The Anti-Valentine’s Day Post

Greetings, dear Reader! What a glorious Sunday. I’m awake early and ready for a quick little road trip down to northwest Arkansas to see two of my favorite people. But, I wanted to get my day started with a cup of coffee and a little post. So, what do you say? Shall we just dive straight in?

Great! Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s talk about romance. After all, tomorrow is the day where all the slackers show up, make a splash and then miss the mark the rest of the year. So, let’s talk about that a little. But first, a story to set the stage:

I took my little boy on a walk a few days ago, and the topic of Valentine’s Day came up. I was quizzing him about some fundraising thingy they had at school where the kids could buy a Valentine for someone for fifty cents, and it would be hand-delivered. I wouldn’t say I liked the thought of any child being left out, so I purchased a card for every child in the third grade. But, let’s get one thing straight: I didn’t do it to be nice. I did it to be kind. I think this sort of thing is stupid and could end up with some kids getting their feelings hurt. While I’m no fan of Valentine’s Day, I am most certainly not a fan of seeing popular kids get things that the unpopular ones don’t get just because their dad sits on the school board and stuff. So, yeah. Hopefully one or two of them smiled.

Anywhoo…while discussing Valentine’s Day, my son surprised me with this statement:

“I hate Valentine’s Day. It is just designed to make people spend money on stupid stuff they will just forget about in a month.

Dang. That’s my boy.

As I mentioned, I’m not too fond of Valentine’s Day – or any holiday – for the very same reason as he. But I don’t remember telling him this. He concluded it on his own with his extremely intelligent nine-year-old brain. Or, possibly, with the help of some cynical YouTuber. But who cares where he got the idea?!? I’m so proud of him.

I haven’t always hated Valentine’s Day. I think it all started when I realized any fool with some common sense could get that holiday right. A box of Milk Duds, a bottle of mid-shelf Chardonnay, suffer through a romantic comedy. I mean…Valentine’s Day isn’t rocket science. Anyone can make Valentine’s Day romantic with little to no effort at all. The Valentine’s Day kind of romance is easy. You want to really do ‘romance right’? Then show up on a regular basis doing regular things that mean a heck of a lot on days that have been really hard or you know…just be vulnerable and stuff. In other words…being an epic romantic isn’t hard…but does take work. It’s practically a daily thing. Yep…

Every. Darn. Day.

Have no fear. I have some tips for the romantically challenged of you. You still have one day to get your ass to Wal-Greens to purchase what’s left of the Valentine’s Day carnage. Or…you can regroup, attempt to be a darn good human and make 2022 the best year ever. Ready? Here are my favorite ways to express romance:

1) Write a letter. Not a card. Not an email. Not a text. A real-life bonafide letter – with spelling errors and Googled words just to make it more memorable. I got one of these recently. In the actual mail – with a stamp – delivered by a postal worker. It could have just been handed to me as he walked me to the door after a date. But it wasn’t. This letter was mailed. And this letter was honest. And this letter was perfect. And it was super romantic. Swoon.

2) Do something just because. Make it, buy it, rent it for the night…just do it on any other day or night not marketed by Hallmark. Tuesday after the Superbowl? Okay. Whatever. I got tired of my fella eating Stouffer’s Lasagna. He deserves better. So I made him this – on a Saturday in January – after he worked all day in the snow. He seemed happy, and he’s still alive, so that’s a win.

3) Shut up and really listen. All of us are looking for more robust connections – even me, the introvert of all introverts. When someone allows themself to be vulnerable in your presence, then hold space for them and keep your comments to the minimum. A simple “I’m so sorry that happened to you” is better than any thing else you can offer. Just shut your word hole for a minute and be in the moment with them.

4) Say it often. The words “I love you” are so important when they are true. If they aren’t true…keep that shit to yourself. But people need to be reminded that someone cares about them. So tell them. And for those of you who are whining ‘he never says he loves me…’ – “I love you” can be ‘said’ in so many different ways. Are you listening hard enough? I love you often sounds like…

-Text me when you get home, so I know you are safe.
-I’m here for you when you are ready to talk about that.
-Your body fits my demographic.
-Is your car locked?
-I made your favorite cookies – the ones I don’t even like.
-I made extra dinner and brought you some.
-I was in town and wanted to know if I could bring you some lunch.
-I saw this sticker and thought it would be perfect on your water bottle.
-Can you stop by for a quick kiss after you get off work before you go home?
-I bought you a house (I’m kidding. That’s creepy.)

Anyway. These might not help you at all, but hopefully, I saved you from making a fool of yourself and spending $200 on dinner. I remember telling someone who had been married 39 years that my then-husband had done something really romantic on Valentine’s Day. She replied “He’s suppose to do something romantic on Valentine’s Day. That’s a no brainer. It’s the other 364 days you should wonder about.” Hmmm. There’s that.

Also, here’s your song – a reminder that the simple things are the important things. If they only want you to lavish them with gifts, they aren’t really all that deep of an individual and I question their integrity. In fact, I’d start taking notes and keeping all the receipts right now if that’s the case. You’ll need that documentation later in court.