Valentines Day

It’s possible I have watched too many kid movies with my niece recently. She’s 4 and even though I like the tough-girl factor in Princess and the Frog, she doesn’t seem as impressed. Even though she run’s around claiming she’s a princess, she actually does not have a favorite princess. She still hasn’t watched Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, or even Aladdin. Nope her favorite’s are Tinker Bell, Cars, Rio (at the moment), Ice Age, Toy Story, and well just about any of the movies that don’t have a prince sweeping a princess of her feet.

Those are things I grew up with, and all the girls were dreaming a prince charming would swoop in and live happily ever after. When other girls at 13 were making goo-goo eye’s at the latest magazine featuring some boy’s and taking boyfriend quizzes, I was deep into a book about a girl who wanted to become a knight.

It wouldn’t be too far off to say I was a very late bloomer, and a tom-boy. As I got older I was mistaken for liking other women. Fact is, I did like boy’s in high-school, I didn’t even know what a lesbian was at the time. Sure I had my hair cropped short, and I wasn’t into many things ‘girls’ were. But I could appreciate the good-looking smart kid from my social studies class.

You can bet when I did figure out that particular misconception I did two things. I wondered “what would be so bad about dating a girl” an experience which proved to me that women, are high-maintenance. As well as rapidly determining that not only didn’t I make good friends with women, I didn’t want to date them either. So for the second thing: I started being much bolder in my advances toward men.

Some men dug the short hair, ready to kick ass thing I had going on in high-school and college. The older I got however, the more feminine touches I started adding. As it turns out I look good with long hair, skirts offer more freedom than pants and combat boots, and well… I like it. Why did I ever thing a ‘strong’ woman needed to look the part?

So I dated, found a man I thought I’d settled down with. Fast forward five years and I found myself panicked. Right back at square one. Or at least I was once I got over the loss. I tried to rush through finding someone, and found out finding something resembling a good relationship couldn’t be rushed.

My age group grew up on barbie-and-ken, prince-saving-princess, and sappy romance movies. Nothing new there that hasn’t been happening since the time when women were ruled first by their father and then by husband. I imagine once upon a time, these were the sort of stories that got women through life. It also possibly caused some of those sour-faced women posed in old portraits.

Now TV shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette, try to show we can have a whirl-wind romance straight out of books that end on a sigh with a ring. Speed-Dating has become alarmingly popular.

So too has the number of men I have met that suffer from ‘Princess Syndrome’.

Forgive me if I am more reserved during the first few dates. I can appreciate Chivalry, and I like free-food and coffee. However I seem to keep meeting these men who say ‘It’s okay to go slow’ but still display every sign of falling on the ground and worshiping where you walk (within two dates). Trailing after you like a love-sick pup, and becoming depressed when you’re too busy and have legitimate reasons to not answer all their messages promptly.

It feels as though they would like to be a prince, for a princess. But, they want to fall in love over night and wrap it up with cuddly and affectionate, goo-goo eye’s that I don’t think I have ever done. So all this tells me is that they aren’t the one for me. I’m certain there are plenty of girls out there who would love to be worshiped 24/7 and doted on like that. I’m just not one of them.

If you came to my home you’d find a shelving unit stacked with romance novels 3 deep. I do appreciate these books very much. They are fun and entertaining. I’m just not an other-worldly creature that ‘bonds’ ensuring a lifetime of happiness. Nor am I a historical debutante, looking for a duke. (Secretly I like to think I do have some of the same characteristics of these heroines but we will leave that for another time.)

I don’t see anything wrong with whirl-wind romances, love at first sight, or relationships that mimic movies and the romance novels. Nothing wrong with blind dates either. At least one of my friends have had amazingly good luck in that regard.

It’s just not for me, I fall in slow motion.

I’m independent, and have a lot of hobbies that are self-absorbing. I appreciate being cuddly, and spending time together. However I don’t want to be followed around by a puppy. I want a friend, someone strong enough to believe in me.

Trust. Another huge reason, I want someone who know’s that even though I can appreciate a picture of a man, and drool over romance novels (and aspire to write them) that I have chosen them, am dedicated  to them. There is no need for jealousy and possessiveness here.

Honesty. Even though we may not share all the same interests or goals, we can still be honest with one another and talk about everything without condemnation.

So why am I thinking about this now?

Valentine’s Day is over. Yes it really is. As a single in this world I expected it to be worse than it was. After all there is a stigma attached to being single on V-Day. There is also a stigma about being older than all your friends who have kids, and are on their way down the aisle. Or the civil equivalent.

I have to admit I have never really appreciated V-Day. I’m not 100% romantic, though I do appreciate flowers, and a nice dinner. I think by the time I had someone with whom I actually wanted to share it with, I was already burnt out.

3 seemed to be the magic number of bear’s High School students toted around in over-sized red bags. Then there were the carnations, and the balloons. The littler kids hyped up on candy, and I found an assortment of cards littering the bus I drove that day. It was actually heart-warming, to watch them.

Perhaps that is an indication that I am slowly thawing out wondering if I will ever again have the adult version of it. A nice dinner, some flowers, a heartfelt card. I have had a good number of those day’s – even if I was (and am) more prone to thinking a good relationship shouldn’t need a single day to re-affirm your love for one another.

There was an article I saw not too long ago. It showed the statistics based upon Facebook’s “in a relationship with” status indicator, changed wildly around V-Day.

New relationships forming just before, and whole drove’s of them ending on, or shortly after. I don’t want that sort of relationship. In the past I have seen “stress” that V-Day causes, I have experienced that stress. Hoping for the perfect day, trying hard, only to be ultimately disappointed. It’s really no surprise that prior to having had a long-term relationship most of those I was in on V-Day ended on a rather sour-note.

I feel badly for all the relationship’s which will end by way of disappointing, annoying, or the failure to have a picture perfect V-Day. If you’ve had one of those, and you’re in a relationship then to you I say “Do you love your partner enough to forgive them the less than stellar day?” and “Can you laugh about it later?”

If the answer is that your less than picture perfect day left you feeling intensely dissatisfied or upset with your partner just because you didn’t get roses… then, unfortunately odds are they aren’t the right person for you. I’ve come across plenty of men who’d simply adore showering someone with that particular type of attention 24/7, I would point you in their direction but I didn’t fall head over heels on the first two dates. So I unfortunately dissatisfied them enough to where we don’t keep in touch. Sorry about that.

One last thing I have to add is I almost wish we celebrated ‘Valentines & White Day’ like they do in Japan and other parts of Asia. Here in America we cram everything into one day, Valentines Day is for couples. Singles generally hope to find a ‘date’ for V-Day in the weeks leading up to it. Younger folks exchange chocolates, even to their friends as signs of affection.

In Japan, V-Day (as I understand it) is a day for Couples, but also a day for a single woman to give home-made (or store-bought) chocolate. A sort of confession. White Day follows this a month later, with men returning the favor. Note that both are far more complex than I have stated here, and include a variety of other traditions (such as obligatory chocolates). If you’re interested in them: Look it up.

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