EDIT: Congrats to the Hillams on the birth of their healthy (and big!) son today!
I didn't know it was Valentine's Day until I got to work and saw an obnoxious and ginormous display of balloons on a co-worker's desk. To be clear, it isn't the fact that her husband got her balloons that's obnoxious, or even the size of the display -- though it is pretty ridiculous -- but every time I stand up, I see a giant red monster creeping over the partition to my desk, and when I turn towards it all freaked out, I realize that it's the damn balloons.
I haven't really celebrated Valentine's Day since I knew better. I had boyfriends all through high school, and I suppose I would exchange something with them -- the only thing I can remember, though, is a card that a boyfriend made for me in his German class for Valentinstag, with construction paper cut-out hearts pasted on it, branded with his handwritten Ich Liebe Dich.
Then I started to actually think about the "holiday" and realized that it doesn't make much sense to celebrate romance in the name of a Catholic priest. Or to celebrate romance in the name of anyone else but yourself and your partner, for that matter. Or hell -- why do we need to celebrate it at all? Isn't having romance good enough, or are people still not satisfied with being in love, so it's gotta be recognized everywhere -- at restaurants, the movies, on TV, the workplace, within retail. As if people need an excuse to spend epic amounts of cash.
I've been in relationships and not celebrated Valentine's Day. This isn't "Singles' Awareness Day" (a.k.a. S.A.D.... and yes, for the record, they could have chosen a better name) for me, either, because that always sounded defensive and desperate to me. Also, I'd like to see data on what happens when people go out to celebrate Singles' Awareness Day: what percentage of that population wakes up to someone else in their bed the next morning? I bet at least 80% start off the evening strong, maybe even wearing a festive antivalentinism shirt, loosen up with a few drinks, say "HAAAAY!" to everyone in the bar they barely know, toast to their freedom over tequila, cry in the bathroom, fix up the face, then scan the crowd and let the beer goggles do the detection. An hour later, a perfect stranger is sleeping and drooling on the pillow a foot away. Awkward.
So I obviously have some pre-conceived notions about Singles' Awareness Day. My pre-conceived notions about celebrating Valentine's Day as an adult, since I haven't celebrated it since high school? Woman wants jewelry, man gets her jewelry, woman doesn't like that jewelry. (Tip: Men, if you buy your gal a piece of jewelry that she actually doesn't like, your next purchase should be a lotto ticket. Unless your gal is a huge bitch.) You wouldn't believe how many times I've heard a woman say, "Well, he got me a charm bracelet/a pendant/pearl earrings/etc.... yeah, it's nice... but, you know, it isn't an engagement ring/a vacation/a brand new car, soooo I'm a bit disappointed." I think the next time I hear someone say that, I'm just going to punch them in the face.
Was talking to a co-worker yesterday about jewelry for his wife. Apparently, he's had a bad run with gifts lately -- she doesn't seem to like anything he gets for her. I said, "Here, why don't you tell her that there's this young woman at work who would love to receive these gifts instead." He laughed and said he didn't think that would go over very well, but I could tell by the look in his eye that he was actually considering it. And you know why? Because not appreciating a gesture like your partner getting you a gift, whether it's made of diamonds or construction paper, is a really bitchy thing to do.
I DID, b-t-dubs, receive a Valentine this year. One of my co-workers gave me a little Spongebob Valentine's card, some candy, a My Little Pony sticker (?!), and a fake tattoo of something that looks like either a purple puppy or kitten. Whatever it is -- TATTOO. CHECK OUT MY TAT.