February 15th: The most romantic night, ever.

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Feb 15, 2011

Dinner reservations have been made. I rummaged through my closet, pulled out an array of dresses, tossed half of them back in, pulled out some different ones, and think I finally decided on an outfit.

Later, I’ll start the 2-6 hour depilatory process required of all Italian women before going out on a date. Because tonight? Tonight is going to be fun.

It’s the day after Valentine’s Day, after all.

February 15th has become, weirdly enough, the day Rand and I choose to have a romantic dinner out. It sounds a little counter-intuitive, and to be honest, I can’t remember how our ritual started. I suspect it had something to do with the fact that one year, Rand spent hours on the phone before securing a Valentine’s Day dinner reservation, and it was still January.

He finally managed to get us something, but it didn’t go unnoticed by either of us that on the following night, the 15th,  there were plenty of open tables, at virtually every restaurant in town. And with that, we were on to something. For the past few years, we’ve made dinner reservations for the 15th of February. The day before, the real Valentine’s Day, is usually spent in the company of single friends, or hanging out with couples who have kids or just aren’t in the mood to deal with crowds.

People raise eyebrows at our decision, but we defend it. Going out the day after Valentine’s Day has lots of benefits:

  1. Conversation hearts are 50% off, AT LEAST. So are most assortments of chocolates.
  2. Getting a reservations is a snap. Whoever is at the restaurant manning the phones will usually clarify four times: “February fifteenth? Are you sure?”
  3. Parking is a breeze. Since everyone went out the night before, they’re now at home.
  4. Service at restaurants is excellent. Staff is usually so relieved that the rush of V-Day is over, they’re relaxed, friendly, and attentive.
  5. You’re reminded that appreciating each other isn’t just limited to February 14th. It can happen any time. Even the day after.
  6. Being in a quiet restaurant, alone with just your sweetie is infinitely more romantic than a noisy, crowded one.
  7. Hipsters can’t roll their eyes and complain about the commercialism of February 15th.
  8. You won’t have to mortgage your house to get a bouquet of flowers for your significant other.
  9. You can easily avoid the drama that seems to surround Valentine’s Day – one year, the table next to us was on the verge of divorce. It was awful. I can’t seem to forget it.
  10. There’s something wonderful about having your own traditions.

For me, celebrating on the 15th has one other advantage: it avoids the emotional baggage of crappy Valentine’s Days of years past. The boyfriends who put forth zero effort after I spent hours making them presents? The kid who ignored me, slow song after slow song, year after year, at the Valentine’s Day dance? They vanish. They are ghosts of yesterday. Today? Today is the 15th. It’s time for romance.

I’d better get waxing.

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