What does Valentine’s Day (or VD) really mean?

It’s the dreaded day for singletons, and a day of triumph for couples. Last year, I wore head to toe black, essentially my funeral attire, to work.

But as I started to think about this holiday, I started to think about what VD really means. Valentine’s Day is about feeling special, isn’t it? We all want to feel special, and if we don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, then somehow whatever inherent specialness we might already feel is somewhat diminished.

How cruel.

I remember when I was in my mid-twenties (oh, so long ago), I was dating a guy called Grizzly. Yes, that was his nickname, after Grizzly Adams. I know, I know. Anyway, we were living in Durango Colorado and he decided to take me to a fancy restaurant. It could have been the Palace Restaurant. I just remember it was on Main Street.

I decided to wear a cheongsam or Mandarin gown that I had found at a street-side thrift market in NYC. So, as you can imagine, I looked über Chinese, and this was in a fairly Caucasian small town. Okay, dinner was nice and all, but it is what happened afterwards that this story is all about.

dressWe’re leaving the restaurant; it’s a crowded space, so we have to walk single file. And once we are outside Grizzly asks, “Did you hear what that woman said?” I braced myself for a bristle as it wasn’t unusual for me to get a lot of stares and even ignorant commentary about my ethnicity.

“No, what?”

“She said, Look at her. She’s so pretty.”

I smiled, “Really?”

“Yeah,” he smiled back and put his arm around me.

When I think of VD, I think of this moment. I don’t remember any sexy scene or romantic gesture from the past, but instead being recognized for looking attractive, looking special.

Valentine’s Day reminds me of prom. It’s all about showing off, looking your best, smiling and of course, having fun. But at the end of the night, I think it’s about feeling special, wanted, desired, at least for a woman. It’s about having that nice moment when you get to feel like a princess.

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