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so, it's valentine's day


aro_elise
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it's my third v-day as an aro--like, having realized it.  it's also kind of the second anniversary of the end of my first and last relationship.  on the 13th, my then-bf asked me over text whether i'd be comfortable getting together the next day (i'd come out to him a couple months prior) and i decided that i wouldn't.  he asked what i was getting out of the relationship and i admitted not much, but if you guys have been in my position, you surely know how it is--you're confused, maybe trying to make it work when it just doesn't, maybe hesitant to make any decisions when there doesn't seem to be a particular reason to break up...anyway, we had a conversation and basically decided to end it but to talk in person the next day, which we did.  it was full of civility and empathy on both our parts, but i went through...quite a time, emotionally, those couple days especially.  so that's how my first v-day as an aro went.  i'm in a very different place now.  i wore my aro pride t-shirt (flag colours in a heart)--probably no one recognized it, but it doesn't matter--and bought champagne for myself and my roommate (also single).  wore valentine-y lingerie and pajamas, again, just for myself.  it's been a pretty normal day and i'm going to bed early.  and i'm happy.  i just wanted to share, and to ask you guys how many v-days it's been for you, whether you have any particularly memorable ones, and how this one's been.  enjoy your discounted chocolates (tomorrow), non-romantic love, or whatever else you like.

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well it is already the afternoon of the 15th for me (Yay! timezones!). I spent both yesterday and today the same way, playing with my neighbour's new puppy. 8 weeks and 3 days old tiny ball of fluff. Best Valentines ever. 

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It's the early morning of the 15th for me! 

 

I didn't do anything special this Valentine's day; we had a math exam and it went pretty well though I feel like it could have gone better, and I spent the rest of my day like I normally would.

It was my second Valentine's day as an aro, but I don't even remember what last year was like so this feels like my first haha.

 

This v-day gave me the opportunity to awkwardly and kind of accidentally come out to one of my friends too, which was the best part of yesteday for me.

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I've never cared much about Valentine's Day, myself.  Tonight, I held my usual monthly polyamory discussion group, which is the second Wednesday of every month, so this month it happened to fall on Valentine's Day.  There was pretty low turnout, which I expected, but we ended up having a good discussion.  The last person I dated was polyamorous, so she spent Valentine's Day with her cohabiting boyfriend instead of me, which was fine with me.  The person I dated before that was very opposed to Valentine's Day on feminist principles, so we didn't celebrate it.  It's been a very long time since I've actually celebrated Valentine's Day.

 

But I do have a good (long) story about it.  During my freshman year in college (a very long time ago), I noticed a lot of Valentine's Day events being planned all around campus, and I also noticed people complaining about how prolific and obnoxious those events were.  My dorm had a bunch of classrooms on the first floor, and we were encouraged to book them for events when they weren't being used for classes.  So I decided to hold a kind of anti-Valentine's Day event, without explicitly calling it that.  I called it Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day, and I put up fliers around my dorm for it.  The plan was to watch all three Mad Max movies (this was long before Fury Road came out) and try to have an enjoyable experience that was as opposite from romantic stereotypes as possible.  I booked the biggest, nicest room in my dorm, the main parlor, managing to snag it before the people in my dorm who were planning their own Valentine's Day event.  I did this mainly because it had the best TV and most comfortable couches, and this was going to be a movie marathon, after all.

 

Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day was a huge success.  Nearly a third of the people in my dorm attended, far more than attended the actual Valentine's Day celebration.  I got a lot of feedback the following week that it was really enjoyable, from allos who were bitter about being single, and from people who think Valentine's Day is a shit holiday and hate it, and from people who would just rather watch awesome action movies than make pink heart crafts.  Since I got so much good feedback, and non-freshmen were required to organize at least one social event each semester, I repeated Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day during my sophomore year.  I didn't do anything different, and I managed to book the parlor again.  I even used the same flier design from the previous year, and we watched the Mad Max trilogy again.  Even more people came for the second year (some of them new freshmen), and again I got a ton of feedback about how enjoyable it was.  The people running the Valentine's Day event stewed and gave me dirty looks for the next couple weeks.

 

The following year, my junior year, in January, people began to talk about Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day.  Dozens of people were really excited about it coming up again.  I'd pass people in the halls or on the streets on campus in late January and they'd tell me how much they were looking forward to it.  So, without really thinking anything of it, I went ahead and scheduled it again for that year.

 

Only there was a problem.  I had a girlfriend that year.  It was my junior year and her sophomore year, so she knew about the event, but she had not attended it the previous year.  She had attended the Valentine's Day event in our dorm.  When she saw the fliers that year for Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day on February 14th, she was livid.  She came to my room and demanded that I spend Valentine's Day with her instead.  Back then nobody used the word "aromantic" and, like a lot of aros, I didn't know there was anyone else in the world like me, so I thought it was my duty to be a good partner and acquiesce to her demand.  So I started taking down my fliers and telling people that Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day was cancelled.  I was bummed out about it, but I liked her and I wanted to try to succeed at this "romance" thing people were always going on about, even though I still hadn't figured out what was so great about it.

 

The next day I woke up to a knock on my door.  It was my girlfriend, and she looked like she was about ready to strangle me.  She said, "I have been dealing with this all morning" in a tone that indicated both that she was furious with me and that she assumed I knew what she was talking about.  "What?" I said, groggily (in those days I slept until 11 pretty regularly).  "You didn't send them to me?" she said dubiously, putting her hands on her hips.  "Huh?  I just woke up," I said.  She took a deep breath and explained, "At least twenty people have come up to me this morning and begged me to let you hold your event instead of taking me out to dinner.  You didn't ask them to do that?"  "No, of course not.  People were disappointed I was cancelling it, but I encouraged them to do it without me if they wanted to," I explained.  She sighed and said "Okay, put your fliers back up.  Take me out to dinner a different night."

 

So Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day happened for a third year, and it had the biggest attendance yet.  Half the dorm showed up.  My girlfriend helped set up the Valentine's Day event in the basement, and she said less than 10 people came to it.  She even dropped by Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day for an hour, and when she left, I heard her mumbling something like "I guess your stupid event is kind of cool."  I had booked a reservation at the most romantic restaurant in town for the next night (they literally had an article from the local newspaper hanging in their window with the title "Bianca's voted most romantic restaurant a third year in a row").  During dinner she said, "I saw how much people love your event.  I'm sorry I made you cancel it, even if they're cold-hearted bastards."  She still had to express her bitterness that my event was way more popular than the actual Valentine's Day event, even in her apology, but she acknowledged that I had tried to accommodate her and thanked me for that.  She even admitted that going out to dinner on the 15th worked out better, anyway, because the restaurant was half-empty and the staff were a lot more relaxed.

 

That was my last year in that dorm, but Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day was a tradition by that point.  The residents asked me to come back the next year and hold it again, even though I didn't live there any more.  I was living with my girlfriend by then, and she rolled her eyes and grumbled, but encouraged me to go do it, and we had Valentine's dinner the following night.  After the fourth year, I didn't host Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day any more, but I heard that the residents of that dorm kept up the tradition for at least a few years after my departure.

 

My girlfriend and I split up on good terms after she graduated, and we stayed friends for a while.  I even attended her wedding a few years later.  We don't talk any more, but last I heard, she's still happily married, thankfully, to someone who isn't me.

 

Ever since Fury Road came out, there have been Mad Max Valentine's memes, which delight me to no end.  I'm sure they aren't connected with my original event at all, and are just inspired by the awesomeness of that movie in particular, but I'm so glad that other people came up with a similar idea and turned it into something people can share.  I suspect my original event has been largely forgotten, but I'm glad other people still share the sentiment that admiring Mad Max is the most appropriate way to not participate in Valentine's Day.

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