As I grew older, I didn’t really look for confirmations of love on this day from anyone other than my family. I didn’t date in high school or early in college so I never had a special someone to share the day with. My girl Sel always gave me a card which I thought was really quite sweet. But after a while, Valentine’s Day in the romantic sense became insignificant. Just another day.

My first real relationship was the first cause I had for enthusiasm. I thought, “Finally! I have someone to spend VALentine’s Day with!” I was living in Buffalo at the time. They celebrate a holiday similar to Valentine’s Day in October. It’s called Sweetest Day. For Sweetest Day, I spent the afternoon with my boyfriend. He gave me a teddy bear whom I named GeorgeFred. I still have him. He’s nearly 10. It was better than Valentine’s Day because for the life of me, I can’t remember anything about Valentine’s Day the following year. I suppose it was just so grand, I blocked it out.

I’ve had friends since then, you know… mens come and go. But why is it that they don’t seem to be around on Valentine’s Day?? Y’all Negroes ain’t slick. *dramatically* But, alas, I have yet to be blessed with genuine displays of affection or adoration. Oh wait. My old Internet homie once sent me a dozen red roses after Valentine’s Day in 1999. They were gorgeous. It was only the second time I’d ever received flowers. And let me tell you, for me, receiving flowers is not overrated. Any chick who says differently is lying. Unless dude is a stalker.

The Wackest Valentine’s Day

Last year, I was in a relationship and looking forward to Valentine’s Day. As I look back through my journal, I realize that even then, things were falling apart but I was still hopeful that we could have a good day. I gave him a card with a heart-felt inscription. Usually a card person, I was surprised when I didn’t get one in return. No matter. We were going to dinner. We took the train to Manhattan because, well, the car was… let’s just say, it wasn’t available. I didn’t ask for gifts — I have never been a, “Buy me this, buy me that” kind of woman. I just wanted to spend some time with my man, but… he was in a funky (like NYC subway in the summer) mood and we headed out to dinner anyway. He didn’t say much on the train and it made me feel like an outsider. We had to wait nearly an hour to get into the restaurant and when they finally seated us, he complained about the table. It wasn’t near the kitchen or the bathroom so I didn’t really care. Dinner was tense and I began to wish we’d stayed home or that I’d gone to a movie or something. ALONE.

It made me think… is being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day supposed to be a drag? To his credit, he did bring me flowers on many occasions, and took me out to dinner, and bought me nice shoes and took me on my first real vacation… and more. I thank him for everything— intangible and material. However, what could and should have been a beautiful day further confirmed my initial belief: Romantic Valentine’s Days, with exotic candle-lit dinners, languorous love-making sessions (not seconds) and elaborate proposals are for people in the movies.

Deep down, if I’m honest with myself, the one thing I have desired each and every Valentine’s Day was to know that I was special to someone and to have a true companion. I am not big on materialism (although I do like nice things) so it’s not about jewelry, clothes or expensive food. And so, my attitude is still Valentine, Schmalentine – who needs it? But maybe one day, I’ll see it as more than just another day.