Valentine's Day really is about expectations. People without significant others give it derisive names for being reminded they're alone.
Reminders are key, too. Expectations and reminders.
Last year, my wife talked a lot about Valentine's Day because several close friends and their spouses had big plans. Not everyone is big about celebrating holidays. I'm not a big holiday celebratant and my wife seemed to be the same. Going along with our standard agenda last year left her depressed and empty because her friends were celebrating in big ways.
The main irritation sources were three couples who celebrate for different reasons that are the same, tradition and expectations. One couple is very wealthy and celebrate every holiday as rewards to themselves because they made it. Valentine's Day was an opportunity for lavish spending, ostentatious to me, flowers and jewelry, dressing up for a big dinner out, the theater. The other was doing similar but their reasoning was sort of the same and different; it was his first marriage and her second, and he thought this is how guys are supposed to act, by being romantic and extravagant on Valentine's Day. It didn't matter that he'd been unemployed two years. This was Valentine's Day!
The third couple was having a quiet, romantic dinner at home because that was their tradition, but it was full of planning.
Hearing about all these plans, my wife was a bit jealous. The hue went up that we should do something for Valentine's Day. Eventually, I made secret plans and we had a nice dinner out.
I was taken aback. She admitted she was reacting differently and that she was jealous of the other couples. She'd always decried Valentine's Day as made up by candy, flower and greeting card companies. Quite pragmatic, with cagey views on spending and saving, my wife wasn't interested in frivolous spending on flowers and cards. Her position was hardened during our military years when we lived on budgets, counting pennies in the early years to buy ourselves a treat.
Fast forward a year.
Two of the couples have moved away. We know from one couple's Facebook page that they're again having a big do - lobster, filet mignon, baked potatos and grilled asparagus with a bottle of cap and strawberries dipped in chocolate - but at home. We don't know the second couple's plans; they're mute on it. The third couple broke with their romantic, quiet dinners at home and went away on a hike.
Without their talking about their plans, Valentine's Day was of lesser interest to my wife. Not reminding her of last year, last week I inquired about out Valentine's Day plans. She was vague and non-commital. We were in Vegas on vacation at the time. I think that affected her response; part of her Valentine's Day urge last year was just the need to 'do something special' and we were in Vegas, doing something special. I asked one more time on our return and she was vague in response. Involved with One Billion Rising and the planned flash mob dance and IWD activities had her distracted.
Valentine's Day arrived. Yesterday, about three PM, she was in my office on her computer as I finished my work. Suddenly she said, "Hey, it's Valentine's Day. There should be chocolate."
"Should we go get chocolate?" I replied.
We drove down to a store and bought some chocolate on sale.
Happy Valentine's Day....
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com