I admit to extreme Ugly Duckling syndrome with no reversal whatsoever. At no point in my life did I morph into a swan. I merely came to accept my appearance and hope others could too. As such, I’ve never had reason to believe that someone was pining over me, secretly hoping to capture my attention. It’s not a pity-party, it’s fact. My siblings, Michael and Christine, are physically beautiful. I, my dears, am interesting. Sometimes, charismatic.
Because of this, I was NEVER into Valentine’s Day. It was a day to be reminded that Janis Ian was killing me softly with her song, “At 17”. I received Valentine’s cards because my teachers, like all teachers, insisted that you give cards to everyone. Eh. So it goes, right?
As I grew older, my cynicism towards the day grew even greater. For some reason it became the lynch-pin which holds a relationship together. I watched as women dictated the rules about what was and wasn’t acceptable about Valentine’s day to their partners.
I think, honestly, there are commandments written in stone somewhere. One of them, swear to God true life story, is “Thou shalt send the flowers to work so that other women will envy me.” It’s followed by “Flowers sent must send every woman within 200 feet into a fit of jealousy and rage or you will have RUINED Valentine’s Day.” Not to be overshadowed by, “What do you MEAN you aren’t proposing on Valentine’s Day?” If I were a man, I’d break up on February 1st and get back together on March 1st. I’d celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — green beer seems pretty safe.
There are people, I’m sure, who find my assertion that this is a card holiday to be avoided at all costs, naive and steeped in petty jealousy. After all, did I get anything? Well, sometimes I do. There’s a very sweet CD upstairs that Taed gave me years ago called, “My Heart on My Short Sleeve.” It’s filled with the love songs he picked out from a site. It’s very sweet. It shows that he was putting it out there for me. Of course, I was too stupid to know that. But he stayed anyway.
Have I mentioned that at least two or three times he’s made homemade cards for me? Out of construction paper and doilies. I think I still have them in a box upstairs.
Personally, I believe that having someone cuddle me, help with chores, and sit with me under blankets on the couch eating popcorn and watching whatever is on a pretty precious gift. I don’t need flowers, a Hallmark card, jewelry, or dinner reservations to know I’m loved. I have 17 years of being with someone who loves me despite myself and could have easily walked away many times without incurring criticism from anyone, but he stayed. And he still loves me.
Perhaps, that’s the greatest gift of all.
Happy Valentine’s Day Taed. I hope you liked the ice cream. I love you.