All this happened, more or less...

My name is G and these are the true stories of my adventures.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's Day Dilemnas

The first Valentine's Day with somebody new is always a bit of a relationship minefield. First of all, since people's reactions to the whole notion of Valentine's Day are so various, you never know whether you should go casual (and risk making your pookie feel neglected and unimportant) or go big (and convince him or her that you're needy/insecure/psycho). And even once you figure out what your plans are, something's bound to go terribly wrong and ruin them anyway.

My first boyfriend was bonkers about any excuse for a romantic occasion -- he wanted to celebrate every week for the first several months we dated and every month for the whole two years. Obviously, he made a huge to-do about Valentine's with fancy dinners and gifts he couldn't really afford. I broke up with him on Christmas Eve one year, and I think he was more upset about me ruining his romantic plans for Christmas than he was about us breaking up.

I presumed I would be spending the following Valentine's Day alone, but in fact, I met another young man just a couple of days before, and though we weren't yet dating, he happened to be at my house on February 14th when my charming ex decided to make an appearance for one of his big, romantic gestures. He was jogging up to the front door when he spotted the other guy through the living room window and changed his plans a bit -- he reached in his pocket, pulled out a watch I'd given him, smashed it against the front door, and stormed back to his car, where he sat parked at the curb for the next twenty minutes, either composing himself or waiting for me to come out and talk to him or both. Romantic, eh?

The following year, I was in Japan and my boyfriend was in the States, so for Valentine's Day, I was expecting a phone call. Apparently, he was one of those guys who doesn't like making a big deal of Valentine's because the phone call never came. When I did finally talk to him three or four days later, he told me there was some other girl who didn't live 7,000 miles away from him whom he had feelings for. Also very romantic.

Mackinac Bridge

So since then, I've been a little, well, cynical about Valentine's day. This year, as the 14th of February was looming on the horizon, I was trying to pick up cues from Stretch about his take on Valentine's Day. We'd only been dating a few months, and though things were going well, he had been very low-key about both my birthday and Christmas, so I was pretty sure that Valentine's Day wasn't going to be big on his list of priorities.

Luckily, I got a little help on this one from his cousin. We were down in Chicago visiting him in January, and he mentioned something about their Valentine's Day tradition, which they then explained to me -- a trip home to St. Louis and a Blues game with the boys.

So that cleared the question up for me. No romantic Valentine's Day plans this year. Whew!

Mackinac Bridge

But the story doesn't end there. A week or so later we were out having dinner with my sister, and I teasingly mentioned something about how I was going to be abandoned on Valentine's Day since the boyfriend was going to St. Louis.

"No, I'm not."

"You're not?"

"No, I'm staying here so I can take you out for Valentine's Day."

"... Why?"

"Because I want to."


So we left it at that for the night. This was not, after all, the first time Stretch had done something to surprise me.

I started to think about plans for the 14th, whether we should go out to dinner and where or whether I should cook or whether he'd want to cook... and while I was doing that, he was finding a ski resort and making reservations at a hotel up north. This from the guy who claims he's not romantic.

So we spent our first Valentine's Day on the snowy side of a mountain. Not everything went smoothly, of course. I took a few hard spills when Stretch convinced me to attack a black diamond, and he tragically lost his keys on the mountain, but despite the bruises and the inconvenience, I think I may have shaken the Valentine's Day curse. We spent all day skiing and got "suited up" for a nice dinner in the evening, and the following day we drove up to the bridge to see the straights all frozen over and have a hot breakfast in the UP before our long drive home. A pretty romantic Valentine's Day after all.

Frozen Straits