The Best (Non-Traditional) Valentine’s Day Ever

I used to view Valentine’s Day as annual torture from pink fluffy teddy bears, questionable lingerie advertisements, and the Hallmark overlords. So much worse than the iron maiden. Every year, V-Day signaled the boys I dated to forget everything they knew about me and my otherwise sane girlfriends to either retreat into nauseous couple cute-love or singleton-induced hatred for the world. One year, with all the pomp and ceremony that accompanies the crowning of a queen, I was presented with two dyed gas station roses that were almost dead. Punk Rock Boyfriend wanted me to know he was thinking about me, he said with googly eyes and wandering hands. Another year, Indy Rocker Boyfriend gave me some posters for musicians he liked. Awesome! My seething hatred for Valentine’s Day continued even when I was taken by my future husband to the mandatory fancy-pants restaurant to be fed from the holiday dining menu.

It was horrid. We sat there surrounded by other couples, jolted out of their normal lives and personalities by the fat baby Cupid. The other couples held hands across their candlelit tables. We held hands across our candlelit table. They sipped their single glass of comped champagne. We sipped ours. All the normal raucous clatter and laughter was sucked away, leaving the dining room nearly silent and stifling. The pressure of having this one perfect dinner on the most romantic day of the year was overwhelming. We gave in our will to the Valentine’s Day Restaurant God, and sat quietly scraping our forks across our plates and waiting for February 15th.

The next year rolled around and future husband made another reservation. He had to, because that’s what V-Day demands. He came to my door with beautiful flowers, in deep purples and pinks, and we trooped out the door to the new fancy-pants restaurant. We made it all the way to the door, when I stopped and peeked in the window. “I don’t want to go here,” I said. He was mortified, horrified he’d somehow taken a misstep. Maybe it wasn’t good enough? Fancy enough? Romantic enough?

I rolled out my explanation and rambled about the Hallmark overlords, and the suffering, and the awkward silence, and the fork scraping. And he got it. We left, holding hands, and went to our favorite bar. We were the only couple in a room full of single dudes drinking Pabst, and it was perfect. We ate grilled cheese sandwiches with our hands and got loud and laughed. Our waitress thought we were hysterical, a couple marooned in a bar full of boys on Valentine’s, so she comped us champagne.

We swigged it, drunk on Cupid’s strongest stuff. Best V-Day ever. Which was your favorite?