By Kate Romero
February 14. A date that has been known to strike fear in the heart of men. The movies and greeting card commercials tell us we are supposed to share a romantic dinner with our mate, our plates piled high with expectation, complete with a red velvet box of chocolates and a heart-shaped necklace. And if that’s your bag, go to it my friends, you go right ahead and enjoy those chocolates filled with dubious orange cream.
To me, Valentine’s Day has always been a holiday for amateurs, and when it comes to love, I am nothing if not a professional. Wait. That didn’t come out right at all. What I mean to say is, I don’t appreciate flowers as much when the media has told my husband to bring them to me, but I do appreciate romantic gestures. I don’t want to ruin my husband’s street cred on the construction site, but let’s just say he’s pretty good in the romance department, despite his grumpy demeanor.
Mitch always cleans my glasses and opens my wine water bottles for me because I have carpal tunnel syndrome and I need to save my hands for making up stupid Valentines. He knows I am afflicted with a shoe shopping condition, and doesn’t give me too much grief about it. He lets me hog the bathroom in the morning. He will get up and make me a latte if I’m worried that ants have taken over the kitchen in the night (I know, I am uh-mazing at not being annoying). He’s going to take the car in for an oil change because he knows I fear mechanical things. That last sentence isn’t really true, he wants me to take the car in, but after I wrote all that nice stuff about him, I’m gambling that he’ll soften and do it for me.
I’m no slouch at the romantic gestures, either. For instance, when Mitch is looking really busy with work on his laptop and his brow is furrowed and whatnot, I like to plop myself down on his lap to chat and keep him company. I know! He’s a lucky man. I also ensure that our home is always clean and the laundry is always done by making sure the maid gets paid. To make things easy on those commercialized, high-pressure holidays such as Valentine’s Day, I will order something pretty for myself and send an e-mail link to what I bought to Mitch, along with a nice thank you note (because my mama raised me right). I also see to it that he gets plenty of attention by putting him on the internet, which is his Favorite Thing Ever.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t love a good Valentine. I just like to make my own. Last year, the Valentine I made for Mitch said, “Sometimes I think about being married to one of the guys I dated before I met you, and I’m relieved, because you were the least annoying one of the bunch. I also love you because we both despise the overuse of exclamation points.” What do you think? Hallmark can suck it, right? I also enjoy making Valentines with my kids. I’ve always had them make their own to pass out at school. My favorite was the one my then third grade son made for his classmates. It was a fully-diagrammed anatomically correct heart. Sure, there was a little blood dripping off of it, but it was both about love AND informative, so, a win in my book. The bloody heart Valentine was well-received by the boys in his class and his science teacher, but not so much by the girls, which, in third grade, is pretty much what he was going for.
This Valentine’s Day, the CLO has arranged to have vendors selling roses and brigadeiros at the embassy for your loved ones, which should make celebrating your paixão a little easier in a country that doesn’t ‘do’ Valentine’s Day, but I encourage you to also do something a little unique and unexpected for each other, and not just on February 14, either. For example, since I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in a few months, I am planning to make up a little “I Love You So Much That I Haven’t Gotten A Speeding Ticket For Months” card. Or maybe a banner, because that’s a pretty big deal. Now, if you aren’t inclined to make up your own Valentine cards, I’ve gone ahead and made up a few for you that you are welcome to print out and use as your own, because I’m generous like that. Hallmark who?