I’ve never been into “traditional” dates. Movies and dinners are nice for those ‘got off work early, wanna meet up?’ moments, but I want a little something more for special occasions. Which isn’t to say that I expect something extravagant every Valentine’s Day and anniversary. What I want is something more significant, something meaningful. Something I’ll look back on and smile at, a moment of pure bliss in the humdrum course of everyday life.
Valentine’s Day 2016 was something like that for me, and I have to say, I’m more than a little surprised because it was all Derick’s idea. In the planning department, he’s very much a typical guy. “Bahala ka,” he answers, when I ask what he wants to do this weekend. “Kung saan mo gusto,” is his reply when I ask where to eat. I brought up Valentine’s Day fully expecting to plan everything on my own, so I was absolutely floored when he suggested going to Queerception, which would take place the night before Valentine’s Day.
Queerception, for those who don’t know, is a recent art initiative from Metro Manila Pride, a multi-media festival with pieces from eighteen visual artists, seven films, four musical performances, and five spoken word artists. It was also a fundraising event for Metro Manila Pride March 2016, which is happening this June, if I’m not mistaken. As it turned out, a friend of ours, AJ Franquez (click the link to check out her art, which is uh-may-zing) was chosen to display some pieces of hers, so when she’d mentioned it to him, he thought it would be a good idea for a Valentine’s Day date.
He was so right. I had so much fun. The LGBT+ cause is one that’s near and dear to my heart, since most of my best friends from high school fall somewhere on the queer spectrum. I absolutely loved that I was contributing to Manila Pride, while enjoying myself looking at all the art and listening to the music and the poetry readings. It was an art event, so naturally there was a bar selling beer and cocktails. There was also a booth selling merch, and another booth selling pastries and candies shaped like penises and vaginas. I bought a pin with the bi flag colors, five pretty postcards, and a pack of chocolate dicks.
We ran into a bunch of other friends who were there to support both AJ and Manila Pride in general, but I really didn’t mind sharing our Valentine’s Day date with them. I don’t really believe in ‘the more, the merrier’, but that day was an exception. There was queer-themed art, drinks, I was meeting new like-minded friends, and I was surrounded by people I love. I wasn’t gonna complain.
After the event, we retreated to Barcino for dinner and more drinks. We basically got white girl wasted on sangria and white wine, ordered enough plates of paella negra to feed an army, and went home drunk and bloated. Not an excellent combination, but I was happy. We’d spent the night together doing something that meant a lot to me, and although it wasn’t anything lavish like, oh, I don’t know, dinner at Blackbird, it was more than enough.
The morning of February 14, I woke up not expecting anything more, since I figured Derick had expended all his energy on our artsy-fartsy date last night. But after lunch, he came over with the most traditional Valentine’s Day gift ever – flowers and chocolate, and they were my favorites, too.
I won’t even pretend that I wasn’t touched, as cheesy and cliched as flowers and chocolate are, because I’m not the type of girl who insists that my boyfriend remember my favorite things. And that means he was paying attention every time I darted into a 7-11 to buy a pack of Reese’s White, every time I looked at a bouquet of calla lilies and smiled.
We spent the rest of the day marathoning Sleepy Hollow and Grimm. We ordered pizza, commiserated over the hangovers we both had earlier that morning (wine hangovers are the worst, take it from me, don’t do it), and had a lengthy discussion about the prevalence of law enforcement characters in supernatural-themed TV shows (case in point: Lieutenant Abbie Mills and Detective Nick Burkhardt). It was perfect.
If there’s one thing that being with Derick has taught me, it’s that it’s the little things that matter. Yes, grand gestures are lovely. But the things that truly determine your happiness are those that happen in between. Things like knowing how you take your morning coffee, what books you like to read, the perfume you prefer. Knowing to let you be when you’re angry because you like keeping quiet to sort out through your feelings before trying to fix whatever went wrong. Indulging your need to window shop. Buying this one brand of pen because it’s the only kind you’ll use and you’re all out. Expending a little effort to make you happy on Valentine’s Day.
One day I’ll look back at this blog entry and cringe at how cheesy it is, not to mention Valentine’s Day was over two weeks ago, but right now, while writing this, all I can think of is how lucky I am.