Love lessons from contemporary romance heroes

This is cross-posted at  The Season.

I’ve celebrated one Valentine’s Day in my entire life. One.

It was in 2003, and my boyfriend (now husband) and I had been together for three months. He hated the idea of a manufactured day of love, and tried to explain that he didn’t think love was about exchanging flowers and chocolates once a year.

But I was so excited to finally have a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day that I insisted we celebrate it. What a mistake.

We were living in Prague, in the Czech Republic, and since my husband is English I decided to get him some nice loose-leaf tea and a teapot. He’d been teaching me how to make the perfect cup of tea and had often mentioned that loose leaf was far better than the bagged stuff we could afford.

Finding loose-leaf tea was no problem. There are dozens of tea shops in Prague. Finding masculine teapots, on the other hand…impossible. I spent weeks scouring every tea shop I could find, only to see hundreds of ceramics decorated with pink polka-dots or kittens. My husband is 6’3. At the time, he was playing rugby for a Czech team. I couldn’t picture him pouring tea from a kitty pot.

I showed up at my favorite café (a concession he had made for me, since he would’ve much rather been in a pub) and handed over the gifts I’d gotten him: two small bags of tea leaves with nothing to brew them in. I’ve never seen a man look so confused.

Then he gave me my gift, and my heart sank. It was awesome: a hardcover book of black-and-white photos of Prague, so I’d always remember the city we fell in love in.

Since that Valentine’s Day when I was so significantly out-classed by my husband, I’ve come around to his way of thinking. We celebrate dates and occasions that mean something to us as a couple and ignore Valentine’s Day.

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