We are unconventional in certain matters of coupledom. My husband and I do not exchange gifts for our anniversary, except for the milestones. We got married in our backyard and had the reception there, too; it was a gorgeous, relaxed, fondly remembered day. And, we never buy gifts or go out for Valentine’s Day.
For our first Valentine’s Day, he made a chicken cordon bleu meal and bought his first bottle of wine (the first of very, very many.) On our second Valentine’s Day, I made him a Mexican-themed feast, complete with Margaritas from scratch (also, the first of very, very many.) On our third Valentine’s Day, we planned a night “in” with pizza, wine, special chocolates and a movie. Over time, it has become our signature Valentine’s celebration, only now we make the pizza ourselves and the movie is *always* the incomparable 1980’s romance, Moonstruck.
It’s not that we don’t love each other enough to spend a small fortune and venture out into the frozen tundra that is February in western New York. On the contrary, it is because we do love each other that we would rather enjoy the annual celebration of love in our fleecy pants, camped out on the living room couch surrounded by pizza, wine, and chocolate with Cher getting wooed by a young Nic Cage.
Life offers enough anxieties without blindly subscribing to whatever pop culture has assigned as the “thing to do.” Romantic relationships, jobs, houses, cars, clothes, raising children…society has more than a few strong suggestions for how to live your life (read as: How to spend your money).
I’m not unconventional because I have made it my agenda to go against the grain (heaven knows that’s never a smooth road). Maybe I’m lazy or too cheap, or maybe it’s just that I did drink from that well and decided that I didn’t care for the flavor.
Cookie-cutter McMansion in the manicured outer suburbs?
No thanks, it’s not for me.
New car every few years? New wardrobe every season?
Um, everything I have is still perfectly good.
Following all the “rules” is not a guarantee for success and happiness. Diamond jewelry, a $100 bouquet of roses and a $200 dinner bill do not make a life partner. A good paycheck and great benefits is not the end of the career conversation if all you end up with is feeling like driving off a bridge would be preferable to one more work day.
Mainstream isn’t necessarily bad, just as the road less traveled isn’t necessarily better. It’s more a matter of what you’re willing to try if what you’ve done so far hasn’t worked so well.
If you prefer to get dressed up and overpay for a dinner elbow-to-elbow with the rest of the romance-pursuing masses, have at it if that’s your thing. Sometime before Tuesday, I will dig out my stash of construction paper and glue stick to create a Valentine that would make a third-grader proud. Because the hottest Valentine’s date in town is the one where we do what makes us happy.