Love Story

As many of you already know, my Van is a private person so I try not to put her and our life center stage in my blog.  But since Valentine’s Day is coming up–which I love as only a femme can; V-Day haters step away now!–I don’t think Van will mind me telling you a little of our own love story.   The truth is, she’s the best thing about my life hands down.  Even after 14 years, I’m a smitten kitten.

Van and I have often surprised each other in little or big ways on Valentine’s Day.  This tradition dates back to our very first V-Day together, when I told her that I couldn’t drive to her city as planned because of the epic snowstorm that was coming.  I was just too nervous to attempt that drive, I said.  Van was super disappointed, I could tell, but she was understanding and of course said she wanted me to be safe.

Then as soon as we got off the phone I hit the road.  You knew that was coming, right?!  Yes, I was crazy enough to drive through a raging BLIZZARD in my little Ford Escort with no anti-lock brakes. (I was a poor grad student then).  Seriously, I’ve never driven in worse conditions–snow, ice, terrible visibility, and wind so severe it blew my car all over the road.  It was positively harrowing.  But somehow I made it to Van’s apt in one piece.

I let myself in and immediately got to work cooking dinner, baking a heart-shaped chocolate cake, decorating the apt, and of course making myself gorgeous. There was a lot to do, but I knew I had enough time because Van would be working late. For a finishing touch, I took a bag of those Necco candy conversation hearts and made a trail from the elevator to the front door of her apt.  (Yes I know it’s cheesy and tacky–that’s the point!)

My little plan worked perfectly.  Van got off the elevator, sad about spending Valentine’s Day without me.  She was grumbling about the V-Day revelers who left all those candy hearts on the floor until she realized that the trail led to her door!  I still remember the look on her face when she opened the door to find me there.  Happy is an understatement.  What did my ensemble look like, you ask?  Mamie Van Doren with a dash of Susie Bright. (It was the 90s, after all.)

Now it’s your turn.  What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for Valentine’s Day or the most romantic thing someone has done for you?  (For the record, I’m defining “romantic” broadly; I certainly don’t think it has to follow traditional ideas of what constitutes romance or romantic love.)

11 Responses

  1. Wow… I feel so lame now… I have never done anything this romantic for my boyfriend. I have to confess that I am one of the Val haters you subtly chased away. The whole thing seems contrived to me but your story might just be the one to melt my heart… 🙂

    Thanks for the threadbare link by the way… Very interesting… I guess I sort of went to hard on the “fake” , but I maintain that being dependent on it, particularly at the expense of the “natural” is a problem, though not necessarily for black people only.

    Hi thanks for your comment. For a V-Day hater you seem like a very nice girl 😉

    Glad you like threadbared. I love what they’re doing. I certainly respect your position on weaves, relaxers, etc. I think you make some great points. I even bookmarked your post!

    Could we talk about the word “lame” sometime? In my opinion, using it in a derogatory way is not very welcoming for people with disabilities. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention. xo SF

  2. SF’s memorable V-Day story sparked a similar tale that featured feminine “cunning.” In my book, there is nothing more alluring than a femme who goes ALL OUT to please her butch. I think there must be something in the femme DNA. How else to explain such stealth?

    This story didn’t take place on Valentine’s Day, but it might as well have.

    My girlfriend called me from the road, apologetic that she couldn’t spend another night with me. Of course, I was bummed. But I understood. She had to get home. That night, when I stepped into to my empty apartment, I found a note saying how much she missed me. I must have read the thing fourteen times before I opened the bedroom door and found my girl posed on the bed with a knowing look on her lips.

    Suffice it to say, it was one damn thrilling moment.
    We’re no longer together, but you can bet that I’ll never forget it.

    Welcome, SIR. I love your story. Thanks so much for sharing it! xo SF

  3. In my neck of the woods the day is about kids making homemade cards with “I love Mommy” or “I love Daddy” and so on. It’s a nice holiday from that perspective but hasn’t held a romantic connotation for me. I love your story though.

  4. y’all make me smile. so stealthy!

    i’ve had very little valentine’s day experience. for the four v-day’s me and jake were together, we only managed to be in the same city for one of them. so, bah humbug. we went out to a nice dinner, which was all the more a treat at the time, but nothing super-special. jamie had to work last valentine’s (but i did make her a nice fancyish dinner), and will have to work this one too. so, i’m not a huge fan. which works out fine, because i don’t deal well with having high expectations =)

    that said, i really mostly think of my dad on valentine’s – he always went all out. he’s not a particularly effusive person, but that’s their anniversary, and i think he always got a big kick out of making a big show of it. my favorite was the year he wrapped up mom’s car with pink paper and filled it with balloons – while it was parked at her work. he also got me some little stuffed animal and those queen anne cherries every year – including while i was at college.

    so, my romantic dealings with valentine’s are not so hot, but i’m kind of a daddy’s little girl and it gives me warm fuzzies.

    My dear Lady B, I know I always say this but I can’t help myself: I love your dad. The wrapped car art? Genius! xo SF

  5. Well, V and I don’t really celebrate Valentines Day; last year we decided to volunteer for an organization called Right Rides that offers women and LGBTQI folks free, safe rides home on the weekend. (We figured of all days people might need it, this holiday’s a pretty big one.)

    Now, there are several reasons that we don’t celebrate, but the one I’m tying into this comment is that Valentines falls in rather close proximity to her birthday.

    So this year, I blocked off 4 days on her calendar and scheduled a whole weekend for her as a surprise. She was a little disappointed when I first told her, because she’d wanted to see her friends, but I assured her it would be worthwhile.

    We began with lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and then I gave her the first of 4 homemade cards, which invited her back to my house for a home spa day. I sat her in the kitchen in her robe and pulled up her favorite TV show on HULU. Then I put her feet in a warm sea salt/olive oil bath to soak, and applied an avacado face mask for her.

    While she watched the show, I took old brown sugar and spread it on two halves of a grapefruit to act as an exfoliant, and I scrubbed and massaged her feet and legs.

    For her hair, I made an aloe/avacado deep conditioner, which was both fun to slather onto her head, and kind of hilarious. I also provided coffee and a bottle of wine. (With another handmade card.)

    The next day was breakfast in bed and an 8 hour block of nothingness scheduled so she could run any errands she might have, or just relax. That night I brought her to a bar where all our friends were waiting to surprise her and buy her drinks. Much revelry and a few burritos later, we headed home for the night.

    On the third morning she received an envelope with directions to a restaurant where a different group of friends treated her to brunch. Afterwards, she met up with me, and I took her up to see one of her best friends for dinner.

    To top the weekend off, her roommate and I took her to brunch at one of her favorite restaurants in the city and ordered all her favorite foods.

    I also created drink tickets and groceries gift cards to help her plan meals with the friends I wasn’t able to schedule time with.

    Hi Natt, First, I’ve missed you! Second,*wow*. You know how to sweep a girl off her feet! The thing that really impresses me is your planning and attention to detail. For me, the presents that mean the most are the ones that are really, truly thoughtful like yours. I might need to borrow some of these ideas since Van has a b’day coming up! So I have to ask: what would be the butch version of home spa day? Yes I know some butches would be into a spa day but Van isn’t one of them. Any ideas? xo SF

  6. oh I’m SO GLAD I’m not the only one who loves Valentine’s Day!!!! SO MANY PEOPLE (who I secretly think are lying) claim to dislike the holiday. It’s like it’s not cool to get all excited about it.

    My girl isn’t as into it as I am — she doesn’t like feeling the pressure — but that’s fine anyway, because that’s really what our dynamic is: I’m the one who goes all out for things like that. I actually don’t have any amazing Valentine’s Day stories, because I’ve always either been in boring relationships or long-distance relationships, and last year mi’lady and I had only been dating a few months and I was still feeling cautious. This year, she’s supposed to be on a business trip (which might not happen), so I’m not planning anything for V Day. BUT! I am planning a surprise trip to Palm Springs for her birthday in March! I got free airline vouchers from United when they lost my bag, so I’m whisking her away for two nights. And she has noooooo idea. I’ll be planning more details too, as we get closer. I think I’m probably more excited than she’ll be!

    What a great b’day present! And of course I love the fact that you’re keeping it a surprise. Very impressive! But darling please don’t tell me that you aren’t celebrating Valentine’s Day? That wouldn’t be right! And you may tell mi’lady that pressure to find the perfect gift or have the perfect night is not the point. What really matters is celebrating your love with an open heart…. Yes, I really did say that *with no irony whatsoever.* I’m unapologetically romantic and hopelessly femme when it comes to Valentine’s Day! xo SF

    • oh we’ll be celebrating it! I’m just not planning any big surprise in case she has to be travelling. we’ve got lovely plans, assuming she gets to stay, which involve chocolate, strawberries, fizzy, rita hayworth, and a lovely dinner for two 🙂

      What a relief! 😉 This all sounds dreamy. And adding Rita Hayworth into the mix is a nice touch. With plans this charming, it’s *impossible* that mi’lady will be called away–or at least that’s what I’m hoping for your sake! xo SF

  7. I’m not a Valentine’s Day hater, but I do think it’s definitely an occasion that holds more meaning if you’re interested in/seeing/involved with someone special. I also never liked the idea that some people would buy flowers,chocolates or perfume to somehow make up for the rest of the year.

    That being said, the most romantic gestures I’ve received are the thoughtful ones: the book I’ve mentioned a couple of times, but never got around to buying or tickets to see a favorite musical artist. But I love the simple ones too, like handwritten notes or having one of my favorite meals cooked for me. I like to know that someone is good at paying attention, not at spending money.

    Agreed, G. Thanks for this. I know you’re a pedicure-loving butch (which I think is great), but do you have any other ideas re the question I posed to Natt above? xo SF

    • Warning: This comment got a lot longer than I planned it to be. Sorry!

      For me, the key to enjoying something is to experience it without it being something overtly feminine, for lack of a better phrase. I’ve been to spas before and had to get dressed (or undressed?) into a ridiculous-for-me short, thin robe, drink cucumber water, wear tiny slippers and snack on dainty little bites while I wait with other women, who are usually reading Cosmo, for my turn. I never felt comfortable like that.

      When I get pedicures, there’s no polish involved: just soaking, buffing and a massage. When I get my hair cut, my stylist washes, cuts, and then gives me a hot towel treatment – which is for the men at the salon. She uses a more masculine scented essential oil when doing my scalp and shoulder massage.

      Are there any parts of Van’s personal self-care routine that she pays particular attention to? Skin, hair, etc? Maybe start there, and come up with a less feminine approach. Use scents and textures that are her style (for me that means no to floral or delicate scents, yes to earthier, hardier ones). And if you’re doing a home spa day, her favorite drink or music would be nice touches, too.

      Feel free to email me too, if you want more specifics. I feel like I hijacked your comments …

  8. hmmm… butch equivalent of a spa day? can you cut hair? foot massages also go down well with my husbutch… as does the smell of anything cooking 😉

    Happy valentines!

  9. When I read a few of your stories I felt comforted in my tendency to pull these kind of stunts. The moment I started planning, my mother’s parisian lover called me up to orchestrate the selection & delivery of a very abundant amount of stargazer lilies (we’re in canada and his english is térrrrible). Then I had to phonetically dictate his poetic loveries to the Clerc. There were other silly complications but this only fueled my excitement to surprise my own love.

    My silver fox and I have been planning on rendez-vous-ing in the city 2 hours away from me as she has a fencing competition this weekend (we live 700km apart). A few days ago I started ho-humming about how the contract I was working on was dragging on and that I would be in production until mid-saturday (now) and not arrive until this evening. Lies! I arrived before she did last night and called her phone as the bus arrived at the hotel and lamented about the pile of work that was preventing me from being with her.

    I positioned myself in the large armchair, nose in a good fem. fashion theory book…in the lobby facing the door, wearing my ridiculously short blue satin dress and tailored smoking jacket… legs crossed.

    before she could wipe off the look of disbelief off her face, I pointed to my bulging pic nic basket full of delights and a fine 2005 pinot. I shouldn’t neglect to mention that the lobby was filled with young 20 something guys gawking as their fencing instructor fell head over heals over a woman not much older than them.

    I’ve spent the morning cutting out some 200 red hearts to litter the hotel room with and am off to scope out a charming bistro for ce soir.

    Joyeuse St-Valentin à tous!

    I’m impressed; this will certainly be a Valentine’s Day to remember! And somehow I forgot that your silver fox is a fencing instructor. How dashing! xo SF

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