Day One-Hundred-and-Seven: I’ve made my peace with Valentines Day

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Nothing says romance like a teddy riding a Hummer

My drive to the spice shop today (because you know, nothing says ‘I love you’ like chilli) took me past a florist. It was the usual thing. Nobody really notices there’s a florist there until it’s Valentines Day. Then you can’t get at that place for love or money (or love and money, as it were). And these guys were theming it hard. Apart from the fantastic signage pictured above, they had red streamers hanging from the awnings, teddy bears in the window, balloons-a-plenty, and a big sign reminding everyone who hadn’t yet realised that it is ‘Valentines Day! Roses $40208325805 a dozen!’

Ok, so maybe the roses weren’t that expensive, but when you can use hyperbole if not on V-Day? I love you so much I wanna punch a kitten in the face!

It’s one of those occasions where ordinarily-carefree men scramble in desperation to find a gift that says, “I love you. Like, more than usual. But this ain’t no birthday/anniversary”, and ordinarily-tough women turn to mush over a pink stuffed animal.

Yeah, I’ve always had a problem with Valentines Day.

When I was sixteen, I formed a club with one of my best friends. We called it ‘Fuck Love’. Pretty succinct. It had its own Myspace and everything. I don’t think either of us had really given up on the idea of love, but we were the two singletons in our group of four, and it made days like V-Day a bit more bearable. We’d listen to our friends describe their (what I realise now were totally juvenile, high-school) relationships and roll our eyes at each other over the table. “Fuck love,” we’d chant when the stories got too much.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the idea of celebrating love. I love love. It’s the best. Now that I’m in it, I can’t imagine life without it (lame lame lame). It’s just the expectations and pressure that this one day seems to put on people.

It’s a make-or-break day for relationships new and old. First V-Day together? Be afraid. You wanna get this right. But not go so far that your partner expects similar or grander things every year. Don’t use the diamond ring card, for example, unless you have a shit-ton of money and your girl/guy doesn’t feel that bending her/his fingers is particularly necessary (if you’re really that rich, it probably isn’t).

Those in longer-term partnerships might be starting to get into the comfortable stage (which I don’t subscribe to really – yes, I’m comfortable, but I also still want to jump your bones), and will see V-Day as some kind of chance to reinvigorate their passion. Or something. Either you both forget (we did until yesterday), one of you goes to more effort than the other, or the pressure to be romantic is so great you give yourself stomach ulcers.

There’s another option, of course: Use the day as a reminder to do romantic things, catch up with friends/family, and just appreciate your relationships a little more. Don’t put your partner in the doghouse if they don’t tell you they love you on Valentines Day; put them there if they don’t tell you every day. If you want to take your partner out to dinner, and send roses to them at work, that’s also fine. But do it because you want to, not because you have to. Put some thought into what little thing will say, “Hey, you there! I love you.”

For me, the little thing will be having a special meal ready for my boyfriend when he gets home from work (hence the trip to the spice shop). It’s picking up some things we need and grabbing a treat to share with him later. It’s spending time chatting and giggling and kissing. (Not to gross you out, but we’re that kissing couple. One of my friends timed us once, and said in a social situation it was roughly every thirty seconds that our faces drifted towards one another.)

So, to the guy I saw walking out of the florist carrying a bunch of roses and a look of sheer panic, chill out dude. Give her the roses, tell her you love her, and then bust out that copy of season four of Game of Thrones that you somehow managed to illegally obtain and had to kill, like, six armed guards to get (hint hint).

 

All my love,

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TB

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Day Forty-One: The graduate (in a totally non-sexual way)

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I graduated!

I felt a little ripped off actually, since there wasn’t any hat throwing involved. I did have the good fortune to witness another graduate attempting to get a photo of her throwing her (what I hope was not hired) mortarboard into the air in celebration. Let’s just say that the thing had many close encounters with the ground before they got the shot (or gave up, more likely).

Things that were awesome about this day:

Looking like we were in Harry Potter
Being the centre of attention
Receiving graduation gifts (I didn’t even know that was a thing until my mum started talking about my grad present a couple of months ago–score!)
Listening to the effing huge pipe organ play awesome academic-y songs while people entered the hall
Listening to the effing huge pipe organ play the Star Wars theme when it was our turn to exit the hall
Being bought champagne
Epic Turkish feast post-grad
Being the first of my siblings to graduate from university
That piece of paper that says I’m now qualified to do this writing stuff professionally

Things that were less awesome about this day:

The 34 degree sticky heat
Wearing a thick robe and hood in the 34 degree sticky heat (the air-con inside made this just bearable)
Fumbling to keep on a robe that is one size fits all (where ‘all’ is someone with wider shoulders than most women, and those who are accustomed to shoulder pads from their time in the ’80s)
The heavy mortarboard making me feel like my head was drooping to one side
The tassel on the mortarboard getting stuck in my eye (I kid you not–I flicked my head and blinked at a really bad time; it hurt)
Concentrating so hard on not tripping as I received my parchment that I have no memory of the moment where I actually received my parchment

 

So, here I am: a graduate. Enjoy the following cliched graduation photos that I pilfered from Google:

 

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But mostly just this:

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TB