V-day D-day: A Complete and Thorough Guide to Maintaining Long-Term Love and Achieving Sexual Awkardness
My friend Kim is about to spend her first Valentine’s day with her boyfriend. As such, they are swapping extravagant presents–he’s bought her theater tickets and she is gifting him a new guitar. I know this because she asked Vin to help her pick out a good one.
“Aren’t they adorable?” I said later to my husband.
“They’re super sweet,” Vin replied. Then we locked eyes and smirked before he said exactly what we were both thinking.
Our first Valentine’s day together was 50 years ago. Vin had recently quit his job and was spending three months driving around the country just for fun. I was pretty busy in my new life as a ski bum/cocktail waitress. It’s safe to say we both miss our 20s.
I lived in Denver at the time, so we were in a long-distance relationship. Interesting things happen during long-distance relationships. You drag your ass to the post office to mail care packages and love letters. Nights are spent making kissy noises into the receiver during three-hour phone calls (“You hang up first”, “No, YOU hang up first!) and days are filled with flirty texts and moony day-dreaming. If you and your partner ever find yourself in a slump, I highly recommend one of you skips town and rents an apartment across the country.
We decided to meet in one of my favorite cities– Santa Fe, New Mexico. I arrived at the Ramada Inn hours before he did (because some things never change) and transformed our dingy quarters into a cartoonish love den by littering the room with dozens of hand-crafted paper hearts and pink streamers. He brought chocolates and cookies and sparkly new jewelry. I don’t remember what I wore, but I’m pretty sure it involved lace and rubber bands. It ended up being an incredibly exciting and romantic weekend, filled with sugar, smooches, and roasted green chiles.
I’m not sure how or why fondue became the archetype for a romantic meal for two, but I decided to pull out all the stops and melt everything in my apartment for V-Day 2.o. I lived alone this year, and took the liberty of shoving all my living room furniture against the wall so I could create a picnic spread for me and my man. I rolled out a deep pink blanket, and scattered a bunch of girly pillows around so I could lean seductively while dripping hot gruyere onto my chin.
We started with a full cheese course before diving headfirst into a bucket of melted chocolate, booze and heavy cream. The first few tastes were heaven, and just like I had planned, by the last few bites we couldn’t keep our hands to ourselves. We were like savages–a tangle of arms and hands clawing all over each other as we both fought over who got to murder the bathroom first.
Back in New York and living with roommates, I transformed my teeny bedroom on the Upper West Side into a charming Italian cafe. I brought in a small round table and covered it in linen and tiny white candles. I turned off all the lights and served filet mignon and fettuccine alfredo while Stevie Wonder played softly in the background. It was a great meal, but steak should never be served in one’s bedroom. Once your sheets and curtains smell like beef, the evening goes downhill fast.
Years Four through Six:
It was around this time that gifts became more perfunctory than predictable. These were the years when Vinny started gifting me All-Clad pans for holidays. His mother thought it marked the beginning of the end, but I felt like things were just getting good. My man knew me better. Flowers last about a week. Stainless steel is forever.
Years Seven through Ten:
Dinner? Flowers? Chocolate? Sex? Did we even exchange cards? Who the hell remembers?
This year, we’re double-dating with one of our favorite couples, Jen and Jackie. We’ll share a healthy vegan meal and end the night with John Hughes movies. Don’t tell Vin but I’m planning to blindfold him after dinner and drag him through the snow for a midnight viewing of Fifty Shades of Gray. Who says romance is dead?
Whatever you guys are up to for Valentine’s Day, please make sure you read this list of warnings about recreating scenes from this weekend’s sexy blockbuster. If you’re too lazy to click on this link, the gist is that you should always keep the key to your handcuffs handy and think twice before locking anything to your genitals. I would also add “avoid dairy” to that list.
And please: take my word for it and never fill a bathtub with an entire bottle of baby oil expecting magically sexy things to happen. Not only will you clog your drain something awful, but your hair will never have any volume again and at least one of you will end up with a head injury.
Happy Valentine’s Day Lovahs!