I was the only girl in the flower shop yesterday. The rest of the patrons were anxious-looking guys placing orders for "something red" or "you know, not too Valentinesy" at quarter to six while covertly glancing at their watches, visibly assessing travel time between the flower shop and whatever cozy, candlelit restaurant they'd selected, after much heavy dropping of hints, for a romantic evening.
Mitch and I are generally pretty low-key about Valentine's (we've been known to forget it altogether), but last night we splurged on dinner at Chiribin's and a fancypants bottle of wine, and I had the delightful experience of presenting him with a single orange Gerber daisy and making him blush furiously. Our only code has been "no pressure"--as in, some years he'll get me something and it'll be all the sweeter because it was unexpected, and sometimes I'll embarrass him publicly by bursting into "You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You" at the dinner table, or making him haul around a heart-shaped cellophane balloon that says something great like "Sweetcakes" on it in white script (haven't done that last one yet, but you can bet it'll happen), and sometimes we'll do nothing at all.
I like it this way, particularly because I'm not the one being serenaded by off-key Dean Martin songs. I feel that Valentine's loses a bit of its appeal (you know, the spontaneous expressions of love) when certain gifts are expected, or hinted at, or openly requested. I'd rather have a silly handdrawn card out of the blue than a dozen roses on the fourteenth. But of course that's just me.