My Valentine’s Day generally goes like this: My mother texts me in the morning and asks me if I remembered that it is Valentine’s Day (I have not). Then she asks if I have gotten my husband a gift (clearly not). Groaning ensues, last-minute research is conducted, and then a nice bottle of booze, a restaurant gift certificate, or handmade object is surreptitiously purchased and subsequently gifted. My husband doesn’t always love whatever the thing is, and neither of us is particularly into this holiday, but we agree it’s important to make some kind of effort.
My husband typically makes me a card for Valentine’s Day with his own horribly drawn yet charming cartoons, both inappropriate and funny, occasionally accompanied by flowers, handmade jewelry, sometimes chocolate, and most often, nothing else, which is fine with me. We have a child in elementary school, so we make sure he is equipped with a Valentine for every child in his class, complete with an individually wrapped sugary item. We’re not great at this, but we aren’t the worst either. We do not love this holiday, but we do what we have to and we get it done.
For anyone who is single or in a relationship that is less clearly defined, Valentine’s Day is a minefield and can be a tragedy. Even during a normal year, this holiday can reinforce a feeling of being alone and unappreciated. Even if your ex was a horrible mess and you’re thankful to be rid of them, on this one day you kinda miss them, or at least the bouquet of flowers or sex you imagine they’d supply.
Valentine’s Day is a conundrum. It is simultaneously an opportunity to cherish the people you love and a wretched exercise in guilt, suffering, and self-pity. This year, however, we have a chance to do this right. Rather than idealizing other people’s showy Valentine’s Day Instagram experiences and feeling skeptical and sad, we can be proactive and own this holiday. This year, Covid-19 has made sure that nobody is going anywhere anyway, so it’s an opportunity to engage in radical self-care, to show love to the people we appreciate, and to support small businesses in our city.
No matter what your relationship status, the perfect homegrown gift is waiting for you and for anyone else that you choose to shower with adoration. This year, it’s relatively easy to buy a Valentine’s present that is decadent and lovely, but not necessarily expensive, and that supports Baltimore’s creative economy.
Give the romantic gift of Baltimore this year and make everyone, yourself included, happy!