I know that you all have been hearing about it constantly, but allow me to be the next to say Happy V.D. Of course, I’m referring to Valentine’s Day not the other thing. However, feel free to walk around all day Saturday saying: “Hello. How’s your V.D?” and watch people’s faces.
But Valentine’s Day is a holiday unique unto itself. The anticipation of Valentine’s Day is very gender-specific, by which I mean Valentine’s Day for men is very different than it is for women. For men, Valentine’s Day is the day of a very important test; like the S.A.T.’s. And the Valentine’s Day test is unique; it’s a test with no standard questions, only answers and men are just expected to know them. A man’s score on this test will determine whether he gets into the Harvard of romance, or ends up flipping burgers at McThoughtless. And who administers this test? The women, of course. Screw up fellas, and you’ll find yourself on an endless, Groundhog Day loop of trouble.
But, never, and I mean never, is it the other way around. Not once has one of my guy friends ever come up to me, mopey and forlorn and said: “Valentine’s Day was horrible; Patrice didn’t even get me a card.”
For singles, Valentine’s Day is either empowering or depressing, and for some married couples, Valentine’s Day has an even greater meaning. And as one half of one such couple, I count myself among them. You see, for my wife and I, Valentine’s Day is our two-year anniversary (the “Cotton” anniversary). Two years ago, my then fiancée, Amy and I flew to Mexico as part of WKLH’s Fiesta of Love and were married in a chapel on the beach in Playa del Carmen.
The day was perfect. As per tradition, that morning, Amy and I woke up and went our separate ways. While my soon to be brother-in-law Matt and I went into downtown Cancun, Amy and her sister-in-law Erika prepared for the big event. Now, when we were planning the wedding with our planner Raphaela, Amy decided that she wanted to get her hair and make-up done, too. To hear my wife tell it, the women of Mexico have a very different approach to make-up than American women and, afterwards, she and Erika spent a full half hour stripping away the generously-applied mascara with their fingernails and removing the top seven layers of eyeliner and lipstick with a wet nap. After all, she was supposed to be a blushing bride, not a Batman villain.
She and Erika were then whisked away to the wedding site in the comfort of an Escalade. Meanwhile, I got into my suit, which immediately clung to my sweaty body like toilet paper. My transportation was a charter bus along with 40 of my closest friends whom I had never met before. If you tuned in, you know what happened next. If you didn’t, that’s okay because everything was in Spanish, so if you had tuned in you probably tuned right out again thinking you had the wrong station.
During the ceremony, Amy and I were frankly a little lost ourselves. In fact, one of our wedding photos is a priceless picture of Amy and I staring at the magistrate with the same look on our faces that said in no uncertain terms: “Huh?” I can tell you that the stress of getting married is doubled when you don’t know what else is happening. It got to the point where whenever there was a pause, Amy and I quickly said: “I do” just in case.
As it turns out, thanks to our broken to non-existent Spanish, not only did we get married, but we also joined the Mexican army and ordered a Chicken enchilada with beans and rice. And because we were married in Mexico, this is not only our two-year anniversary here in the United States, but, thanks to a generous exchange rate, in Peso Years, it is our tenth anniversary (the “Tin or Aluminum anniversary) in Mexico.