People are always surprised when I tell them Rand and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. I mean, we used to. But dear lord, it was always so, so much, and it always felt a little weird and uncomfortable and forced, even if it lead to some of my favorite photos, ever:
Our first Valentine’s Day together, in 2002, and my god we were babies. BABIES.
2003, back when little hearts would pop out of his head whenever I kissed him and thank god he saw the doctor for that.
2006, and rocking the mid-aughts fashion here. (I wish y’all could see the belt I’m wearing in this photo. It’s RIDICULOUS.)
But it was always so expensive to go out, and it felt fraught with pressure, like we had to have fun on that day.
We stopped years ago. I can’t remember the exact nail in the coffin, but it might have been after the couple at the table adjacent to us ended their marriage in angry stage whispers while we tried to pretended we couldn’t hear them, cutting into a steak we couldn’t afford.
After that, we started going out in the days that followed, usually on February 15th, which we started calling Boxingtine’s Day. The restaurants were empty, the staff seemed so relieved that it was all over, and we’d enjoy a quiet dinner together. It meant, of course, that we needed a new tradition for the 14th, and somehow, Anti-Valentine’s Day was born. It’s grown in scope over the years, become a weird sort of thing that we do. Some years it’s just the two of us, or we’ll invite a few friends over who’ve also been with their partners since god was boy, and have no desire to venture out into crowded restaurants.
The rules, should you wish to observe Anti-Valentine’s Day yourself, are fairly straightforward:
- Do not make reservations.
- Do not buy chocolates.
- Or flowers.
- Or gifts of any kind.
- Invite some people over, because dear god, it can’t just be the two of you.
- If things start getting too romantic, scream, “BOOOOOOO!!!!” loudly at the offending party.
- Tell mortifying stories about the romantic misfortunes of your youth.
- Wear giant underwear.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy celebrating love. I do. I mean, come on.
This is me we’re talking about. Heck, this year we were even in Seattle Magazine — we were profiled for being adorable and in love. Ugh, I know. It’s awful and obnoxious. Just look:
Still, I hate the idea that I’m supposed to celebrate love in the middle of February (the least sexily named month, with the exception of maybe March) instead of any time I damn well please. So instead, we do our weird little tradition.
And I get to wear my comfy underwear.
And it works just perfectly for us.