Who the hell was this Valentine guy? and "The Girls" -- hooray Sts. Cyril and Methodius!
Gods preserve me from being That Kind of Girl. Those social games are not the sort I like to play. I like flowers and shinies and chocolate as well as the next girl, but it's not an Immense Disappointment if my date of the moment does not express his or her affection in the way the marketing pressure deems most appropriate. It's not worth making a Scene over.
It is somewhat of a disappointment if someone chooses to express their affection in a way that goes contrary to The Way I Do Things, but that's the way the world works. Throwing tantrums over Not Getting My Way is immensely unattractive, and doesn't go well with maturity. I do like to think that I'm involved with someone who can pick up on my general preferences, but I don't expect anyone to ever read my mind and pick out the exact thing that I'd been wanting that I hadn't told them I'd wanted. (And, goodness, if you're someone who doesn't feel that you can pick up on my general preferences when dating me, by all means ask. I am far more likely to respond with "Let me whip up a flowchart" than I am to explode. Not being able to discern a partner's preferences is a distinct social handicap, but reasonable accommodation can be made if it's asked for -- don't expect me to automatically know that you can't tell what I like.) After one disastrous teenage Christmas where it seemed that I'd gotten nothing that I'd actually wanted, I stopped expecting my parents to read my mind and made lists. Things worked out much better after that.
I'd rather have something I will get some use out of than something I won't, so an "I Love You" mug would be better than a teddy bear. I'd rather have something with inherent artistic or entertainment value than something tacky but more seasonally appropriate, so a mug with a reproduction of a famous painting or one of the Wizardry mugs would be better than something designed to be sickeningly cute. (That's a plug, by the way, not a hint.)
In the chocolate department, tasty is better than cheap. For equal deliciousness of chocolate, inexpensive is better than expensive. I like milk chocolate, enjoy dark chocolate, look upon Very Dark Chocolate with equal apprehension and hyperactivity, and view white chocolate with sidelong suspicion except when it's in company with something that actually contains cocoa solids, and not just cocoa butter. Avoid anything containing walnut or banana, yay food sensitivities.
As far as shinies go, major debt is not attractive, me not being likely to break it on the first wearing is attractive, anything short of surgical steel and sterling silver makes me swell up, itch, and get nasty red bumps, and my sense of humor does not extend to unconventional items placed in ring boxes.
I left things pertaining to Valentine's Day to the very last minute, figuring that they would all work out in the end. Which they did. hcolleen and I had been planning to get together for sushi since forever, and she knew a place down in her end of town. She lives in Tempe. We had fun, though I was running late. Since I was at that end of town already, I stopped by Trader Joe's and Changing Hands, and came out with something that looked like it was a bulb flower (the other remaining options being too expensive, too red-rose-y, or too wilted), an expansion pack of magnetic poetry (Shakespearian), and an auxiliary "Oh Shit!" key to be pasted on a keyboard.
My careful plans of presentation were stymied by the fact that the solid door was open, leaving my arrival clearly visible through the security screen door. I decided against the pink cloak (overkill) and marched sheepishly up to the door, wanting nothing so much as to hide, and feeling very much like I'd regressed to high school. "Hi," I said to his mother, turning pink in the face.
A comedy of vases followed, with amusing conversation. Darkside's mother, at least, knows what yellow roses mean, and why they would have been the most appropriate. Darkside was cheerful and animated. I managed to point out the fact that Darkside was the single good choice in Sis's recent parade of boyfriends, and do so tactfully. Phrasings like "the best of a bunch of scum" just won't do; I wound up saying "a bunch of [somethings] with a single excellent outlier." Darkside's mom clearly agreed with me.
There was good-natured teasing about the overwhelming Valentiney theme of it all. "It could have been worse," I pointed out as I stepped out the door. "I could have been wearing that pink velvet cloak I borrowed from figment0."
Darkside started to say something, looked over his shoulder in his mother's direction and closed his mouth, and came outside with me. "And why does he have a pink velvet cloak for you to borrow?" he asked.
"It was his wife's," I said tersely.
Darkside made a noise of Getting It. "Though you never know, with some of your friends," he said in a tone that was meant to be somewhere between teasing and cautionary.
I saw pink. It was neither the time nor the place to get into any sort of in-depth discussion about anything, so I limited myself to an unamused, "Sometimes I am some of my friends," knowing full well that if I said anything more, it would lead to the sort of conversation with his mother that he would not want to have. And that was about the end of the conversation. I went off in a huff. It took me a few voicemails and a few miles to calm down sufficiently to admit that yeah, it was tactless, but it was also the sort of tactless that means that he was just raised so far out of the culture that he doesn't know how fearfully rude he was.
All was well, but -- as far as Official Valentine's Day Celebrations go, I think I'll have to retcon Sunday into being it -- a much better time was had by all.
After that I stopped by to see trystan_laryssa and dustraven. It was her birthday. We wound up doing laundry (and looking at flickering neon lights, where you could see the plasma arcing inside instead of just being excited) and doing dinner. That was good.