I woke up Thursday morning with a heart on my eyeball.  Apparently, I’m that much in love.


Manfriend gave me a hot pink Snuggie for Valentine’s Day.  This is not a joke.

“But know this,” I said, carrying the hot pink box, which he’d wrapped in a hot pink gift bag with hot pink tissue paper.  “When someday I’m wearing it, and you find yourself thinking, ‘Good goo, Sarah does not look attractive right now,’ you need to remember—you bought this for me.”

Fortunately, Manfriend laughed.  “I’ll think of you the way men sometimes think of their pregnant wives,” Manfriend said.  “’She might not look great, but she’s attractive to me because I did this to her.’”

Manfriend gave me the Snuggie because I hate being cold, it turns out.  This is a new phenomenon.  I don’t remember in years past making decisions not to do things because they would be cold.  Now, it is an almost daily occurrence.  For instance, sometimes I do not go into my bedroom.  Too cold.

Manfriend also wanted to buy me an electric blanket, about which I had once been wistful.  But apparently, the two-week snowpocalypse had depleted northern Virginia’s supply of electric blankets.

Also, snow boots.  That’s how I ended up buying overpriced hiking boots (but waterproof! and ankle high!) from REI at 6 pm on Saturday night, an hour after Manfriend was supposed to pick me up for the beginning of our Valentine’s Day celebration.  Don’t worry—he was late too.  See electric blanket notes above.

And I was totally glad for my waterproof! ankle high! hiking boots when Manfriend and I finally (9:17 pm) hit our Valentine’s Day destination—the Iwo Jima memorial.  A picturesque location, totally on the top of a hill and, at present, 100% covered in snow.  Which the National Park Service had made no effort to clear away.  Also, there was no meaningful light.

As Manfriend led the way through the snow in the dark over the rise, I followed thinking, “He knows I hate to be cold.  He knows I hate to be cold.”  I tried not to fall.  I fell once.  Caught myself with one hand in one cotton glove.  “Ouch,” I said, louder than I needed to.

Manfriend reached a feline-shaped statue and threw his stuff on the back of the cat.  Then he spread a tarp and then a blanket on the snow.  “We’re going to eat here!” he said.  I looked at the distant lights of the Washington Memorial and the Capitol.  The wind made my eyes sting, and I turned away.  I put a sweatshirt on over my wool coat.

We sat with our backs against the cat statue.  We ate salads we’d gotten take-out from a fancy local restaurant.  I put on a second pair of gloves.  By the time we made hot chocolate with water Manfriend had boiled at home, it was only warmish chocolate, and the powder stayed filmy and chunky.  We stirred our mugs with butter knives.  I licked my butter knife clean.

Manfriend and I sat there in the cold, under the blankets he’d brought, over the blankets he’d brought, lit only by the glow of Manfriend’s laptop screen.  He’d compiled a playlist, which I noticed he’d titled “Valentine’s Day.”  I cradled my Snuggie box in my arms and leaned my head on Manfriend’s shoulder.  He leaned his head on mine.

“It’s sort of the theme for the evening,” he said.  “I wanted to make you warm.  I know you hate to be cold.”

* * * * *

I’ve been trying to figure out what Valentine’s Day means for couples like Manfriend and me who aren’t married and who have decided to save for marriage the vast majority of physical intimacies.  What is romance but a warm prelude to fluttering curtains cue the music?  What is Valentine’s Day but romance?  Is it about telling each other why we love each other?  Sounds fun, though (a) frankly, we do that pretty much every day, and (b) it does feel a little narcissistic.  I LOVE US.

Is it about gift giving?  Like both Christmas and birthdays?  Boo.

Is it about chocolate?


I don’t have a true answer yet.  But as I went to sleep Saturday night, I remember thinking that I had trusted Manfriend to lead the evening.  An evening only for me, just for me, for no one else but me.  And he had done it.

He had invited me to trust him to love me.  I had trusted him, and he’d loved me.  Romance = trust validated.

* * * * *

Let’s not pretend I didn’t write this post about Valentine’s Day just so I could put up a picture of my eye with a naturally occurring blood heart in it.