I really shouldn’t be writing about this, but it’s Valentine’s Week.
After being single for so long (six years since the last relationship), the idea of spending the Valentine non-holiday with my special someone seems so foreign. The operative word is “spending.” Regardless of my status, I hold this to be true: the celebration of Valentine’s Day is overrated and its saccharine trappings, all too commercialized.
Growing up, I thought I wanted the red roses-chocolates-stuffed toys-and-candlelit dinner Valentine gift combo, the stuff high school-age girlish dreams are made of. Red and “heartsy,” warm and fussy. Thinking about it now, that’s what it really was, and still is — a gift combo. Traditional, convenient, cutesy, pa-porma (can’t seem to find the words to translate this) — a package perpetuated by what the malls, TV commercials, and romantic comedy movies tell us about spending and giving gifts.
Last year, my Valentine’s Day was spent eating shawarma rice at the UP Fair grounds. My boyfriend, probably thinking I was a stick insect, gave me a nice vintage graphic t-shirt sized XS…but I’m actually an M/L, not even an S. No worries. He thought I was smaller/thinner. Best part was, it did fit! After the gift-giving, we found out beer wasn’t allowed at the fair so we left UP and hung out at a nearby resto-bar with friends. We drank cheap beer, ate greasy sisig, listened and sang along to a folk singer, and laughed until the wee hours. It was one of the best Valentine’s Day celebrations I’ve had in a while.
This year, I will be spending Valentine’s Day at the hospital taking care of a family member. I already asked my boyfriend to come over. He better bring food. I’m counting on a hearty take-out meal in disposable containers to make my Valentine’s Day special. Or maybe we can just have a cup of those Php25 coffee concoctions at 7-Eleven. (French vanilla is the best.) His mere presence will make any day special.
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Is it really too much to ask for in a guy? I’d say yes, it’s too much and it wouldn’t really matter once I’ve been swept off my feet. But that’s just me. For a friend who herself writes, spelling, grammar, and English proficiency seem to be the ticket to dating bliss. She laments the dearth of “good guys.” And by “good guys,” she means crush-worthy, physically attractive guys who can tweet, post, express their thoughts clearly and flawlessly.
Will that really matter at all? Will it muddle the gene pool? Will grammar trump other qualities like wit, charm, and sense of humor? Are we so enamored with perfection that not being fluent has become a bait for ridicule and shallow laughter, and a source of embarassment? What’s wrong with missing a letter here and there, misusing idioms, or being unable to make subject and verb agree and ride off into the sunset?
If he’s a great, lovable person, he just is. His awesomeness will shine through his limited vocabulary and sentence construction skills. Might be laughable, yes, but perfect grammar’s just not everybody’s best asset/skill. It shouldn’t be. Prince Charming just might be amazing in math, martial arts, or knitting.
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(Part of A Year of Living Without)
The challenge: To do away with fancy coffee, especially uber-sweet 3-in-1 packets and grossly overpriced and fattening drinks from posh coffeeshops.
Planned replacement habit: Black coffee or better yet, tea (should be plain tea, not milk tea with pearls)
Month-end Report: I successfully avoided 3-in-1 coffee sachets. I still drank coffee — black coffee most of the time; with sugar, maybe 5 times in a whole month; with creamer, maybe even less frequently like 3 times in the past month. I visited a coffeeshop just once, and ordered cafe latte worth P115. I’m not sure if that would count as “grossly overpriced and fattening.” It. Was. Just. Latte. After this experiment, I also figured I’m not much of a tea drinker. I like green tea, but coffee just tastes and smells better. No need to worry about the fancy tea varieties like pearl drinks.
I’m feeling good about this. I will continue this after January, with a few variations — no 3-in-1, no sugar and cream, coffeeshop trips to be limited to just once a month.
Up next: A month of living without processed meat