On Valentine’s Day in 2013 I was in an unfamiliar position. I had a date. Yes, I did not have my first Valentine’s Day date until I was 32 years old.
It is one of those things that was sort of quirky. I had been in a few relationships at that point but either they had ended by Valentine’s Day or they were in a rough patch on that day. Even if I was in the middle of one on that day, it would have been long distance so there wouldn’t have been an actual date night.
The evening was low key. She came over to my apartment and we ordered pizza. We watched ‘The Big Bang Theory’, ‘Two and a Half Men’ and something else. We played some cards, had a couple of beers and I’ll just say that we enjoyed each other’s company.
If that doesn’t seem like the most romantic of nights there were a couple of factors at work. The first is that it was a Thursday night and we both needed to be up early the next morning to go to work. The second is that it was hard to plan much more than that because as wonderful a person as she was getting her to commit to a certain time and place was not always easy. Communication was not her strongest suit.
Fast forward to 2014 and I have another date. It was with the same woman even though we had spent time broken up the previous year. We were back together and Valentine’s Day was a Friday. This year, I did it up big for her.
I got her a necklace with her birthstone in it. I got her some fantastic chocolate. I cooked a full dinner that even included a cake. On top of that, I got tickets to a community theater performance that night that featured a wine tasting during intermission.
She again came over, we exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts, went to the play, came back to my apartment at which point she prepared a dish for the meal and then we ate. We watched a little television before it was time to go to bed. We were both exhausted by that point and were asleep within 5 minutes of crawling into bed. Even without intimacy it was still a great night. It was also the second to last date we ever went on together.
I must have gotten used to the date on Valentine’s Day concept because last year when I was again single I did not handle it so well. I took to my personal blog and wrote a post about the difficulties I have as a visually impaired person when it comes to meeting women. I talk about that a little bit more in this voice post. I don’t want to get too off track because that’s not what this post is all about.
I felt better but decided later that night that I still had more to say about being visually impaired so I wrote a second post. I had a third post ready the next day and all told there were something like 16 posts by the time I was done. All of those posts on being visually impaired are stored on my computer. They’re waiting for me to become motivated enough to rewrite them, edit them (the part I might farm out to someone else) and then decide how I want to market them. They could end up as blog posts here but they could also be turned into a book. I haven’t decided yet but a book would be interesting since I never thought I could actually write one.
So what is the point of all of this? Why am I telling you about my Valentine’s Day successes and failures? Those are both good questions and I’m glad I asked them of myself before you had the chance.
As I sit here on Valentine’s Day 2016 there are a few truths that I have come to understand over the past few years. This is the most appropriate time to explain them.
I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I don’t like the idea of using February 14 to treat someone special as sort of a make-up for not treating them speciall all year. If you are happy with someone you should show them that you are happy with them every single day of the year. You can send someone flowers at any time of the year. You can buy someone a gift any day that you want. You can take someone to a nice restaurant or to a fun activity whenever you feel like doing it. You don’t need to use February 14 to do the things you wouldn’t do any other day of the year.
So if I am so against Valentine’s Day why did I do it up so big in 2014? Again, a tremendous question that I’m glad I was able to ask myself before you got to it. I did it up big in 2014 because of one of the few things I know about romantic relationships. Sometimes we have to do things because they are important to our partner.
I got the sense that for my girlfriend at the time, Valentine’s Day was a big deal. It didn’t hurt that she asked me what we would be doing for Valentine’s Day well in advance. I decided that rather than explain my own disinterest in celebrating I would celebrate big because it seemed to matter to her. Plus, she meant a lot to me and this was a way that I could show it and it didn’t prevent me from treating her special any other day of the year. Her being hard to pin down was a bigger factor in that than anything else. Plus, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I wanted to do it up big at least once just to see what it was like.
In 2013 and 2014 I was in a good place or at least I thought I was in a good place. Last year I was in a less than fantastic place, alright it was a horrible one. I was alone and recovering from the news that came 2 weeks earlier that my dad had prostate cancer. I was not exactly positive and needed to vent. I wrote my posts and then kept myself off of social media to avoid all the people bragging about their day and dates.
That’s the other thing about Valentine’s Day that I don’t like and maybe it is the thing I dislike most of all. Valentine’s Day tends to make single people feel bad. It is such a popular culture thing that if you’re not paired off with someone on February 14, then something must be wrong with you. I am pretty insecure about myself at the best of times. I often wonder if I am fated, against my will, to be single for life. It may be my desire to be in a happy relationship but if it isn’t God’s will for that to be so then it doesn’t really matter what I might want. And yes, God does call some people to be single for their entire lives, marriage is not a guarantee to anyone from a biblical point of view.
So take a person with self-image problems pretty much all year round and then slam them in the middle of Valentine’s Day hype and you just end up with a person who feels worse. I have taken to referring to Valentine’s Day as “Singles Awareness Day” because I think that is a more apt description of what happens to a lot of people. It is also a bit of a joke in the sense that I don’t know anyone who is single that needs to be made aware of it.
As I write this it is 4:30 in the morning. I have been awake for an hour and I have a few things I will need to accomplish today. How do I feel about Valentine’s Day 2016? I’m not as upbeat as I was in 2013 and 2014 but I’m also not as down as I was last year. I have bigger concerns right now. I don’t really miss not having a date for today, it is a Sunday and even though tomorrow is a day off for many it doesn’t feel like the best night for stepping out.
Even so, my mind is elsewhre. I am missing Ginny again today. Ginny was my companion for every Valentine’s Day from 2003 to 2015 even when I did have a date. I miss her not because of what this day represents but because this is a phase of my life that I’m not used to and the adjustment is not coming quickly. I have been around dogs my entire life. I haven’t been near a dog in 48 days. This may be the longest stretch of my life without contact with a dog. Even when I was in college the years before I got Ginny I think I still made it home often enough that I didn’t go a 48 day stretch without seeing our family dogs.
I miss being able to pet my girl. I want to walk over to the couch and pat her on the head and tell her she’s being a good girl. I want to go and sit next to her as she sleeps on the couch and place my ear to her body so I can just listen to her breathing. I miss dog contact and yet, I don’t know that I’m eager to see anyone else’s dog. Perhaps my parent’s dog Tork would be one that I’d want to interact with for awhile but I am not sure I would want someone to bring their dog over to see me if that makes sense. Missing dogs just makes me miss Ginny and no other dog is her.
I’ll probably be in bed between 5 and 7 PM this evening. I’ll miss most of the social media posts that take place during people’s date nights. If you are doing something, I hope you have a good time. Just because it isn’t my favorite thing in the world doesn’t mean I’m going to begrudge someone else’s enjoyment of Valentine’s Day. I can cope with it my own way. I can stay away from Facebook as people post photos or check into locations. There may even be some engagements that are made today. I wish you all well, I can choose to avoid all of it nobody forces me to read social media.
So those are my thoughts on the 2016 incarnation of Valentine’s Day. Things aren’t as good for me as they were in 2013 or 2014 but they’re not as bad as last year either. I am in a definite weird place this year but I will be okay.
I may not be in love at the moment and I may have a complicated romantic history but I still love songs about love. One of the groups I think did them better than anyone else is ‘Diana Ross and The Supremes’ and this has become my favorite.