I have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. I love love, don’t get me wrong. But I do dislike sappy, PDA crap. I am not bitter. I might be a little bit of a prude, according to my friends. And I do think it is important to go out of your way to show some extra or unexpected appreciation for those who are important in your life. However, Valentine’s Day kind of makes me want to barf.
You see, I was lied to by the movies. I grew up on chick flicks like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Notting Hill, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Notebook and Dirty Dancing. These movies taught me that even the icy hearts of stern men would melt for true love. These movies taught me that every woman with a good heart would be swept off her feet with that perfectly choreographed dance, that perfectly lit birthday cake, and that perfectly timed monologue. I still love these movies. These movies still make me cry and fill my heart and soul with love and happiness. However, I now find myself making farting and barfing noises with my husband whenever we watch something sappy together.
What happened to me? Have I given up on romance?
My husband is not cold or heartless. He is also not much of a romantic person. He is realistic. I know I never have to question his love and commitment to me because he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He is honest about his feelings and he does show affection. But he doesn’t get fancy with the glitter and confetti and all that jazz. He says it like it is. My husband has shown me that love is so much more than that one perfect moment. Love is knowing that no matter how imperfect things may be at times, you will have another dance, you will eat some more cake, and you will share more stories together.
I have not given up on romance. I just don’t put romance on a pedestal anymore. Instead, I put the vow I made to my husband on our wedding day on that pedestal, and my husband has done the same. I’d say that’s pretty damn romantic.
Back to Valentine’s Day making me want to barf. Let me clarify. I do appreciate my husband’s romantic gestures. And I do appreciate Valentine’s Day because it is the one day I can count on finding chocolate in the house. However, it is also a day to reflect on what love, marriage and our relationships with each other are really about. Is love really about spending money on cards and gifts and over-priced dinners? Is love really about expecting to see some fancy lingerie? Is love really about impressing each other? Is love really only for ‘couples’? We are not stupid. We all know this is not what love is about. We all know love can be found in a variety of relationships. But it’s easy to get caught up in the hype, especially when so many of us have grown up on chick flicks and the sexy voices of Dave Matthews, Gavin Rossdale and Matt Nathanson. So when I find myself getting caught up in the hype, I start making fake barfing or farting sounds with my hubby to bring me back to reality. That’s real, mature love. That shit is romantic.
There are many things I love about Valentine’s Day. Thoughtful notes. Red velvet cake. Making cards with the kiddos to pass out to family and friends. Decorating the house with hearts. Telling those who are most important to me that I love and appreciate them. Love song playlists. Chocolate. Heart-shaped cookies. Taking an extra moment to truly soak in the beauty of love. Yes, Valentine’s Day is delicious, warm and whimsical. And so is every other day.
Love it or hate it, I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. May it be filled with all of the wonderful things Matt Nathanson sings about, like sunlight and strawberry bubble gum. If anything, get your lovin’ on and share your Valentine’s story by participating in this week’s DP writing challenge.