I completely forgot that today was Valentine's Day. J. and I went down into Vancouver for a few hours today, mostly as long as my ankle could handle, and on the trip home, somewhere on the bus or the Skytrain, I suddenly remembered that it was the day I used to call "Singles' Awareness Day" (acronym, SAD). It had slipped my mind before that.
This is a day which I liked when I was a child, because my grandparents would give us candy on pretty much any holiday. One winter when they were in Arizona (back in the days when they were snowbirds), they sent me and my brothers candy for Groundhog Day. So I liked that part. I liked making valentines with construction paper and giving them to my friends. I didn't really dislike the holiday until high school. Suddenly, I was head over heels in "love" with a guy who thought I was okay, but wasn't interested at all in me (he was head over heels for a friend of mine, instead). I was miserable. Valentine's Day sucked, because all the happy couples around me were giving each other flowers and candy and going on dates and going to the Sweethearts' Banquet our school hosted. That year, my dad gave me some really great socks for Valentine's Day and took me to the bookstore to cheer me up (where I bought Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility). I have great parents. I'm still amazed they put up with me in some of my moodier moments in my teens.
So, I made it through high school, tending towards grumpy every Valentine's Day because it would remind me even more that whoever I happened to like at the time didn't like me. Then I went off to university and met J. Our first Valentine's Day together happened about three weeks after we started (officially) dating. I told him I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, and being a guy who was still learning to read me, he took me at my word. I wrote him a poem and got my best friend to write it out for me in calligraphy. He said, "Oh yeah, happy Valentine's day" right before a class we had together. It wasn't the greatest day, since I had hoped he would do something in spite of what I'd said, but even so, I didn't exactly hate it anymore.
These days, we might go out for dinner, or stay in and make dinner together. The year he decided to make me Indian food was interesting. We had homemade palak paneer and some flatbread with grated horseradish in it. And that was it. Although, palak paneer is very filling. We went out for dinner tonight, but more because we didn't want to cook and Valentine's Day was as good an excuse as any. If he gives me red roses, it's never on Valentine's Day, it's because he thought it would be nice to bring me flowers.
I'm far less romantic than I used to be. I used to daydream about a guy who would do the grand gestures, but it turned out that what I really wanted was someone like J. He's not usually terribly romantic (although the occasional bouquet is really sweet of him), but I never doubt that he loves me, and I know that I love him. We don't play games with each other, and while it's not perfect (I doubt I could live with perfect--it'd drive me crazy), it's good. And we're happy.
Plus, wandering around Vancouver today was much more fun than an expensive candlelit dinner with roses. We had burritos and got to see a snowboarder jumping on a trampoline.