Manila—I’ve had two dates on a Valentine’s Day. It may look like I’m one lucky girl for having experienced that, but no, I’m not fond of my memories of them. My dates were interesting guys though; one spoke many languages, the other was a multiracial artist-writer.
But the date places were what caused Valentine’s Day to look like the cliché that it is. There were heart-shaped red balloons, red tablecloths, red roses, red wine, chocolate boxes with red ribbons, teddy bears with red bows and “Fallen” playing in the background. I don’t remember if there was a song being played during my other date.
I was working in another country then. Like the rest of the world, its main city painted itself red on that day, so it was not difficult to join in the Valentine fun. What was not fun was the forced ambience of a loved-up day, and the discomfort it brought that required me and my date to interact while keeping our manners in check, up until the end of the date when we had to say politely to each other that we really had a great time.