A Valentine’s Day Story

The message I got growing up about romantic love was if you want a man to love you be as Asian-woman-like as possible.  (At least the way Asian women are portrayed in the media…docile, submissive, flashing the occasional coy smile, suggestive of unfathomable mysteries).  If I have any advice for men, it’s this: if you meet a docile woman giving you coy creepy smiles, run for your life. She’s either some kind of con artist or a man.

The only way I’ve ever gotten a man to fall in love with me was by  being myself. Imagine that.  Unfortunately, this behavior – being-myself-ness – has also led to the relationship’s demise.  I didn’t always get that sometimes you have to act like the grown-up you wish you were…yes, it’s kind of fake, but, ultimately, leads to the building of more trust, respect and consideration than saying the first thing that pops into your head.

One Valentine’s Day year ago, my Then Boyfriend, a music attorney took me out to dinner in honor of this glorious holiday. Lawyer Boyfriend genuinely cared about me and was/is a good guy, but had what I’ll tactfully refer to as “issues” (as do I).

We got in a big fight on the drive over to the restaurant and he threatened to call the date off.  I remember thinking, “What cruel twist of fate would have me stay home on Valentine’s Day?! Oh, the horror! ” So, despite an explosion of Valentine red flags, I insisted we celebrate our relationship…damnit.

Once we arrived at the restaurant we discovered that our reservation was lost, so we had to wait till 9:00 PM to have dinnner.  I’m sure I ordered salmon because that’s all I knew how to order in my twenties.  Salmon and chardonnay.  (Today, I would rather drink Aunt Jemima syrup with dinner than Chardonnay).  A few hours later we ate dinner with the weight of a hundred ton stoney silence.  I received more love from the AAA guy who rescued me from my car failures on a weekly basis.

It was then that I looked around the restaurant and wondered if every other couple was having as equally a crappy night. And, if so, short of taking a survey, how would I know how many couples genuinely felt in love?  Surely, we looked like a happy loving couple, enjoying our stony silent meal.   And that’s when a big boulder of my youthful illusions and idealism crumbled like the Berlin wall.

Nobody know what’s really going on in any relationship.

My Valentine’s Day/Night was bullshit.

I came home that night a wiser, more mature woman.   We broke up six months later (I was extremely codependent).

Just for today, I can remember Valentine’s Days of yore.

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