Valentine’s Day can be polarizing: either people are totally into it or people vomit at the mere thought of it.
While I never outwardly protested the holiday, I did roll my eyes at the giant stuffed bears that teetered on the shelves of the grocery store and the cheesy jewelry commercials that insisted a bracelet would save your relationship. The decorations were cute, but only for a third grade classroom where you’re supposed to give everyone a Valentine so no one’s feelings get hurt (even though it is inevitable). The pressure to either be in love or to speak out against love was too much for me. I couldn’t see why anyone would get so passionate about a day that was so obviously fabricated to force people into feigning passion. That’s until I started dating women.
Lesbian romance isn’t different than straight romance except in the way that it’s a billion times better. It is acute thoughtfulness. Girls I dated sent me songs that they thought I would like and recommended movies that I’d never heard of, and they all immediately became my favorites. They knew what I wanted before I’d even thought of it (in a nice way, not in a Tonya way). We stayed up until four in the morning, talking about everything and nothing at all, making me feel like I was being really listened to for the first time in my life. We suffocated each other with snuggles and wore out our voices with words of affirmation. It’s an absolute consumption of your heart and soul that deserves to be recognized. With women, Valentine’s Day was no longer a public proclamation about how great my relationship is. It became a personal pronouncement of how much love I feel every day. It’s a chance to stop and say, “I see you and everything you do, and I love you. Like, a lot. Listen to me as I scream it into your face for 24 hours straight. I LOVE YOU!!!!!”
Not only that, but it is so bonkers how benevolent lesbians can be. Three days into dating my girlfriend, she had gone pumpkin picking with friends and bought me a mini pumpkin because it was cute and reminded her of me. I talked about it for weeks. And that was just the beginning! She always had a tiny trinket or a sweet text that brightened every moment of my day. It inspired me to do the same thing. I left a love note on her pillow when I left early for work so she could wake up to it. She bought me her favorite book because I told her offhand that I wanted to read more. I got her a pair of slippers to keep at my apartment in case her feet get cold. It’s never expensive, but the careful consideration is priceless.
Valentine’s Day gifts are notorious for being cheesy, generic, and overpriced, but not for lesbians… no, ma’am! You may not get diamonds, but you may receive a full fireworks display while you have a picnic in the park, complete with your favorite childhood snack that she overheard you talking about. The amount of time and effort that are put into gifts are both appreciated more than regular store-bought gifts as well as recognized by the receiver. Your girlfriend will notice every nuanced detail that you included in your gift, which makes every second of organizing worth it.
This year my girlfriend and I decided that instead of gifts, we are just going to take each other on a date (lesbians love gender equality and eating out). So that means TWO, count ‘em, TWO Valentine’s Days. It’s not like a double-header; we each have a day that we get to make special just for the other person. Our love is so massive and overwhelming that it requires multiple days to try to jam all the ways we want to show our affection into them. It’s not confined to just one dinner. We each plan several-hour adventures catered to each other’s likes and desires, which I don’t have to tell you is better than any reservation at a fancy gourmet restaurant that you will leave starving and disappointed.
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love and romance, but with that caliber of uncontrollable emotion, it’s also about S-E-X. The pressure to have someone to romance you carries over into having someone to de-pants you. Valentine’s Day sex is supposed to be up there with birthday, anniversary, and breakup/make-up sex. We’ve been conditioned to associate love with sex—which would be a bad thing, except lesbians have some of the most emotionally-charged sex of all living creatures. We live the “fantasy” of hours of mind-blowing sex and true, unadulterated ~lovemaking.~ (I always full-body-cringe at the term lovemaking, but the feeling of your soul coming to the surface of your skin and melding with the soul of the most beautiful person you know can change your mind about a few things.) You don’t have to buy sexy lingerie, and no one is buying you some ugly teddy (but if they did, who would be better at it than another woman?) You can just end (and/or start) the day with a physical expression of your adoration, and plus, you’ll ACTUALLY orgasm. Point, lesbians.
OK, so I know that my examples of why to love Valentine’s Day, thus far, have been relationship-related, but that is not the only way that we lesbians can enjoy Valentine’s Day. The same passion and compelling obsession that we have for our girlfriends and partners courses through our veins just as strongly for our female friends. Even if you are not acknowledging a raging romantic love, you can swan dive into a pool of platonic affection. Gather your girls and show them how much you love and appreciate them, even if they don’t ever and will never go down on you (at least not sober). Go to dinner, see a movie, grab some drinks at a singles party with no intention of hooking up with anyone. This is a day for gal pal compassion. Your friends deserve to know how much they mean to you just as much as your lovers do.
Valentine’s Day will always be over-commercialized, overrated, and overdone—that’s a given. But I will never get over trying to show my deep devotion to the people I love, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to do so. I don’t have to participate in the cheesiness. I can participate in the sentiment behind all of it. But isn’t it fun to be a little cheesy once in a while? If there’s one thing lesbians are known for, it’s overwhelming emotions. I’m going to use the day as an excuse to be unapologetically annoying about my adoration for others—not that that’s much different than any other day. If nothing else, it’s a great excuse to wear a ton of red. I look really good in red.