My First Real Valentine’s Day

I have never really been into Valentine’s Day. I’ve not been against it either, really. I’m not one of those who gets annoyed with flowers and candy being displayed in stores, with crowded restaurants, with starry-eyed couples staring lovingly at each other. I think that’s great; be in love. Be happy.

My last Valentine’s Day proper was in fifth grade. I had a boyfriend named P.T., and when he asked me to be his girlfriend, he gave me a silver necklace with a flower on it. I tried to give it back to him, but he ran away from me. Literally. I chased him for awhile until I got tired, but I couldn’t catch him. (He was really fast.) So after that, I was his girlfriend. And for Valentine’s Day, he gave me candy and a printed out picture of a teddy bear that said something to the effect that he wanted to give me a “bear hug.” He took me ice skating; by which, I mean that his nanny took us out ice skating. I remember that I was really stressed out about what to wear; I chose jeans, a white shirt, and a pink cropped sweater, which I thought looked a bit like something Alicia Silverstone wore in Clueless, a movie I was obsessed with but understood very little of at the tender age of eleven.

That was my last “romantic” Valentine’s Day. I did anti-Valentine’s outings, girls’ nights out with other single friends. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything, really. When I was in high school, I was too religious to think about dating. I believe I actually told someone at one point that I was dating Jesus, a phrase that has now become more commonplace, a way of saying that I wouldn’t date boys because I was focusing on my relationship with God.

So here I am, age 27, and I’m having my first real (so to speak) Valentine’s Day. We celebrated in a bigger way this weekend with a Valentine’s dinner cruise on the Spirit of Norfolk, which was an excellent night of champagne, food, and some really awesome people watching. And tonight, I’ve got a pot of jambalaya in the slow cooker, I’m watching Mona Lisa Smile, and waiting for my honey to come over and hang out with me.

I’ve watched Facebook today and noted both the cynical posts and the sweet ones. Because I work as a food writer, I subscribe to a lot of restaurants and food pages, which means I’ve been inundated with photos of all manner of Valentine’s baked goods. (I seriously want a cupcake.) And so I thought I’d include some of my favorite pieces of love-related material from the Interwebs.

1. Charles Darwin writes a list of pros and cons for marriage. My friend Leslie posted this to Facebook this morning in what was quite the flurry of romantic links. I particularly like the “charms of music and female chit-chat.”

2. Though a little more complicated than the usual fare of Valentine’s materials, this essay on the weird fan love some women in the Facebook/Twitter world show to rapper Chris Brown (specifically saying they would let him abuse them) makes an excellent point about the kind of fandom that too easily dismissed logic and self-respect.

3. The Huffington Post did a lovely list of bookish love scenes from movies.

4. In 2011, I clicked on a link my friend Erik posted for My Drunk Kitchen and quickly fell in love with those videos. Though I’ve gotten a little frustrated with them as Hannah Hart has gained popularity (they’re a little too aware of themselves and lack that original purity), I think Hannah still does really cool, creative things, including this love song about the Internet. Caution:  if you’re anything like me, you’ll have it in your head for the next two days.

So whatever your plans are, enjoy your evening. I intend to revel in what I hope is the deliciousness of some jambalaya and time spent with my Valentine.

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