Valentine’s Day: Emotional Stand-Ins & The Best Date Ever
You want, particularly on Valentine’s Day, the holidays’ ode to love, to communicate something along the lines of: You are special to me. I am glad that I have met you. I hope to keep you in my life. I honor that which is uniquely you, and oh-so female (or male).
A Valentine’s Day gift can be a nice, and even fantastic, accompaniment to the message of the day, but it can’t, by itself, be the mouthpiece. Something must already exist between two people. Even the start of something is fine. While a gift can pretty up the melody, the tune, or even the whisper of one, must already be in place. Otherwise, the gesture of a gift becomes pretty meaningless.
My bias against standard Valentine’s Day gifts, bears and chocolates and so forth, is not that they’re pedestrian–it’s that they’re sometimes called in as surrogates, props for emotions that one is supposed to feel when what one wants is the real deal.
I know a man named Greg. He is a man who has been on Earth for a fair number of years; I’ll guess around 50. He is a nice, decent guy who has known his share of gals. The best Valentine’s Day date he’s had goes like this:
He asked a girl that he really liked out on a date for Valentine’s Day. He saved his money to take her to the grooviest place in San Diego. He got a new suit.
A few hours before their date he was getting swank in said new suit. A bouquet of flowers that he had picked for her were in the refrigerator. He got a call. It was his boss, demanding that he go deliver some furniture. At that point in his life Greg was in no position to say no. He got in his work clothes and drove to his date’s house in the company’s work truck with the flowers. His date answered the door. Her name was Debbie and she was dressed to go out. He apologetically told her his fix. She told him to go wait in the truck.
A few minutes later she got into the truck’s passenger seat wearing a pair of jeans, T-shirt and sneakers. “Let’s go,” she said.
They drove up to Los Angeles together and delivered the furniture. On the trip they talked, listened to music and laughed a lot. They got back to San Diego around two in the morning, got some fast food and drove out to the beach. They sat on the back of the truck, ate their delectable paper-bag feast and talked and laughed some more.
It was, hands down, Greg’s best Valentine’s Day ever. Why? It was an experience. It was a great, romantic experience filled with connection and happiness and laughter. And experienced by two people who enjoyed one another. Oh, and she thought the flowers were nice.
Now, I like a puffy, soft teddy bear as much as the next practical adult, and would trade a herd of them in a heartbeat for five minutes of a Debbie-and-Greg kind of date, the likes of which I hope you experience this Valentine’s Day.