The 5 Types Of People You’ll See This Valentine’s Day

It’s that special time of year again.

It’s snowing (in most places, including here in Charlotte) and people everywhere are rushing all around to make their arrangements for Valentine’s Day. Arrangements should be used liberally here because these days, we’re not just talking about flower arrangements. People celebrate (or protest) in very different ways.

1. The Happy Couple: I’m admittedly glad to be a part of this category this year. These two people are very happy about their relationship today. Critics of this couple will suggest that they aren’t as loving or devoted the other 364 days of the year and others will refer to them as nauseating. Oh well. They’re happy and you’re stalking them on Facebook so who is winning?

Prepare yourselves to see pictures of flowers and jewelry or (in my own particular case) his and hers burritos. 

2. The Outrageously Bitter One: This lady or gent will say something about how this holiday is a conspiracy to raise money for Hallmark and candy companies. In fact, Valentine’s Day actually originated in ancient Rome whereas Hallmark didn’t originate until the year 1910. So try again.

They’ll also say things about how they hate how mushy you are. Oftentimes this is really transparent. I’m not saying that everyone needs to be in a relationship. I advocate for the opposite pretty frequently (because I feel that a lot of people are in relationships for the sake of being with someone…but I digress). However, these comments are very often made out of jealousy. Valentine’s Day is meant to celebrate love. Even if you aren’t in a romantic relationship, I’m pretty sure you love somebody. If you say no to that, you’re a jackass because first and foremost you should love yourself. Go get yourself some candy and give yourself a hug. THAT is awesome too.

3. The Wino: This person has a Valentine and that Valentine is alcohol.

4. The Single Dude: Cue Barney Stinson of one of my favorite television shows, How I Met Your Mother. He refers to February 13th as “Desperation Day”. It’s a thing. On this day, he meets a girl saddened by her lack of prospects and inevitably she sleeps with him. In that particular episode of the show, he meets a lady who peaks his interest but does NOT sleep with him. They end up dating. Blah blah blah. I only bring it up because Stinson-like men do seem to love this holiday or at least the day that precedes it.

Other single dudes will gush about the money they’re saving by being single on Valentine’s Day. And then they spend that money on wings and Budweiser. Score. You will be very happy together.

5. My Mom: My mom does holidays and she does them well. Valentine’s Day is no exception. She doesn’t JUST lavish attention on my dad after 33 years of marriage but she also goes out of her way to make all four of her kids and her two grand-daughters feel loved on this day each year. The really awesome thing about the way my mom celebrates is that my dad is a CPA and Valentine’s falls during tax season. He can’t necessarily wine and dine her since he’s so busy. What does my mom do? Throughout my childhood, she held an event that she dubbed as “Chocolate Fest” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Whoever was around hung out with my mom and ate chocolate for dinner. There was no shortage of love and no shortage of chocolate (except the Reese’s cups…I hoarded those).

I realize that you like it. You don’t really have to put a ring on it.

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for one year, seven months and 14 days. That’s a long enough period of time for us to have fallen in love, relocated to Charlotte, N.C. from Massachusetts, adopted  two dogs and thus, leave our families and friends wondering when we’ll be getting married.

I’m not going to lie. I think about it all the time. There have been conversations between the two of us. We both know that we’re in the relationship we want to be in for the long haul. We want to hang out together every day until we’re old prunes. We’ll replace sharing beers for sharing Poligrip and someday we’ll even be that cute pair of old people moving at a snail’s pace through your local grocery store. He knows it, I know it and frankly, I am pumped.

But just knowing what you want isn’t quite the same as engagement. Why? Because there’s no ring.

I’ve had numerous conversations about engagement in the past six months. I hadn’t really ever thought about getting married to anyone so I’d never contemplated engagement or rings before. Apparently there are rituals and standards that go with both in our society. I’m comfortable with some of these and some of them are just really stupid.

I’m totally down with a wedding and wedding rings because that seems like a really nice party to celebrate our relationship. I’m not a maniac. I love parties. The white dress and ceremony might have some creepiness tied in, but assuming nobody refers to me as property at any point throughout the transaction, I’ll be fine. Though I was hesitant at first, I’ll change my last name. I love my boyfriend’s family very much and am proud to join their ranks. Wedding rings are kind of like best friend for life bracelets for adults. That too, I can get on board with.

An engagement, to me, is like calling dibs. Again, that’s okay. We’re saying “Yeah, you. I like you. I’m with you from now on.” Kind of the same as marriage vows, but it’s just confirming that everyone is on the same page.

What I can’t deal with, however, is that it’s somehow “necessary” for there to be a diamond. Some people really love fancy jewelry and that’s cool. That’s their thing. I’m not into them. Not at all. The look has never really captured my special attention and I’m really not interested in helping to finance conflict in Africa. I do like my boyfriend though. In fact, I love him. So why should there have to be $1,000-plus laying around for us to be able to be engaged? That’s ridiculous.

As someone who isn’t into that stuff at all, an engagement ring would be given just to conform to tradition. So then the ring isn’t really for me. It’s for everyone else. That’s more than ridiculous. It’s infuriating!

I personally don’t feel like I (or anyone else who feels like I do) should have to wait to be purchased a ring that they don’t really want so  that society as a whole will acknowledge their engagement. And when they acknowledge that engagement by grabbing at my left hand and staring at it, they’ll really be silently judging it based on how big it is and the cut and all of that other stuff I really don’t care about. Some would say the stone size is some kind of reflection of his ability to provide for me, etc etc. To those people I say: Oh my god. Shut up. He’s doing very well and doesn’t need to buy me anything to prove it to you. Furthermore, it is 2014. I can get a job and make my own damned money and I’ll be able to pick up checks at our anniversary dinners for years to come. I’m more proud of that and of him than I ever could be of a stupid ring.

I’ve had a lot of friends get engaged and get married and I am really genuinely SO delighted for them. I am not trying to say that they’re any less awesome or in love because they did things more traditionally. I’m merely saying that I don’t want to and I really shouldn’t have to.

I mean…who needs to rush off to buy precious gems when I’ve already got the most precious thing there is, the most vital part of this whole commitment thing? We’re in love.

10 Things We Pretend We Like

Once upon a time, I used to be into MMA. It is not a coincidence at all that once upon a time I was way smitten with a person who loved MMA. His diet consisted overwhelmingly of protein and he most closely resembled Donkey Kong.

During that time, the other television programming I watched most frequently was “So You Think You Can Dance?” It should be mentioned here that my older sister is a dance teacher and the best day of my childhood consisted of skipping ballet and going to Dairy Queen with my dad so…

We all do these things. We feign interest or enthusiasm to relate to people that we care about or people we want to impress or just other people in general. In no particular order here are things that I have pretended to like and I suspect that others are pretending to like as well…

Spoiler: If you’re reading this post looking for something to disagree with, well then…have fun.

1- Salad: If I had a nickel for every delicious salad I’ve ever encountered, I would have a dime. And for those of you thinking of a caesar salad: Just stop. Caesar is neither a good judge of character nor is Caesar really a salad. Et tu, Brute? Is that an insulin needle in my back? It’s mostly fat with a side of lettuce.

It’s so rare and also so sad to hear somebody feign excitement over a salad. A salad, to me, is like a pap smear. You don’t look forward to it. It’s healthy and you’ve got to do it and it just happens to you maybe like once a year.

2- Peace: I don’t mean to say that we’re all secretly in love with violence. That’s a different debate altogether. I just mean that people thrive on drama. People love conflict. We crave it. We’re American. Have you watched the news here? Everything all day every day is drama. And that’s THE NEWS!

Why do you think nice guys finish last? Because girls get bored if there isn’t enough drama. Why do you think scummy men date more than one woman? They can’t get enough drama! Why do you think Kim Kardashian has a job?

Yes. The answer is drama.

3- New Years Eve: You are as high as the ball at 11:59 PM if you think that I think that you aren’t scared to death of December 31st. This night is the ultimate test of exactly how cool you are.  Nothing puts more of a damper on a good time than being pressured into having a good time. While many holidays are guilty of this (4th of July and Halloween in particular), there is no holiday more guilty than New Year’s Eve.

If there aren’t any juicy or glamorous stories and Facebook pictures to back them up, people tend to assume that you were just alone with your Chinese food sobbing out the words (or similar noises as the words) to “Auld Lang Syne.” That’s why I went out New Years 2012 in spite of my tonsillitis, laryngitis and the pleading of my mother. And it was the best night ever (it was not the best night ever).

4- The 1st Amendment: We only like the 1st Amendment when it’s on our side. Conservatives on Fox News hate those “damned Marxists” over at CBS and CBS hates them back. We love our soap boxes but we want so much to kick them out from underneath those that we are opposed to. You’re kidding yourself and everyone who reads your silly tweets if you’ve never (at least) silently wished you could shut someone up in a permanent fashion. You may even want to shut me up. But you can’t! AH HA HA HA HA!

5- Do It Yourself Projects: This one. Oh boy. With the Pinterest and the “blah blah from scratch” and the one-upping that they inspire. There are 24 hours in a day. Roughly 8 of those hours should be spent sleeping, around an additional 8 are spent working. That’s ⅔ of your day that’s spoken for. And you’re spending the remainder of that time making your own cleaning products and then blogging about it? When do you eat? When do you interact with your loved ones? When do you catch up on all of the crime dramas on NBC?

6- IPAs: Anytime you live anywhere that there is more than one great local brewery, you will probably have a person within close proximity who is a beer snob. It might be a friend, a relative or a significant other. You might just get one of each. At least one of these people will be really into IPAs and when you sip their recommended brew and cringe, they will make a condescending remark. For example: “Oh it takes a really seasoned palate.”

You want bitter? Go have some unsweetened chocolate. Oh. Unsweetened chocolate is gross? Exactly. I’d much prefer a Hefeweizen any day of the week.

7- Art Museums: If we’re all in agreement that the arts are dying in our schools then isn’t a person in an art museum like a toddler holding a paperback copy of a James Joyce novel? It’s just a lot of staring and nodding. Finnegan’s Wake can only be read by schizophrenics and art museums are only frequented by those of us who are trying to impress undergrad art majors on dates. It’s okay. You’re not really enjoying yourself. You’re sweating straight through every layer of your ironic t-shirts while you try to conjure thoughtful comments. You’re doing great though. I’m somewhere on the other side of the room telling someone that I saw this same painting at Ikea once.

8- Professional Sports: I find the expression “Pink Hat” to be outrageously sexist because both men and women do this but this variety of people are a real people.

Case in point: I hail from the beautiful state of Massachusetts. We are proud and wicked into BEING FROM MASSACHUSETTS. The Boston Bruins (and hockey in general) were ignored for years up until June 2011 when we won our first Stanley Cup in 39 years. A few more people watched the beginning of the 2012 season but don’t you know everyone came back- with gusto- to watch the playoffs as though they’d been there all along. And a visit home (and trip to a Massachusetts bar) coincided with the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. I’ve never seen so many loud people, so few of whom knew what they were talking about. And I love my home state with all my heart but that doesn’t make this any less true. We didn’t love hockey until it became cool.

This is true of people everywhere and is true of “followers” of all sports across the country.

9- Pictures of other people’s pets and children: While it’s kind to present others with an opportunity to shamelessly brag about cuteness within their own lives, you usually don’t care do you? It’s an opportunity for small talk and self-esteem building about the great mash up of your genetics or how great you are at selecting dog breeds and then photographing your pets. Do my own nieces and puppy have their own hashtags on my instagram account? Well, of course they do. Because they’re the cutest things that have ever lived. But you don’t care. You’re faking it to bring me joy and I thank you for that.

10- Yoga: Because who doesn’t love the downward dog position with someone else’s spandexed posterior so close to their face? Okay. Breathing out of your nose when you have a big beautiful mouth so close by? Riiight. Those of us with deviated septums: Can I get an amen? I’ve been fighting a losing battle with learning to love yoga for several years now and even in my best classes, I still find things that drive me nuts about it.

I’ve encountered a lot of people who try to compete with you in class. What? I’m meditating or whatever, you ass. Stop this. Stop it right now. And bending here and there, there’s always at least one gassy yogi in the room. Let that stew for a 60 minute class period? No thank you.

And you have to be quiet and tranquil in yoga. To me, that is just so many things that exercising people are not. Between panting and ipods and thumping of feet and grunting, it’s an entire orchestra of fatigue. And what about our precious sweat? Namaste? Namasticking around to deal with that.

Rae starts over

Salutations to all!

The four or five of you who were so kind as to click on the link that lead to this blog back in June, who are now (by default) my fans, may have been wondering: “What is UP with Rae not posting anything on her blog? She said she has thoughts but then she didn’t post any of those thoughts since June. I really want to know Rae’s thoughts.” Well I have good news for those four or five of you that may have been concerned: I’m back. And I’ve been thinking too.

Most recently I’ve been thinking that the first few things I posted on here were terrible and since I run this blog, I was able to file them straight into a trash can #perks #additionbysubtraction #nohashtags.

Now that I’ve returned and done a few clicks worth of house cleaning, let’s see if we can get messy once more.