Thursday, 14 February 2013

V-Day 2013

Update (20:40 EST): The Lady M.Div. is IN. Feel free to leave comments and questions, if you feel like asking questions, in the combox, and I'll answer pronto. (Otherwise, carry on with your evening film, activities, etc. I shall while away the time with depressing Polish tango songs.)

Update 2 (23:15 EST): The Lady M.Div. is OUT and going to bed. Zzzz. Whose saint's day is tomorrow?


B.A. flew back to Scotland yesterday, taking a good chunk of my heart with him, which puts me in an appropriately gloomy mood for Valentine's Day. Solidarność!

Good morning, ladies.

My cardinal rule for Valentine's Day is EXPECT NOTHING, and this is helpful not only for Single  Girls without Boyfriends, but for Single Girls with Boyfriends and indeed Married Women.  Boyfriends and Husbands are terrible mind-readers, and they often underestimate the importance of Valentine's Day, let alone understand what it is supposed to look like. If  a woman with a boyfriend or husband lets go all of her ideas of what Valentine's Day is supposed to look like, she may find herself pleasantly surprised.

When I was a child, I was not at all rooted in reality, and I used to imagine that something might happen THAT Valentine's Day although nothing exciting and romantic had happened the Valentine's Day before or the Valentine's Day before that and, anyway, I was twelve. This bad Valentine's Day mental habit continued through high school, although it was not as unrooted in reality as there were Valentine's Day candygrams, and sometimes I got one.

I suppose I should explain candygrams. The candygram was the most exciting method of communication in my teenage life. In short, candygrams were notes delivered from the boys' high schools to the girls' high schools and handed over by the student council with the appropriately seasonal piece of candy. (They were also notes delivered to the boys' high schools from the girls' high schools and handed over by their student councils with the appropriate candy, unless the student council cheated and ate all the candy, as I seem to recall a boy claiming his did.)

The advent of the candygrams was announced over the public address system during "The Announcements" or a note was posted up outside the Student Council room and the news spread like mono throughout the student population. The result was 900 girls crammed between a stairwell and a door to have a look at the Candygram List.

Oh, the joy of seeing one's own name on the Candygram list--especially if it had (2) or even (3) written beside it! I'd like to tell you that it was nothing, NOTHING, to the news that Seraphic Singles would be published as a book but---alas. I'm not sure it was. Like Tosca, as a teenager I lived for art and for love. Sadly, the love was entirely unrequited, but at least I got some candygrams and, therefore, respect.

The one shadowy part of candygrams was that I never knew whether I had received a candygram because I was the delightful sort of girl teenage boys loved to send candygrams to, or because I had sent the senders candygrams myself and they were sending candygrams back only to be polite.  As the boys to whom I tended to send Candygrams  were strictly brought up by their Middle European immigrant parents, I fear the latter.

In hindsight, if I could live high school all over again, I would try to think more strategically about boys, as it is laughable to imagine I could live high school all over again without thinking of boys at all.

And this brings me back to Valentine's Day because it reminds me that we have choices in this life. We can be super-modern and send men valentines in the hope that they will send us valentines back. Or we can be traditional and hope we get valentines anyway and grieve when we don't. Or we can be traditional, hope we get valentines anyway and make sure we have organized a nice treat for ourselves so there will be no grieving.

Now, I will be out having a coffee at 17:30 Eastern Standard Time, but I will be back by 20:00, when I will sit by the computer waiting for comments to respond to. So we can all have a lovely chat in the combox, if you like.

Meanwhile, a very happy Valentine's Day to all my little Singles.


Kelly said...

Haha I loved your post as always, although I think I was much more strategous about boys in high school, and must have lost some of that young wisdom in college-your blog has helped me to regain it bit by bit!

Sadly, at my American medical school, med students for choice replaced the respect garnering candygram, with the oh so charming condomgram. They are supposed to be given out during class this morning, and I'm slightly repulsed, slightly fascinated to see who receives them.

For the past few years, my friends and I sent each other letters and small things as you suggested-we are too busy this year, but I leave some really lovely memories, and for that: thank you!

I love Valentines Day, primarily because my mom has made a lovely dinner, decorated the house and given my many siblings, and my dad, and me small but extremely thoughtful presents, every year. Her planning, thoughtfulness and special touch have always made it one of the best days of the year. The only year I remember being disappointed was the year I had a boyfriend, at Notre Dame, who just didn't understand why one might even care-definitely not his fault, but it goes to show that there are many kinds of loves that can be celebrated today, with complete happiness, and non of them, in my experience, have involved a dude.

Prayers for everyone to have a happy day. And thank you, Seraphic, for everything you do.

Scarlet said...

My high school had a similar tradition, where you could have a rose sent to someone on Valentine's Day. They gave them out during homeroom and first period. It was run by student council (so, the popular students) so that the other popular students could bask in their own popularity. By senior year most of us were boycotting it.

Jam said...

In my middle school we had candy grams but with tulips instead of candy -- I don't remember what they were called now. One year a boy I knew who was on student council (and so involved in putting the flower-grams together) told me I had "a lot -- two or three!" which blew my mind, since I didn't feel very popular and was of course dying for attention. The next day, I was all psyched up when the delivery came to our third period class -- and I got one flower -- from my MOM!! Oh, the heartbreak. That taught me the objective lesson about hoping for Grand Romantic Gestures, not that it stopped me from hoping for some kind of surprise for years and years and years. And poor mom; the only person who sent me anything for Valentine's most years and most of the time I took it as some kind of cosmic insult... Here's to living in reality, this year anyway. I have really liked your series of romance posts this week, too, Seraphic.

lauren said...

Scarlet, that happened in my school too, and I have a very vivid memory of being the ONLY girl who didn't get one. Bleh.

Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

In high school I got a Candygram freshman year, and it was signed, but I didn't understand that the name corresponded to the friendly boy whose locker was near mine, and I was terribly, terribly shy and lacking confidence. (Some friend of his called out to me once "You know he likes you" and I had had no idea and was so shocked that I flushed beet red and kept walking... oops, sorry, nice young man - it wasn't you, it was me.)

The law school's a cappella group has been selling Singing Valograms - some poor person gets surrounded and sung to and it's been happening all week. :-) It's cute but I'm glad that I haven't received one.

I am super busy this month so I have not been good about the Valentines for single friends, but I have received one. And tonight I'm babysitting for a friend so he and his wife can enjoy Valentine's Day- I LOVE his daughters so I think we're going to make some Valentine's crafts, which will be nice because this weekend I'm one of the organizers of a tournament we're hosting. :-)

Athanasius lover said...

This was the first Valentine's Day in years that I really felt bad about. I've always been single, so there's nothing externally different about Valentine's Day except that so few of my friends are single anymore. I tried to organize a single get-together for tonight but couldn't find any single women around, and the dating/engaged/married women I know weren't available, either. So being in my mid-20s, never having dated anyone, and rapidly becoming one of the only single women I know was really making me dread this Valentine's Day.

That said, so far it has been good. My mom and brother are driving into town and we are going out to dinner together so none of us is alone on Valentine's Day (we are all single). I am a teacher, and one of my students brought in cupcakes and another brought in cake pops. Even more touching, one of my students from a previous trimester brought in a plate of cookies just for me!

I also got a thick envelope yesterday from my lone single friend. I was not expecting that and was going to leave it on my coffee table and wait until Valentine's Day to open it. Then I realized that it was thick and might contain chocolate. I decided to open it right away because I have two dogs and didn't want to leave a chocolate-filled card accessible to them. Sure enough, the card had a good-quality chocolate bar in it. Opening it early was great because it gives me something to smile about all day today!

I set my expectations very low for today and so far have been pleasantly surprised at how well it is going.

Alisha said...

Valentine's Day report:

I have been making valentines with your niece Popcorn, resplendent with glitter glue, we went shopping & I found a new secondhand dress and we have been dancing to Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody and watching Shirley Temple sing On the Good Ship Lollipop...she is currently singing her own made up song which include the words "princess hero" (I've been teaching her not to rely on being rescued by Ernie who doubles as Woody from Toy Story in Peanut's mind) later plans include making cupcakes (or, as Peanut calls them "pupcakes") for the school party tomorrow. Tonight I will be spending with my dear brother, the deacon...pretty sweet day :)

Caelaeno said...'s been rather hectic today, what with my roommate's bathroom sink backing up and parking pass issues, but things are coming together and we're throwing a party for other single ladies of good will to eat strawberry shortcake and play games. The worst part about being single on St. Val's Day is everyone else having Plans while you sit at home and mope, so we're trying to eliminate that misery from our lives.

Ania said...

Solidarność! That's it. Thank you Auntie!
Today I went to the catholic bookshop looking for sth different but accidentally I found your book 'Anielskie single' (though I planned to buy it some time ago). So it was great gift for myself on Valentine's Day. I'm on 132 page now and it's possible that I'll finish it tonight :)

Sarah said...

Valentine's Day went by largely ignored by me. I have never been terribly excited about it, even while dating someone, so now that I'm not, I usually kind of forget about it. It helps that it seems most of the rest Central Europe forgets about it, too.

Meanwhile, this comic that one of my friends posted on his facebook gave me a good laugh.

healthily sanguine said...

I treated myself to delicious (and expensive) Indian food for a late lunch--and I have to work this evening from 5-9 anyway, so I'm not missing the lack of a "real" date. :)

Maria said...

Yeah, that comic is fantastic.
After a day of cleaning and *cough* a little *cough* schoolwork, I am GOING SWING DANCING! (By myself - this is not a date).

MaryJane said...

"spread like mono" - awesome.

Kelly, I love the story of how your mom was so thoughtful. Not a year has gone by without a package, card, or flowers from my father, and I think that is the major cause of my love of Valentine's Day. This year I brought a bottle of Proseco and three bars of chocolate over to some girlfriends' house and we watched a chick flick. It was a great day for all the single ladies ;)

c'est la vie said...

No Valentine's blues for me this year. I was up early translating to meet a deadline before my day job; had a hectic day at work, declined cinnamon hearts this morning on the grounds of its being Lent (spoilsport, I know!), avoided slaying boneheaded co-worker, heard other co-workers complaining about the inadequate Valentine's Day plans cooked up by husbands and boyfriends; and was grateful I wasn't dating some sickly chap who wouldn't marry me (case of one colleague, who pretends not to mind, but I know better). Some good Calderon on the stereo system now, and preparing to work on my latest brilliant idea for a play (I never finish my literary endeavors, but it's fun to think I will.) Dreams of being a great playwright fill my fatigued brain,and there isn't any room for unrequited love.

I sound bitter but I'm actually not. I didn't have to witness any romantic behaviour involving people of my own age, so I'm fine! Thanks, Seraphic, for cheering us on.

Seraphic said...

Okay, I'm home! The M.Div. is in. So if anyone has more comments, here I am. You can ask questions too. I had a great one today about whether I feel I overshare. I don't THINK I overshare... So far I haven't gotten into trouble saying stuff about me. I have however gotten into trouble saying stuff about other people, so I kind of think really hard when I tell anecdotes about others, no matter how anonymous. That, by the way, is one reason why I write so much about ME.

Seraphic said...

And I loved reading your Valentine's stories, especially Alisha's and Popcorn's stories! I'm so glad my niece Popcorn had an awesome V-Day, even though she's, like, only two years old and in no danger of V-Day angst.

Seraphic said...

Thanks for the cartoon, Sarah. It was cute. (But I think St. Valentine cares all the same! He might be surprised by his petitioners, but I am sure he is touched and does what he can.)

Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

Well, not a question, but an update - I also had a hectic day, but I got to end it with two awesome little girls while their parents had a date, so that was fun. I bought them little Valentines to leave them tonight with Disney princesses on them and when I was checking them out a very cute and curious 4 year old in front asked me what they were and, when I showed her, whether they were a gift for princesses (I then asked if the pringles she was holding were a favorite snack, which they were). We made snowflakes, and they talked my ear off, demonstrated some impressive light-saber techniques (E, the 8 year old, has been "training" L, the 5 year old) and watched most of a movie (during which L pretty much spoiled every plot point and E tried to fix it by saying the opposite).

I also had to get some more comfortable shoes and there happened to be a skin care/make-up line at the same outlet mall, so I treated myself (I need all the stuff I bought, but it is a bit pricey.. thank goodness the shoes were on sale).

All in all, a nice Valentine's...

Seraphic said...

Very good! And I think it is particularly awesome to babysit for a married couple so they can have a date.

Katerina said...

Valentine's day generally goes by largely unnoticed by me, but I decided this year to make some heart-cards out of pretty paper and write messages on the backs. I posted these to four good friends, one of whom is an unofficial aunty of mine, and one of whom is still in the aftermath of a two-year long relationship and feeling rather gloomy about the whole thing from what I've gathered. I was really happy when I received messages later in the day saying how moved they'd been by them!
I also got up early and stuck hearts on the bedroom doors of my housemates :) Unbeknownst to me, one of them had had the same idea, and stuck little hearts on all our doors too, which was lovely!
It is surprising and most wonderful how you can make such a difference to someone's day with such little gestures. In the evening three of us watched The Importance of Being Earnest, with the accompaniment of doughnuts, and the day was finally rounded off with a phonecall to a close friend. One of the best Valentine's days I can remember having :)

Seraphic said...

Wonderful! Thank you for telling us! :-D