Leave it to marketers to take a day just like any other and transform it into a source of excitement, anxiety and often, expectation (of a ring).
In Brazil, where I grew up, they don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but they do have a similar tradition called ‘lovers day’, and it is celebrated on June 12th. I remember my first, when I was 14. I was so happy to have a boyfriend on that special day, but I was also nervous about the idea of giving him a gift. What would I buy on a poor 14 year-old budget? My aunt came to the rescue and got something nice for me to give him. We broke up 2 years later, but he still refers to her as ‘aunt’, and is a regular fixture at her restaurant.
At 16 I tried so hard to get another boy to be serious with me in the 5 days leading up to Valentine’s Day. He didn’t, so following the awkwardness of not celebrating that oh so important day, we stopped seeing each other. The irony is, although I was one of those girls who would not be alone for very long, my relationships often ended sometime in early June!
When I moved to the United States I almost immediately started dating a guy I met on Christmas Eve. The relationship was going strong by February 14th, my new ‘lover’s day’. We had a special celebration, and two days later a party for my birthday. Having my birthday so close to Valentine’s Day has its pluses and its minuses. If I happened to not do anything on the 14th, I felt better knowing that two days later I would have my own day. The downside was that the excitement was gone as soon as the pressure was off .
I got married six months after meeting the love of my life, and on our first Valentine’s Day together, we hung out for an hour before I boarded a plane to Rio to put the finishing touches on our wedding.
Then there were babies. And now we just don’t go out on Valentine’s Day anymore. And the celebration now incorporates the kids to some degree. I spend hours fussing about school valentines, but I don’t feel the need to get hubby a gift. I do always wear something special, make a nice dinner and spend some alone time after the kids go to bed.
Here is this year’s look. What are your plans? What did you do?