Apparently the Chinese replace “Valentine’s Day” with “Lovers’ Day,” but it still seems to be the same holiday over here. The supermarket chains sprouted some pink and purple balloon stands overnight. One shopping center had some type of raffle for couples. And of course, the florist shops were flooded with customers looking for that perfect rose or perfect dozen roses, depending on the size of your wallet. I opted for the beautiful yet affordable chrysanthemums.
Yes, I did actually purchase two bouquets of flowers on Happy Lovers’ Day. No I haven’t attempted any interracial dating over here or intra-racial dating for that matter. But one of my friends suggested I surprise my two friends with a bunch of flowers on this conspicuously romantic day. I thought the idea was great, and hence my purchase of flowers at the nearby florist’s shop. When I got there, most people seemed to be individually picking out their roses. The chrysanthemums weren’t in high demand, and for about 100 RMB, a bouquet of 25 flowers each was mine.
With it being Valentine’s Day and all, I thought it mandatory to dress for the occasion. So I found my brown pinstripe suit, blue-green long-sleeve shirt and black leather shoes and wore them probably for the first and last time of the year. You can’t dress up too often, you know. As I walked along the road to my friend’s house for dinner, I held one bouquet with each arm and received some curious glances. Hopefully no one thought I was two-timing someone or maybe it was just an extravagant display of affection; then again it may simply have been curiosity and nothing more. Regardless I felt conspicuous with my colorful assortment of flowers.
When I arrived at the apartment, Maria opened the door to which I responded “Happy Valentine’s Day” and presented the flowers. Lisa, who came to see the commotion, received the second bouquet. I think they were in a state of shock, which then merged into more of a delighted surprise. First I had remembered that today was Valentine’s Day. Second I had considered buying flowers and then given them to both of them. Third I was wearing a suit and dapper black shoes. I probably should have been more shocked than they at this inconceivable set of circumstances, but I was pleased by their reaction more than anything.
Later we ate a hearty meal of chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed salad, and cinnamon applesauce. Someday I’ll muster the courage to make applesauce on my own. We then sat down to play the classic Settlers of Catan – a German boardgame that’s all about building roads and villages until you win the game. I played poorly, and Lisa clinched the game with an upset over Maria’s monopoly of the 4s. For some odd reason, the statistically improbably 4 was rolled more often than 6 or 8. Such is the roll of the dice and the luck of the game. Since I wasn’t on a 4, I seemed to miss the luck altogether.
After the game was over and we headed back home, I couldn’t deny that Happy Lovers’ Day became an enjoyable day for a guy with no lover. Yes flowers and chocolates are predominantly cliches on a day like this, but if the cliche works, why not give it a try? I don’t know if the Chinese celebrate with their loved one another day of the year, but it seems like this day has international popularity. So for all those couples out here, a very Happy Valentine’s Day, and for all those wanting to be couples, there’s always next year, and for those without any couple prospects, come to China where the fishing pool of prospects becomes a sea of possibilities.