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I Hate Valentine's Day -- Learning To Love Valentines
Be My Valentine -- Not!
Once upon a time, say when I was about six or so, I loved Valentine's Day. I loved making heart-shaped cards for all of my classmates at school and loved getting Valentine's Day candy from my parents. But then around the time I turned eight, all of the began to change. And I became a bitter shell of a woman who grew to hate Valentine's Day.
Then in 1997, I began dating my now-husband and things began to change. He was determined to get me to like this holiday and put much effort into making it good for me .. and has basically been successful.
I'm still not entirely thrilled with Valentine's Day because I think it puts too much pressure on you if you're single, too much pressure on what to get your significant other as a gift and I don't think we should limit romance to just one day. But I have learned to relax and enjoy myself more.
Here's the story of my journey from an embittered hater of the holiday to someone who's learned to appreciate all of the loved ones in my life.
Other People Hate Valentine's Day Too!
I Hate Valentines Day -- The Early Years
In the beginning, V-day was fun. Kids gave each other cards and no one had to worry about boyfriends or girlfriends. Valentine's Day was just about chocolate.
Then things changed.
When I was in the second grade, I had a crush on my classmate, who liked me back. In fact, he gave me a heart shaped necklace for Christmas, which I actually still own. It was my very first gift from a boy. That said, when V-day came around that year and our teacher had us make cards for our classmates, I made a special one for him. At first, he smiled when I gave it to him. Then everyone began to laugh, "Naomi has a boyfriend! Naomi has a boyfriend!" He immediately stopped smiling and became angry with me for humiliating him. My Valentine's Day was ruined!
The next year, one of my classmates had a crush on ME and I didn't like him back. He didn't care. He'd constantly pull my hair and tease me and beg me to like him. I thought he was annoying. Finally on Valentine's Day, he gave me a card. I thanked him. But then he wanted to know why I didn't invite him to my upcoming birthday party (my birthday is February 3, so my parties were usually around V-day). I explained that it was going to be girls only. He became angry and responded by hitting me over the head with his lunchbox! All I got for Valentine's Day was a lump on my head. Another V-Day bites the dust!
Valentines Day Rules
Valentine's Day -- Descent Into Madness!
By the time I was in junior high, I hadn't quite given up on Valentine's Day, especially because I was now a teenager and starting to like boys, and wanted to express my feelings toward them. What better holiday to do it than Valentine's Day, right?
My 7th grade crush was a boy named Dave, whom I'd met in the drama club. He had curly, blond hair which made him look like a cupid and was the shy artist type. I fell for him during our holiday musical when he'd helped out our director by playing with the director's 3-year-old daughter. Not only was this boy cute, but he liked kids! Sigh...
That Valentine's Day, our school had a flower sale where you could buy a flower for your crush and then the money went toward our field trip fund. I purchased pretty white and red carnations for Dave and gave them to him in our science class. "Happy Valentine's Day!" I declared with a smile. But he didn't even thank me. He looked at me with a strange expression on his face ... and then ate them. Seriously. He stuffed them into his mouth and muched on the flowers as everyone watched, bewildered.
"How'd they taste?" his friend asked after Dave had finished. "Good," Dave answered, "but the white ones are better than the red."
Funny I Hate Valentines Day Cartoon
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Valentine's Day -- The Hate Continues!
By high school, I truly hated Valentine's Day. It seemed as if every boy I liked didn't like me back in the same way and every boy who liked me was a dud. That said, I never celebrated Valentine's Day during that time.
Instead, my single friends and I formed an anti-Valentine's Day brigade. While some girls carried huge bouquets and sickly sweet teddy bears around school to show off what their boyfriends had given them, we wore all black and carried bouquets of dead, dried roses. One year, I even wore a black "Valentine veil." People thought we were a little nuts, but I think we made our point! Down with the roses and the heart-shaped candy and the heart-shaped ankle bracelets and the blech! V-Day (which I nicknamed "V.D. Day") made me want to puke!
During my senior year, I briefly got back on the Valentine's Day wagon and sent a carnation to my now-close friend, Scott, whom I knew from band (and has since come out of the closet). "To my favorite little musician," I wrote on the card. "From an admiring band member." He never got my flower because he was out sick ... and then when I called to tell him about sending it, he was not impressed. Scott, you still owe me $2 for that carnation!
In college, I thought things might get better when I actually got a date to a dance that was being held on Valentine's Day. But then once again, it turned out that the guy wasn't interested in me as much as I was in him. I was broken. And bitter. And wished I could put a hex on all those happy couples out there who had something to celebrate.
Celebrating Valentine's Day
How do you feel about Valentine's Day?
Learning To Not Hate Valentine's Day
I finally began to see a different side of the holiday when I began dating Jon. As we got to know each other better, I told him about my bad experiences with Valentine's Day. He took this as a challenge to get me to actually like the holiday.
Our first Valentine's Day together, we met up in New York City and went to a museum. We then sat in Central Park for a bit and he gave me my gift. He'd gone to a music store and found every CD that had a song called "Naomi" in it. Who knew that there was a band called Neutral Milk Hotel who'd written a tune called "Naomi?!" He also gave me some roses and candy, for good measure. I thought it was really sweet and creative and couldn't help enjoying the day ... just a little.
The next year, he topped himself by proposing to me on Valentine's Day while we were at dinner in our favorite Indian restaurant. Now there was NO WAY that I could hate the holiday!
Since then, I've made peace with Valentine's Day. I try not to see it as a pressure-filled holiday where you HAVE to buy certain gifts, but as a day to think about what you do have. Jon and I have come up with our own tradition of going to an Indian restaurant each year (the one he proposed to me has unfortunately closed). Meanwhile, I make a point to tell my friends how much they mean to me because the love in your life shouldn't only be romantic.
Will I ever be gung ho about Valentine's Day? Probably not. You won't be seeing me decorate our home with hearts and flowers. But I'm now at least able to laugh at my earlier years ... and have realized that love is worth waiting for.