Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

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Dear Valentine's Day, 

Here you are again. No matter how much I try to wish you away, you keep popping up again every single February 14th. 

What kind of holiday are you anyway? Encouraging a celebration of love through the exchanging of cards and gifts. The giving of flowers. The going out to dinner... You are so commercial! A holiday created just to get people to spend money in the name of  "Love!" How disgusting! 

And you are so discriminatory!. What about us single people? How do you think you make us feel? Why do you need to come around and REMIND us that we have no special someone to love and no one to love us. No one to buy us chocolates or jewelery or take us out to dinner. Do you think we REALLY need to have this thrown in our face? 

How would you feel if I started a single person's holiday? Where all the single people can celebrate their freedom and their ability to date multiple people and not feel guilty about it? And we remind all the coupled up people that we never have to pick up anyone's dirty socks but our own, we never wake up freezing cold because someone stole all the covers, and we never have to think about anyone's feelings or do things we don't want to do. In fact, we can do whatever we want! Take that Mr. Couple Valentine's Day! 

Ok. Dear Valentine's Day. I'm just about done with my little rant. But to you, I say Boo!

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Needless to say, that as a single girl, Valentine's Day is not really my favorite holiday. Luckily, living abroad there has much less pressure to have fabulous Valentine's Day plans although I notice an increasing adaption over the years. This year I saw more Swedish people posting cute messages about Alla Hjärtans Dag than ever... 

But whatever... I don't totally hate the day. I just don't love it either. Especially in the US. Today at work it was all flowers and balloons and talk of romantic dinners. I made the mistake of wearing red (seriously, it was a mistake) and all day people kept telling me how festive I was. Gag. And people kept asking me what my plans were! I was like - hey I'm single, I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Ok - before you all jump down my throat, I know that I could have gotten a group of single girlfriends together to celebrate, but in fact, I don't know too many of those these days and I decided that a quiet night at home with popcorn, red wine and a movie ALONE was not too bad after all. I'm ok with it. 

However, despite my hatred of the day, I have not had such horrible Valentine's Days over the past years. And for some reason, I've spent Valentine's Day in many countries. 

Let's take a look back over the past 10 years and the places I've been (7 different countries in 10 years) and the things I've done:
  • 2002 - Hometown W. Mass, USA - it was just days before I was to leave for Bali, my boyfriend at the time (the one I thought I would marry but then I pulled a runner and took off for Bali - see here for the story. Needless to say it was a bitter sweet day. I do remember receiving a dozen roses - which is possibly the only time I have received roses from a boy. They were beautiful but I was leaving and we both knew it was over. I left for Bali before the flowers had a chance to die. 
  • 2003 - Hometown W. Mass, USA - I had recently returned from Bali and was about to be heading out to China. I had just started dating this guy who I had met at the gym, but the relationship had a clear expiration date as I was about to leave. I think he was babysitting his nephew and I went over and babysat with him. 
  • 2004 - Chennai, India - I was dating the Scottish Boy in China but happened to be on a business trip to Chennai, India with 3 male colleagues. Needless to say, Valentine's Day was not celebrated this year - although the trip was crazy eventful on many levels including the fact that I ended up in the hospital. But that's a whole other story for another day. The Scottish Boy had actually put flowers in my apartment while I was away... I think they were dead by the time I got home to them. 
  • 2005 - Stockholm - for my first Valentine's day in Stockholm, I had my German ex-boyfriend from Bali visiting me. We didn't celebrate the holiday. I was actually more than a little sad that he didn't even buy me flowers. We were not dating -he had another girlfriend and I was still in the "off/on" phase with the Scottish Boy. But, since he was staying with me, I thought he could have at least bought me flowers - especially because I had hinted at it. I suddenly remembered why our relationship didn't work in the first place. 
  • 2006 - Shanghai, China - I was in an "on" period with the Scottish boy and happened to be in China for Valentine's Day (this was during the time when I was commuting back and forth between Stockholm and Shanghai). The Scottish Boy bought me flowers which we proceeded to fight over. He complained about the fact that the Chinese upped the prices for just this day due to this "stupid American: holiday (he loved to take jabs at Americans at ever chance he was given). I pointed out that the flowers were a nice idea... but as I was going back to Stockholm the next day, I wouldn't really be able to enjoy them - I was trying to hint that I wanted something more permanent - like jewelry instead. I settled for a nice dinner. 
  • 2007 - Karlsruhe, Germany - I was single this year and found myself in Karlsruhe, Germany at a Trade show for work. My German colleague marked the day by giving me a Valentine's Day chocolate (which is more than I can say for the German Ex-boyfriend from 2005). The Trade Show was really boring but around 4:00 pm they kicked out all the guests and brought out the kegs of German beer (wheat beer - my favorite) and brought in a band and all the booth owners partied until the wee hours of the morning. It was an absolute blast! 
  • 2008 - Russia - Moscow - I was working in Moscow this year. Valentine's Day itself was very uneventful. It seems it is not really a holiday in Russia.* However, the weekend before, I had a "Super Sexy Valentine's Day Party" at my apartment. The dress code was: lingerie. It was a crazy night! In fact, I was still hungover the following Monday (2 days later) when I boarded the flight to Moscow with my colleagues. This flight was memorable because through my hangover haze, I suddenly realized that I was the ONLY woman on the whole plane and that the entire Russian national hockey team was on the plane with us!! Happy Valentine's Day to me! 
  • 2009 - Stockholm, Sweden - I was dating the Beautiful Swede this year but on the actual day of Valentine's Day, I had a wedding to attend and the Beautiful Swede was not invited. So, the Beautiful Swede and I celebrated the night before (on Friday) by making my favorite fisk gryta (fish stew) and yummy chocolate brownies. It was a really nice night. And the wedding on Valentine's Day was absolutely lovely. 
  • 2010 - London, UK - I was single last year at Valentine's Day although the American Boy had just come to visit and was returning later that week. My good girl friend was visiting me from Stockholm and we celebrated Valentine's Day by having champagne tea. It was a lovely way to celebrate Valentine's Day!
  • 2011 - Boston, USA - I was hoping to be set up on a double blind date with a friend of Hot Married Friend L's Hubby. He was supposed to be flying in from Europe (sounds promising, right), but unfortunately his plans changed and the date didn't happen. I'm home with some wine (I figure that on Valentine's Day it's ok to break my New Year's Eve resolution of not drinking at home alone on weekdays) and my blog and a movie. Off to bed soon! Probably the most boring Valentine's Day to date. Boo-hoo. 
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope yours was better than mine. What did you do to celebrate? Or not celebrate as the case my be? 
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*Funny I started to write this blog last night and I came into work this morning and found a Skype message from my Russian colleagues wishing me lots of love on Valentine's Day! The actual message said: Hi IWM! I wish you Happy St.Valentin's day and ocean of love! <3 <3 <3 <3 Russia loves you! This was about the sweetest thing anyone said to me all day - so that was nice. And I guess that Valentine's Day is getting more popular in Russia!


Anonymous said...

Um...2008 sounds pretty perfect! haha. I have to say they may not have been the most perfect Valentine's Day celebrations but take a minute to look at where you were for most of them...some pretty amazing places, leading an amazing life, and building amazing memories!

You are a fantastic woman who has lead a life most women would be jealous of. I know it is hard to be single, today especially, and trust me I get it but I'd rather be single than with the wrong guy.

Most people in a relationship would say we do have "rub in your face that we're single" day...its everytime we tell them about an awesome date, great sex with a new guy, or our first kisses...they don't get those anymore. Jealous much!? hehe I think they are.

On My Soapbox said...

The popcorn and red wine sounds good, although some dark chocolate would make a nice addition. Don't know about the gyrta and brownies, though....

ms. caboo said...

I had to work tonight, so I made brownies for the staff and was very surprised to see my sweetie walk in the doors of my store around 8:30 with flowers and a mushy card. And still in his work clothes. I had a big smile the rest of the night.

Marcela said...

A friend who is in a bad relationship told me just yesterday the same thing as Jewels said: It is better to be single on Valentine's day than with the wrong person or in a relationship that is about to end. When I was single, my friends and I would get together and have fun, celebrating the possibility of doing things we wouldn't be able to do if we were in a relationship (like talking and getting facials and eating cake until 3 am ;)
Relationships are great if one is with the right person, otherwise I'd rather be single. When you are with the right person your friends can throw as many "rub it in your face we're single" and you won't care a bit.
And by the way, if you want to be in a place where Valentine's day doesn't exist- other than Russia-, you can go to Ivory Coast (and probably to many other African Countries, including those in the Magrebh.

sa said...

I am making a prediction for you. Next Valentine's will be extraordinary...and *hot*. And. in Europe. With a European.

Let's see, shall we?

Sarah B said...

(For some reason the internet got a little too excited and posted before I could finish typing my name...)

I am making a prediction for you. Next Valentine's will be extraordinary...and *hot*. And. in Europe. With a European.

Let's see, shall we?

jules said...

My fella and I always celebrate with a quiet home cooked meal in. We did it on Sunday though because he picked up a resturaunt shift last night. I ate tomato soup and watched hours of the Cosby Show. I can't complain! It was nice! Happy Valentines Day to you my friend!

Pretty Young Thing said...

that was so fun to read...your past valentines were pretty amazing (jealous of that plane ride to Russia!!) Valentines was spent doing a 2hr workout at the gym...which actually made me realize its probably the best day of the year to be at the gym because every guy there is probably single (or in such deep shit with his SO that he went to the gym instead of celebrating...) Unfortunately I realized this halfway through the aerobics class I took which was filled with girls and had no energy to scope out the scene when it was over. sigh.

Sara Louise said...

Bet that plane ride to Russia was fun!

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