Obligatory Chocolate Day

When I was working, my coworkers would sit around and talk about where they were going to go for Valentine’s Day.  Fancy restaurants, roses, jewelry, the whole thing. Some of them declared they’d break up with their boyfriends if Valentine’s Day wasn’t perfect.   And they’d look at me and ask what my husband and I were doing, and I’d say, “We might go to Costco for a hot dog.”

Valentine’s day is just not a thing for us.  Part of this is that my husband is Japanese.  In Japan, they have Valentine’s Day, but it’s called “Obligatory Chocolate Day,” which you have to admit is a much better name.  In Japan, on Valentine’s, women give chocolate to every man they know.  Then, supposedly, in March, men are supposed to give the women some sort of cookie or marshmallow back on a day called White Day. (I can tell you, White Day is worthless…I never got anything!)

I was excited when I started dating my husband, because I had never previously had a date on Valentine’s Day.  My previous Valentine’s tradition was to sit at home, eating Ben and Jerry’s and watching slasher movies.  Why slasher movies?  Simple–the virgin is the only one that survives.  Everyone who has a lover is gutted with a chainsaw.  It worked for me.  Anyway, I went all out for him; cooked dinner, bought chocolates…other things.  A good night all around.  When White Day rolled around, I got…nothing.  He said, “But…Americans don’t celebrate White Day!”  To which I replied, “Yeah, but if we were celebrating American style, I’d have got the chocolate!”

And, well, that’s pretty much how it’s gone ever since.  My husband was a waiter, so he refuses to pay for an overpriced menu on the most crowded night of the year.  We don’t have much money, so flowers and gifts are out, and we’ve come to the conclusion that giving gifts because someone tells you it means more on February 14th is silly.  (This is pretty much how we give gifts anyway–he wants a new skateboard or I want a new video game, and the other yells “Merry Christmas/Happy birthday/Valentine’s whatever is closest, and we buy it for ourselves.)

This year, we went out for cheap Mexican food as a family the week before and called it our Valentine’s celebration.  We bought each other a little chocolate thing and a card each and gave the girls each a new book.  Tonight, I’ll make a heart shaped pizza, and after we get done working tonight, my husband and I will watch Archer reruns and make each other laugh, like we do most nights.

This morning, Baby A picked up the card her father gave her, a little card with a brightly colored cat on the front.  She was giggling and trying to pet the cat.  M sat down nearby, pulled Baby A onto her lap, and read her the card.  When she finished, she kissed Baby A’s head and said, “You lucky little girl, isn’t it great that everyone loves you so much?”

So, however you’re celebrating, or not, Happy Valentine’s Day.  I have to admit, when Baby A naps, I may watch a slasher movie, just for old time’s sake.

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