How I’m Celebrating Valentine’s Day Next Year

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It took me thirty-five minutes to pick out a nail color last Friday evening, and when I finally settled on an orange-red with sparkles in it, Rachel, my soft-spoken manicurist, ruined everything. A wheel of Vietnamese candy was placed at the foot of the glass and white plastic counter. Fake flowers tumbled from trellises on the walls. Alcohol found its way into one of my two current paper cuts, and I cringed. Rachel, in a gray sweatshirt drenched in bedazzled roses, nodded at my color choice, and said: “Good for Valentine’s Day,” which prompted me to pick up the palette of colors and start the long, arduous process of looking for something else.

I know it’s passed, but I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Among the things I think should be banned from elementary schools, first comes red rover, then comes Valentine’s Day. But alas, every year, I see that everyone from retailers to dating sites to my FB friends are still celebrating it.

To my chagrin, this year, Bumble inserted pink and blue pastel hearts around men’s faces. This made these men out to be not what they are: which is a stranger with plugs and a dread (singular) that looks like it might be housing a clan of Keebler elves. But instead? My prince charming. My valentine. I threw up in my mouth a little bit when a local news station ran a segment on “The 8 Valentine’s Day Drinks Not on the Menu.” So, after weeks of seeing heart-shaped glasses on fashion Instagrams, and even a nod to the holiday on Surfline, I was super over it. But when all was said and done, my actual Valentine’s Day panned out well. I had a faux valentine, and someone else’s valentine, who waited in line to get the breakfast burritos while I got the coffees after we surfed. An El Nino ocean created this sandbar that threw the water up in a spine like one of the fountains you’d see at The Bellagio.

I think one of my chief problems with Valentine’s Day is the holiday essentially says it’s for love, and then does a shoddy job of celebrating it. Maybe next year, I go to the beach, and think quietly about all the people I have loved and how they have changed me. Because I have been shaped every day over the entire course of my life by the hands of love. And to me, love does not need to announce itself with handfuls of rice outside a church. For me, it’s not skirts full of gabardine. Bugles and pomp and circumstance. Love, to me, can be a simple “Good morning.” An intention I hold my heart to love as many people, and as well as I can love them, as possible. Someone wrapped their arm around me in a bar in Cambodia once, and told me they would miss me, and I think that’s love. And I wonder: if I am standing at the copier, and the Filipino woman in accounting who is 50 but looks 35 says: “Hello, Ms. Beautiful,” and I say to her, “Hello, Ms. Beautiful,” back and mean it, is that, in its own way, also not a kind of love? Just some food for thought. Happy Saturday, everyone. Wishing you a relaxation and restful weekend.

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