"About Valentine's Day . . . "
Updated: Feb 19
The basic consensus is the celebration of the all-important, arguably the most romantic day of the year, Valentine's Day, began somewhere around the 14th or 15th century. So, from the early days of the Renaissance era and its European art music; through the days of our very own, incomparable Luther Vandross; to the "newbie," sultry R&B songstress, H.E.R. in our 21st century, brothers have been doing their very best to woo their women with their smoothly choreographed moves and touches of swagger on the 14th day of February.
Can you even imagine how many Barry White and Miguel CD's were purchased during the past Valentine's Days? Or how many little ones were conceived with the seduction of a delicately decorated, half full goblet of white wine and a few hand-fed, plump, chocolate covered strawberries after a home-cooked, seven-course meal plated with the good china and a thoughtfully selected slow jam? GIRL!
The love celebration begins in our youth with the little random, perforated, paper Valentine's Day cards produced in bulk at every store on every corner. As we matured throughout middle and high-school, the cards became more selective and the gifts more meaningful. They were no longer randomly given, but reserved for those special ones that made our hearts skip a beat - the ones whose names we scribbled all over the insides of our spiral, college-ruled notebooks and imagined riding off into the sunset with.
But it's when we became adults that February 14th became so complicated.
I remember the very first Valentine's Day my husband and I celebrated as a married couple. Well . . . "celebrated" may not be the right word. It was the worst. I was pregnant with our first son . . . Yep, pregnant . . . and we were grocery shopping at a Giant Foods in Oxon Hill, MD. Now to his defense, with the busy-ness of the day I'd also forgotten it was Valentine's Day or as we say in the "hood," "ValenTIME'S Day." We were standing in the checkout line with customers ahead of and behind us when it hit me . . . everything in this grocery store is dotted with red balloons, red hearts . . . wait a minute! "Is it Valentine's Day?" Hold up. Wait a minute. Where is my stuff? And then . . .
I did one of the most unfair, unjust things I've ever done to Byron. I turned to him, looked him smack in those brown eyes surrounded by those extra-long, soft lashes and asked him, in the most accusatory tone I could drum up, "You didn't get me nothin' for Valentine's Day?" I could almost see his mind frantically searching for an answer he thought I'd be satisfied with, hopelessly realizing there really wasn't one. And then the light bulb suddenly appeared over his head. He had gotten himself a bright idea! "Hey babe," he addressed me as he motioned to the stand at his left, "just go over there and pick out yourself a Valentine's Day card." And then he had the nerve to flash his winning smile! He thought he had really just said something! I looked at him as if he had three heads: two coming out of his neck and one dangling from his right shoulder. I swiftly turned back around in disbelieving anger, gave him my entire back, and looked toward the cashier as if my husband wasn't even there.
No, I did not take one step toward that card display.
Needless to say, our marriage survived that V-Day debacle and
There are so many opinions concerning Valentine's Day. Some women wait all year for it, wondering if the delivery man is going to arrive on their job with a bouquet of red roses and a sweet, sensitive card; or, if they've been together for any real length of time, they are wondering if this is the day their man will finally drop to one knee and pop the proverbial question. On the other hand, there are men who are mindlessly scrambling all over the place at the eleventh hour, trying to plan an evening of romance that will make their women melt when she catches a glimpse of what they've orchestrated and perhaps, show them their undying affection (You know what I mean.).
And there are singles, some who are simply unbothered by the primping and posing of the day's events. They proudly celebrate themselves, often with other friends or in the solitude of their own spaces. Yes single persons! And still, there may be other singles who do not fare so well. You might find them sitting in front of the television with a bucket full of Neapolitan ice cream while binge watching their favorite drama series, hoping those 24 hours would pass just as quickly as they arrived.
Me personally, I like celebrating Valentine's Day. Yes, I have heard it: "Valentine's Day should be every day." Well, it's not. Because I have an aversion to crowds, we often celebrate it the day before or the day after, but we do celebrate it. I consider it to be a women's celebration. It's the only day, besides "Sweetest Day," that women can rightfully expect something from the fellas and not necessarily have to give something in return. But it is just a day. 24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. It will pass. And then what will you do with the rest of your relationship?
Every day is what we make it. If you choose to celebrate your boo on Valentine's Day, good for you! If you choose not to celebrate your boo on Valentine's Day, good for you. Just make sure that every day, you choose to love them, to appreciate them, and to honor them. Then Valentine's Day becomes the gravy to your roast beef, the strawberry atop your ice cream sundae, the whipped cream draped across that homemade, sour cream pound cake. It's optional and extra. Although it's not essential in order for the meal to be pleasurable, it enhances the pleasurable experience.
No relationship should depend on one single day. Good, solid, long-lasting relationships are built upon hundreds of days and thousands of moments. They are often strengthened by the triumphs over tragedies and tribulations, and softened by hardships and laughter at the most inappropriate times. But loving relationships, like Rome, are never built in a day.
Me? I'm waiting on Sweetest Day so I can have an excuse for a day out . . . on my terms. I'm already planning, in my head, where I want to have dinner and it will not be cheap! By the way, when IS Sweetest Day anyway? :)
Happy belated Valentine's Day, loves!
Marriage Lover by choice!