight to the heart of that one person. Universal plans are nice, and I still have them. But I want to find someone and be with someone who inspires me to do things deeply personal and unique. I think she and I could create some real great things. And then I’d still be winning anyways. Hahah.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Man: 190 Loneliness: 32