Monday, February 16, 2009

The Obligatory Valentine's Day Post

So I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. I made this decision, ironically, earlier in the year that LB and I had started dating. I say this is ironic because LB loved Valentine's Day, and it was the first time he had a girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

But I have moral qualms (I have qualms with quite a few things, actually; I am qualmy):
  1. V-Day is very much a Hallmark Holiday, in my opinion. I mean, it really doesn't have much to do with the historical V-Day (more on that later), so basically it's a day to show someone you love them because the dominant paradigm says you must. I don't want that for myself or my relationship; I want to show my love, and I want my lover's love shown to me, every day. That doesn't mean we can't do something extra special for one another now and then, but I don't want it to be because of social pressure. I want no pressure involved; I want it to come directly from the heart.
  2. I don't need flowers and chocolates and jewelry to signify love (nor does LB need champagne and steak dinner and lingerie). All I want is for someone to treat me right, and treat me well, 364.25 days of the year. Too often is V-Day used as an excuse to give meaningless crap to someone to make up for less-than-stellar performance as a partner and lover the rest of the year. I really hate the commodification of love and sex that has gone on around V-Day; it cheapens them both. I'd like mine unadulterated by consumerism, if at all possible.
  3. V-Day is very exclusionary and has gotten to the point of, "If you don't have SOMEone to celebrate with you're worthless so stay home and sulk and eat ice cream." I think that's such bullshit, and I don't want my celebrations to make someone else feel like crap because they can't participate in the socially required chocoflowershininess that is V-Day.
  4. Valentine's day originated from the Catholic Feast of Saint Valentine. We have feasts to honor various saints throughout the year. The two Saint Valentines who were martyred really had nothing to do with romantic love (although one Saint Valentine was rumored to have been martyred for performing Christian marriages in Rome). I don't think the orgy of heteronormative consumerism that happens every February 14th is very respectful of this feast day; the meaning of honoring a saint has become completely and utterly divorced from this holiday, even more so than for the feasts of Christmas, Easter, and All Saint's (Halloween) have. At least they retain some of their original focus. V-Day does not.
When I explained all this to LB early in our relationship so he didn't feel the need to do anything for V-Day, at first he was disappointed but then he decided to do "Random I Love You" days every now and then; I do them too because I thought it was a great idea. Randomly, throughout the year, because we love one another, we'll each surprise the other with a special date, or some sort of token of affection (one that actually means something and not generic like chocolates), etc etc.

That given, I have a big BUUUUUT....LB and I DID go on a date this year for V-Day. We try to go on nice dates every couple of months, and this year we got a mailer for one of our favorite restaurants; they were doing a special, fixed-price menu for Valentine's Day. We weren't going to do it, because we don't celebrate V-Day. Then we saw the menu. Check this shit out:

Mussels with Sherry and Saffron -or-
Trio of Bruschetta: Pate with braised leek; Brie with fig preserves and balsamic vinegar; White bean with arugula and peccorino cheese

Soup or Salad
Baked French Onion Soup -or- Torpedo Endive Salad with Roquefort and Walnuts

Beef Tenderloin "au poivre". Cracked Pepper and Cognac Cream with Lyonnaise Potatoes and Broccolini -or-
Veal Tenderloin Oscar.Lump Crab, Asparagus, and Béarnaise, with Fingerlings, -or-
Rabbit Tenderloin. Spatzel and Tomato -or-
Heritage Tomato filled with Vegetable Risotto

Three Tarts: Lemon Curd, Mocha French Silk, and Berry Custard -or-
Crème Brule with Berries
When we saw that, we decided we had to go, moral qualms be damned (damn good food will beat out moral qualms any day in our book). For the appetizers, LB had the mussels and I had the bruschetta. The pate was excellent; usually I don't like pate but it was well spiced, and didn't taste too livery. The brie with fig was also excellent. We both had the french onion soup which was fabulous. For the entree, I had the beef au poivre and LB had the rabbit. We both prefered mine; the beef was perfectly done, and the combination of buttery sauce with the potatoes lyonnaise (which had BACON in them omg) made for the most mouth-wattering bite of food I have had in years. His rabbit was good to, it just couldn't hold a candle to the beef au poivre. The spatzle on his dish was, however, to die for. For the dessert we got one of each and shared; dessert was pretty good but nothing to write home about. Overall, we were glad we went, and even toasted the evening, but adding the qualifier "we're still not celebrating Valentine's Day" at the end of our toast.

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