Valentine’s Day can be a real pain in the ass. Somebody’s expectations are too high. Somebody else thinks they are in a relationship with someone who is very cool and blasé about Hallmark holidays, but that somebody is wrong. Or maybe somebody is single and truly, fuck Valentine’s Day when you’re single. You can have all the lady hang outs and bottles of wine you want, but the only thing that will make you feel better is the dawn of February 15th. For the most part, in my experience Valentine’s Day has sucked a bag of butts, but there were a few that were okay.
The Best Valentine’s Day When I Was Single
In 2007 I was a senior in college in Boston. On Valentine’s Day there was a terrible snow/ice storm. Classes were cancelled at 3pm. My friends and I could not believe our good fortune. We put on boots and collected at one apartment in the disgusting college ghetto of Ashford Street in Allston, Massachusetts. Since it was Valentine’s Day and we were mostly single and many of us had a penchant for the dramatic, things escalated quickly. My friend Michael had a giant hollow glass boot that he filled with 5 hard ciders (he had to drink cider because he had celiac disease before it was trendy). He clinked the giant glass boot with someone and it instantly shattered, sending 5 hard ciders everywhere. That’s how the night started.
At one point, someone decided to strip down to his boxers and run across the street. In an ice storm. So we all did it, obviously.
After the collective ice storm underpants run, I guess I was drunk enough that I started getting sad that I didn’t have a boyfriend. So I collected a few single lady friends and we went to a bar to score some dudes. It didn’t pan out, but it was fun, I think.
It’s possible that it was not fun at all, in the moment. It’s likely I would have had more fun watching movies and eating brownies with fewer friends and less alcohol. But it was also the last time I spent Valentine’s Day single. As such, it was a necessary rite of passage. You can’t just run across the street in your underwear in an ice storm on Valentine’s Day all the time. It doesn’t make sense when you’re married with a kid. If I tried to pull that shit now, my neighbors would probably notify child services or have me committed. But 2007 was my year to make bad decisions born of alcohol and disappointment.
The Best Valentine’s Day When I Stayed Home
I left my office job in 2011 to write full time and my husband and I started feeling the financial burn a few months after. Valentine’s Day always ends up being expensive and maybe for no reason? What I really want, every year, is a night on the town that involves perfume and a nice meal and a cocktail and probably old-timey dancing, but all that stuff gets really expensive and if it’s only for me, it feels unnecessary and uncalled for. It almost seems like it’s the kind of thing people do to rekindle the spark of their failing marriages. My happy marriage doesn’t need that kind of crap. We are secure in our love for each other.
But whatever, I like that crap.
Anyway it didn’t matter in 2012 because we didn’t have the money to go traipsing around town, drinking champagne out of golden whatevers and eating diamonds. We stayed home, but I tried to make it special. I bought some nice steaks and oysters and wine. And whoops, it cost like $100. And I’m not a chef and actually was a vegetarian for 12 years so I’m still sort of bad at cooking meat and I cooked the steaks poorly and we weren’t even really saving much money at all and no strangers saw me in a cute outfit. What was even the point?
I know there’s a larger question I should be asking myself here, about why I need strangers to see me in a cute outfit, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Related: when watching the Super Bowl this year I kept thinking that it must be so much fun to play in the Super Bowl because of all the bright lights and all the people that are looking at you. Isn’t it fun to learn things about yourself?
Anyway this wasn’t the best Valentine’s Day for me, because I am an extrovert who loves events and change and movement. This was the best Valentine’s Day for my husband who loves home and food and comfort and staying the same. If you are like him, this would be your best Valentine’s Day.
The Best Valentine’s Day When I Went Out
Last year, my husband and I had just come out of a nightmarish series of sad losses in our lives. Having a bunch of terrible things happen to you makes you a little careless with money, so when Valentine’s Day rolled around we made a reservation at the restaurant where my husband proposed five years earlier. I think he was trying to make me happy. We ordered the giant fancy steak for two and it was maybe the best meal of my life. We went to a bar after dinner and played songs on the jukebox. This was my favorite Valentine’s Day and it was so unlike my husband, but he did it for me and I had to ultimately let him convince me that it was what he wanted too.
Sometimes maybe it’s best to just let your significant other do something for you that isn’t their ideal. Maybe that’s the best way to manifest love. Or to even have it end up being something you want because what you want most is for the person you love to be happy. Maybe that’s what Valentine’s Day is about now. Doing something you hate because someone you love wants you to, and that makes you hate it less.
Or maybe the best Valentine’s Day is whatever is best for you: ignoring it entirely or eating brownies and watching movies or getting wasted and running through an ice storm in your panties.