Valentine’s Day Stories: The Third Year’s The Charm
Editor’s Note: Happy February, everyone! This month we are sharing both funny and tragic Valentine’s Day stories – but we’d also like to throw some other dating stories into the mix. If you have a Valentine’s Day story to share, or would like to share some hard lessons you learned about dating, not-dating, or falling in love, please visit our Contribute page! Today’s post is by Jess Bender. She tweets at @blessthisjess and blogs at bless this jess. – Lauren
The way Dave and I met and fell in love was meant to inspire a cinematic romance. We had our meet-cute in our alma mater’s dark room nearly four years ago, where he was working on his budding photography career and I was the department’s assistant. After talking for four hours about how much we hated the movie Juno, video games we played in our childhoods, and our mutual appreciation for B-movies, we added each other on Facebook and planned our first hangout.
Dave came over to my dorm room on a Friday night at 10:30 after a long shift at work, and our courtship officially began. I like to think that I won him over when I cooked him some badass orange chicken, because he practically begged me to hang out with him on Sunday. What was supposed to be a photo excursion to Chinatown ended up being a 14-hour date that was capped off with our first kiss at 2:45 in the morning.
The honeymoon phase of our relationship lasted quite some time. We both fell in love with each other at the same exact time (after catching a Lou Reed documentary and we wandered to Battery Park on the foggiest of nights); Dave eventually confessed he was falling in love with me at Bryant Park while we were surrounded by rabid Jonas Brothers fans. From that moment on, I knew I was in a solid relationship I’ve always dreamed of being in since I was a bright-eyed little girl.
Despite our near-perfect relationship (I’ll admit, there have been a few major hiccups during the history of us, but who hasn’t had those?), one area that Dave and I had a hard time perfecting was the Art of the Perfect Valentine’s Day. Just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we’ve managed to get things “just right” by the third time.
Our first Valentine’s Day together was void of any plans and filled with much angst. As a 20-year-old who was used to depressing or underwhelming holidays, I was expecting the most flawless February 14th that year. Unfortunately for the both of us, things didn’t go as planned. Dave couldn’t get off work that night until 11, and I gave him hell for it (I still apologize to him for it to this day – man, I was a brat). I ordered a pile of Chinese food that night and proceeded to watch sugary romantic comedies on my laptop in my room. Conveniently, while I was busy stuffing dumplings and tears into my giant mouth, my Macbook decided to break on me. Dave was a hero that night as he accompanied Grumpy Me to the 24-hour Apple store on 5th Avenue, but I was too upset to appreciate his chivalry until now.
365 days come and go, and our next Valentine’s Day was disastrous in a different kind of way. Weeks of constant bickering and verbal quarrels had worn me down, and it was in my personal interest to give our relationship a time-out. Dave wanted to save our partnership, so he planned the most elaborate date that I’ve ever heard of. He booked all of my favorite activities and squished them into a single day – a morning in the kitchen at a couples’ cooking class followed by a romantic stroll in Central Park followed by a night of stargazing and chocolate-covered strawberries at the planetarium. Unbeknownst to him, I had already intended on brunching with my parents and baking with my brother to keep my mind off my complicated relationship status.
Looking back on the Valentine’s Eve that followed, the night was both weirdly hilarious and a bit upsetting. Fortunately, Dave gave me the permission to tell this tale, since it was the event that brought us back together for the long run.
Dave and myself were invited to the same house party, a party we didn’t really want to attend due to our mutual depression. I clung onto my gal pals and strangers I met that night, and he mingled with a bottle of whiskey and a handful of vodka-soaked Gummi Bears. Trying to start a conversation with him became harder to do as he became drunker and drunker. Within an hour, he blacked out and found a way to get sick in every part of the host’s apartment. When the host pulled out his samurai sword and hovered over Dave’s passed-out body, I had to step in and save my man from being chopped up. Two hours later, five strong volunteers and I carried Dave to his mom’s boyfriend’s truck, three stories down.
Fast forward to a year later, and the beau and I thought long and hard about how we wanted to spend the most romantic day of the year. After much discussion (AKA about ten minutes) – we both came to the conclusion that we needed to eat. He booked the joint (a cheap-but-respected BYOB Asian tapas joint in the Lower East Side) and I bought the fancy red wine to accompany our meal. Piles of spring rolls and sake-braised scallops, along with sloppy renditions of Biz Markie songs and tons of deep eye-gazing across the table, made for a wonderful night.
We figured out how we’re going to celebrate the love-filled holiday this year a few nights ago. Dave found a quirky restaurant near the place where we realized we were in love with each other, so it’ll be another year of good food and even more memories. I’m not sure if we’re going to top the epicness of last year’s romantic rendezvous, but at least I know we finally got the hang of this thing we call Valentine’s Day.
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