Valentines Day has never been something we’ve made a huge fuss over. It’s always seemed a bit ‘forced’, and we’ve always much preferred to send each other cards to cheer each other up when somethings gone wrong or celebrate something lovely, and to get flowers or little gifts for each other ‘just because’.
We celebrated our first Valentines Day together in 2005 as having a partner to spoil was a novelty for us both!
At the time we had been together about four and a half months, I lived with my parents in the Midlands, and Lauren was at university in Leeds, so an opportunity to spend time alone together was always gladly taken! We went to York, saw a play at a little theatre, went for a meal, and stayed in a hotel. It was lovely, despite the places we went to not being stereotypically romantic. Our second Valentines Day was spent in Leeds, at our favourite vegetarian cafe - it was lovely, being somewhere we had enjoyed many a date, but as teenagers, on a specifically advertised 'Valentine's Dinner' we still felt slightly awkward amongst a roomful of heterosexual couples all on a romantic date! We have always felt Valentines Day to be a predominantly heterosexual event - as with our date in Leeds, we have found public celebrations on Valentines Day can invite curious looks at best from people. Due to us both being femme, people can sometimes assume that we are sad date-less friends who are spending Valentines Day together! Even when onlookers realise we are a couple, it can still be awkward being the only gays in the village. Or restaurant.
Since our early attempts at Valentines Day, although we have always got each other Valentines cards, and sometimes little gifts, we’ve never really celebrated the day with much enthusiasm. We also struggle to find Valentines cards to our taste - there’s so many tacky, red and black, and again, heterosexual aimed cards!
These days, as with everything in life once you are around your thirties, we care a lot less what people think! We are strong believers that acceptance of gay couples comes from positive examples of normality - being proud and confident on a date in a restaurant in Valentine's Day for example.
Now we are older, have our own home, and a little more spare cash (now we no longer have a wedding to save for!), we are enjoying making the most of every holiday presented to us. We even now celebrate Thanksgiving - despite not being American, a holiday to be mindful of things you are thankful for sounds worthwhile of partaking in - not to mention the food!
After nine and a half years together, and having gone through so much as a couple, good and bad, we can’t help feeling our relationship is something to be celebrated.
So this year, we plan to get into the Valentines spirit - it’s our first as a married couple, and our tenth one together (wow, that makes me feel old)! Although we will both be working during the day, we will be getting cards, gifts, and definitely spending some quality time together after work. Lauren even got me surprise Valentines gifts yesterday and the day before, of flowers, chocolates, sweets and cookies! And we love the Valentines decorations (and valentines triple hot chocolate!) in our local Starbucks.
We love flowers, candles, going for dinner and champagne any day of the year, so a day that encourages all things love is a welcome celebration.
Sure you could say Valentines Day is a commercial holiday, but so is pretty much every holiday these days - and a little extra romance is never a bad thing!