Between gay marriage, the election, and the amusing propensity of my friends to write Clex erotica, one can easily forget that this little online community that is LiveJournal is not a very accurate portrayal of the world at large. It's comfortable. You can hide in it. You can forget that the rest of the world is different, because, honestly, your online friends are very often just like you.
So I have been amused today to see rants and shouts about Valentine's Day. No one really seems happy with it (with the notable exception of singingwren), and this amuses me to a great extent.
Is it that my friends are unhappy with their love-lives? No, I don't think so. Some might be, but most are, on nearly every other day of their lives, quite happy with them. I know that I have personally seen more information on how happy certain users are with the size of various attributes of their significant other than I ever wanted to see in my life. I know that most of my friends with significant others wouldn't trade them for the world, that they're happy and content with the person (or persons, as the case may be) and would never leave them.
So why this strange anger about V-Day?
In some cases, it's because no matter how much a person says they hate it, you can tell (if you read or listen closely) that what they really want is for the other person to see the day as special, and to make an effort. They want the other person to go out of their way to make them feel special. There's nothing wrong with that.
But then, it's hard to find that. It's hard to listen to, "I hate Valentines Day!" and know that the person is really saying, "I know flowers are expensive, but they'd show that you care." It's also a lot easier to hear what comes out of the person's mouth, rather than what they intend.
I have a kind of standing agreement with Tina. Flowers are far too expensive this week. They're "on sale" for twice the cost they were last week. Instead of spending $25 on a dozen roses on Valentine's Day, I wait two weeks or so and pick her up two dozen for $20 at the grocery store.
But I don't always do this. Sometimes I splurge. I once bought her $70 worth of wildflowers and had them delivered to her. Yes, on Valentine's Day, a bunch of wildflowers costs $70. A dozen roses, if you buy from a florist, will cost you $120, if you're lucky. If you buy from Target or Kroger, you can get away with about $25 for a dozen roses, but for this week they just don't look as nice as they will in two weeks when the demand for high-quality roses goes down again.
So in two weeks, I'll be at the grocery store picking out a beautiful bouquet of roses for Tina, two dozen strong ($150 if purchased this week) for $20. I've already come right out and told her this, because what's important to her is that I'm thinking about it, and I'm not the kind of guy who just buys flowers or chocolate or jewelry and is done with the holiday, anyway.
Tonight, I get to cook dinner. It won't be much fancy, but I'll cook and clean and do all that fun stuff. That, though, is not that special; if it were special, it would imply that there's a reversal of roles. In the end, because Tina and I share the cooking and cleaning, it could just as easily be her cooking and the meal would be just as special.
What makes it special is that we'll be able to get together for the evening, relax and talk for about an hour, at which point she'll head off to her first love: horseback riding. And I'll do my taxes and go to bed early. But it's that hour where we get to spend time together, to simply relax and talk and eat, that is so rare and so special. That's my Valentine's day.
And who knows, maybe I will stop by someplace and pick up some flowers for her. It may be the thought that counts, but honestly, it's the action that carries the real weight.