After Drew’s rant last week about his distaste for Valentine’s Day, I realized that his dismissal of the day of love may make him seem like an unromantic, and may give the impression that my life is never full of unexpected gifts or random bouquets of flowers. And you’d be right. I can’t remember the last time I got an unexpected gift from Drew because frankly, I’m cheap and hate it when money is spent on things I don’t explicitly ask for. Drew just reminded me that he did buy me an exorbitantly priced candle recently, at which point I explained back to him that a Christmas gift opened on Christmas morning is not actually ‘unexpected.’
Given our general lack of romantic gestures, you can imagine that our history of celebrating Valentine’s Day is lacklustre. In fact, looking back on fifteen (what?!?!) Valentine’s Days as a couple, I remember just one.
In February 2001, we were studying at Kenyon College, a campus decisively in the middle of nowhere, where an exciting Valentine’s scene is least likely to be found. In a grand romantic gesture, Drew made us a reservation at the only nice restaurant nearby – the small restaurant located in the town’s only hotel.
Upon arrival we realized that the restaurant had done what we now know as a classic restaurant Valentine’s move – they prepared a special menu for a single night of the year, a set menu with wine pairing no less, where they splash champagne, serve chocolate-dipped strawberries and charge plenty for the pleasure. We did NOT know ahead of time what we were getting ourselves into with this meal and we were clearly beyond our depth. As we were handed glasses of champagne and ushered into the dining room, we both felt a mounting sense of dread and concern over our meagre credit card limits.
Imagine two twenty-year-old kids surrounded by a room full of real adults, heavy wood furniture, tapestry curtains to the floor, and dining tables filled with multiple sets of silverware and real glasses (no Solo cups to be seen). We were awkward and nervous, and made up for it by consuming copious amounts of champagne and wine, which we had no practice drinking. If it’s 2001 and you’re in Ohio, you know how to drink Natty Ice and Beast but that’s it. We vaguely remember a salad, some kind of raw tuna, a duck dish and the aforementioned strawberries. The rest is a hazy, alcohol filled blur.
A dose of reality hit at the end when presented with the bill (nearly $200, which I still believe was crazy…2001! Ohio! That’s a lot, even if the place did have a monopoly in town.). Drew actually had to call his bank from the front desk to authorize the charge because he had never ever made a charge like that before. We had stayed seated during the entire meal, due to our nerves, and our heads started spinning the moment we got up to leave. We stumbled together through the cold Midwest winter night to my apartment where we immediately passed out. Amateur night, indeed.